Season: beginning of Autumn, wet season
Here we are at the beginning of March and the start of a Downunder Autumn once more. Hallelujah! It means that THE best gardening time of the year here in the northern tropics is not too far off now. There won't be any changing of colour in the trees, but there will be lots more work done out in the garden.
Summertime is horrid here, and is not at all conducive to most gardening tasks, aside from the absolutely necessary watering jobs. Summertime is 'downtime' for this gardener and her garden. We're barely on speaking terms for those three months of the year!!!!
Now whilst our horrid summertime may officially be over, the hot and balmy summery conditions will continue for a little while yet. As a result, I will be waiting just a little longer until the daytime temps drop and the humidity levels plummet, before I take up the tools, the potting mix and the mulch bucket once more.
March is also usually our worst time for cyclones, so there's still a chance of catastrophic cyclonic weather happening in the near future. We have escaped cyclone season unscathed so far, so fingers crossed we can get through this month without one single cyclone.
Our wet season, which can run from November through to April (late Spring through to early Autumn), has been a bit of a non-event as well.
November 2012 total: 7.8 mm or 0.3 of an inch ... less than one-sixth of the average
December 2012 total: 14.4 mm or 0.6 of an inch ... around one-tenth of the average
January 2013 total: 286 mm or 11.3 ins ... this was pretty average
February 2013 toatl: 81.6 mm or 3.2 ins ... just over one-quarter of the average.
We still have this month and next for the wet season to redeem itself, but the chances of that happening are looking fairly slim. Despite the poor totals, at least we've had rain and a break from our long dry season. The showers of rain have been gratefully received. Thankfully we haven't had to endure the extraordinary deluge that areas further south have suffered in the last month or so.
The surrounding bushland and the property itself looks nice and green after the measly amount of wet season rain we have received, and the 'lawn' (labelled so with tongue-in-cheek) out the front and side of the house really needs mowing. Unfortunately our ancient ride-on has decided to take a break and seems to be hell-bent on joining in the downtime as well. What a shame!
The occasional showers of rain that have been rolling in have not only helped change the landscape from brown to green, but have relieved me somewhat of the daily watering jobs in both the shadehouse and courtyard gardens. Both those spaces are in dire need of some loving care and attention, and are definitely not looking their best. I keep promising all the lovely plants in those garden spaces that my inactivity will soon be coming to an end, and I'll be out there primping and grooming them all with the utmost love and concern very, very soon.
Of course, most plants growing elsewhere have just gotten on with things. The Lagterstroemia speciosa that grows next to the fence line has been blooming away beautifully for ages now. It's a fantastic mid- to end-of-summer bloomer for me.
The display will last for several more weeks yet, but the best is over now.
There are still just a few blooms here and there on the Delonix regias on the property. They've been flowering all through the Summer.
The Citharexylum spinosum bloomed a little later this year, at the end of the Summer, and so is still covered in blooms,
which are attracting lots of insect life.
If you look closely enough, you can still see a few golden racemes hanging from the uppermost branches of my Cassia fistula.
The trusty Portulacas have been providing most of the colour out in the courtyard, and they seem to be attracting huge numbers of these little black beetles. So far I haven't noticed too much damage on the plants themselves, as the little beetles only seem to be interested in feasting on the nectar of the flowers.
There are more and more flowers appearing on my Jasminum and the perfume continues to float around the courtyard in the early morning and in the evening.
I see beautiful Water Lily blooms almost every day out in the pond.
There are Caladiums growing beautifully underneath the pergola,
and there are lots of flower spikes on the various Coleus plants around the courtyard.
The courtyard has been inundated with insect life of all kinds over the summer. There have been hordes of little green grasshoppers munching their way through some of their favourite plants, like the Aralias and the Coleus.
I've also spotted what I think is the larvae of the Common Crow Butterfly feasting on the leaves of a young Oleander shrub.
I've also been seeing quite a few of these fabulous Crickets, having a wonderful time gorging on the leaves of my Liliums.
One of the very few gardening jobs I managed to do a couple of weeks ago was the planting of several packets of seeds that had been sent to me by a fellow gardener who lives not too far away from me here in Queensland.
Thankfully I've had success with the germination of the various Zephyranthes or Rain Lilies,
and, joy-of-joys, the mixed packet of Adenium or Desert Rose seeds have produced quite a few little seedlings. I think these little seeds have really been enjoying the light sprinkling of rain that blows in every now and then.
That's the wrap-up since my last Garden Journal post over a fortnight ago, and it's a brief one as the downtime continues.
Lastly, I thought I'd just share a photo of this lovely aspect seen over the hills late on Saturday afternoon. It's always a wondrous sight and I never ever tire of seeing even one end of a rainbow.