June is our early winter month, and it seems that our dry season has now begun. We've had lots of big blue-sky days of late. The rainfall total so far this month has amounted to almost nothing, and this is likely to continue now until at least early or mid-December.
So far this month we've only had 1.4mm (that's 0.1 of an inch).
Last year from the beginning to mid-June 2012, we had received 4.4 mm (0.6 of an inch).
Back in mid-June 2011, we had received 15.4 mm (0.5 of an inch) over the month.
By mid-June 2010, 21.8 mm (0.8 of an inch)
By mid-June 2009, 0.4 mm (which is way less than even 0.1 of an inch).
So it seems there's been a return to the very dry June conditions of four years ago, which is pretty much when I first became more interested and dedicated to gardening on this property.
Our total rainfall so far this year is 553.4 (21.8 ins) over 50 days.
Total to end of June 2012 was 1185.2 mm (46.7 ins) over 65 days.
Total to the end of June 2011 was 1336.0 mm (52.6 ins) over 76 days.
Total to the end of June 2010 was 1221.4 mm (48.1 ins) over 77 days.
To the end of June 2009, 1691.6 mm (66.6 ins) over 76 days.
On the whole, this year has been one of the driest so far, and our dry season has only just begun!!! The poor wallabies are now reduced to digging deep to find grass roots because of the lack of green grass atop the ground.
Not only are the large 'grassed' areas looking decidedly brown and unappetising, my garden plants have responded to the drier conditions by not flourishing quite as much as previous years, and not producing as many blooms by this time of the year.
Compared to previous years, there are quite a few absences from the Bloom Day list. In a region that's characterized by only two seasons really, the wet and the dry, we do get used to the slight changes in the length and intensity of these seasons though.
Right now, there are no trees showing any blooms whatsoever,
apart from the one lonely flower spray on one of the deciduous Plumerias.
There are however some buds appearing on the two tall Corymbia torellianas or Cadaghi Gums that grow beside the concrete hill driveway. Last year they were already covered in flowers by this time.
There are flowers on some of the shrubs however, and whilst there aren't as many as last year, they are blooming at the same time.
The Calliandra haematocephalas both have a few flowers here and there.
One of the Duranta repens shrubs down the front driveway has had a long flowering cycle and still has lots of flower sprays on show. The other Durantas, which were decimated by Cyclone Yasi a couple of years ago, are still only about one-third of their previous size and have very short flowering cycles at the moment.
The Euphorbia leucocephala or Snowflake Bush always blooms at this time of year, but again compared to this time last year, there are only a few of the white bracts and little white flowers to be seen so far this year.
The Euphorbia pulcherrimas or Poinsettias growing in the tiered garden beds are usually starting to show the first coloured bracts by this time, but they're a no-show at the moment. The lovely Justicia brandegeana which also grows in the top tier of the tiered garden beds is usually always blooming, but the Agile Wallabies have been feasting on it and the poor thing looks like a much skinnier and uglier version of itself, with almost no leaves and absolutely no flowers.
There are always blooms on the year-round bloomers, the Hibiscus. This is my favourite, Hibiscus schizopetalus or Japanese Lantern.
The only blooms to be found in the front tiered garden beds are the stark white flowers on the Pentas, the last remaining flower spikes on the Salvia madrensis, a bloom or two on the invasive weed Clitoria ternata which is scrambling through the Russelia, and a few of the unusual flowers on the Dianthera nodosa.
There are quite a few flower sprays on some of the Dracaenas and Cordylines, which are found in the tiered garden beds as well as out in the courtyard garden.
The courtyard garden usually has the most colourful blooms at this time of year, but I've been rather neglectful of the container plants out there this year and haven't spent as much time potting up lots of annuals or perennials for the winter-spring display. I'm really missing all the usual colour.
At least there are some flowers ...
... like the gorgeous faces of the Violas and the striking flowerheads of the Celosia argentea and Celosia cristata.
In pots out in the courtyard there's also the brilliant Angelonia angustifolias, which bloom forever, as does the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender, the Salvia splendens 'Vistas Mix' and Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita'. There are also flowers on the Ixora 'Twilight Glow', Turnera subulata, the double white Impatiens walleriana and the Schlumbergera or Zygocactus.
Thank goodness for the cheery Marigolds too.
Elsewhere around the property, if you look carefully, you might also spot other blooms on the ...
Bougainvillea, Russelia (where the Yellow Honeyeater has been feasting lately), Galphimia glauca and Vriesea Bromeliad.
I'm joining Carol for her fantastic garden blog meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day