Sunday, May 30, 2010

Taking A Wander Up The Hill Driveway.

The following are two videos showing what's growing on either side of our hill driveway  .... there's lots and lots of green!!!!  You'll get to see some of the trees and palms that are around this part of the property.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bauhinia variegata 'alba' or 'candida' - White Bauhinia

In the outdoor garden beds at my place there are no lovely perennials that show their terrific colours every year ... or masses of wonderful foliage plants that add form and texture to the planting.  No, there are, however, quite a few very drought and sun hardy shrubs or trees that grow in the poorest of soil on the rocky hillside that makes up my property.  The foliage on these plants doesn't change colour ... there are no Autumn colours here ... and, aside from the Durantas, most of these plants don't flower at all.

There is however a tree that breaks into bloom in late Autumn and adds at least one spot of fabulous colour to the usually green garden beds down the driveway ... my beautiful Bauhinia variegata!

It's a striking sub-tropical tree ... very hardy in my dry tropics region.  It will grow to around 8 metres, has a short trunk and spreading branches.  It has distinctive kidney-shaped leaves. 

It gets abundant large fragrant white flowers with lemon-green markings.  These beautiful orchid-like flowers appear in our late Autumn and will continue flowering all through Winter.

The flowers begin appearing when the tree is fully dressed in its large green leaves.  This is the Bauhina as it appears right now ...

 ... and the first blooms have started appearing.

As the flowering continues, the leaves start to drop off until the whole tree is flowering on almost completely leafless branches. 

Here's a view of this semi-deciduous tree when it has dropped most of its leaves in the Winter just before it breaks into full bloom  (photo taken last Winter). 

Now for some photos of the beautiful flowers:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sunrise in the Bush.

Here in my spot out in the bushland of north-eastern Oz, the weather has turned.  Autumn is nearly over and Winter is approaching.  The temperatures have dropped below 30 degrees C, the days are clear and sunny and the humidity is very low.

As we approach Winter, the sunrises have been spectacular this past week ... and I thought I would share some of the photos I've managed to take quite early in the morning.  That's nothing short of an amazing feat for me ... as I'm not a lover of really early mornings and you won't find me jumping up out of bed when it's still quite dark!

For other brilliant Skywatch Friday post, please make sure you visit Skywatch Friday - Skies From All Over The Planet

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Green, Green... Everywhere It's Green.

It has to be said that the predominant colour for most of the year in the majority of my garden is green – except for the grassed areas which are most definitely brown for months of the year as we do not use precious water to keep the grass green here ... so when the 'dry' hits, the grass dies off very quickly.  The foliage does not change as Autumn approaches and there is no blanket of white snow during our Winter.

Green, green… everywhere there’s green ... ( can you tell I'm a little sick of all the 
 green????)   Well ... I am, but there's really little choice in the large outdoor garden beds.

The Ferny Grove -
There are several large outdoor garden bed areas – including two very long driveway garden beds, the ferny grove, a large screening bed at the back of the courtyard and two beds at the front of the house – and these are filled with lots and lots of heat, sun, humidity and drought hardy plants which happen to be mostly green.  Plants such as ferns, philodendrons, shrubs and trees which do not flower, palms and my lovely cycads.  They are the ones that survive the often harsh conditions and seem to grow despite the poor condition of the soil and the rocky terrain.

The Driveway Garden Beds -

So now I'd like to showcase some of the great green garden plants that live here in my spot in the dry tropics region of north-eastern Oz:

Polyscias fruticosa -Ming Aralia:
Acalypha wilkesiana:

Top row:  Monstera deliciosa – Swiss Cheese Plant.
Bottom row:  Epipremnum aureum - Pothos.

Top row:  Alocasia macrorrhiza - Elephant's Ear
Bottom row:  Philodendron

Top row:  Schefflera arboricola - Dwarf variegated Umbrella Tree
Bottom row:  Pedilanthus tithymaloides 'variegata' - Slipper Plant
There are lots of ferns, particularly the Giant Sword Fern and lots of Philodendrons of all shapes and sizes (seen here in the Ferny Grove and under the pergola on the way down to the Courtyard Garden).

There's also lots of different types of Palms around the property.
\I think this might be a variety of Pandanus .... not sure though!

Now to finish ... here's a short video which I've appropriately named "Green, Green ... Everywhere Is Green."  (There is sound ... so if you wish to listen to the accompanying music, turn on your speakers!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Snapshots of mid-Autumn ... which is April ... in my garden.

Rather than create a long post at the end of each season ... as I did last year ... I've decided to keep a record of what's blooming in my garden from month to month.  I'm hoping it will help me get a much clearer picture of just what is going on ... length of flowering, weather conditions, the plants that keep on keeping on, pests encountered, and lessons learned.  I will be omitting lots of my foliage plants and plants such as palms, crotons, acalyphas and ferns ... as the focus will be on the bloomers.

Conditions during April?

The Mid-Autumn month of April this year was particularly difficult because of the almost daily showers of rain we received and the number of overcast days we experienced.  Even though the amount of rainfall wasn't heavy, the constant showers after the torrential downpours of late summer certainly had an ill effect on many plants.  Usually we have clear days, so the lack of sunshine was another important factor that had an effect on so many plants this year.  Temps stayed around 29 to 30 degrees C, which is normal for this time of year.

Starting with the trees on our property ... what was flowering?
The enormous Fiddlewood tree - Citharexylum spinosum - burst into bloom in mid-April.  I just love the
creamy white sprays of perfumed flowers that appear at the branch tips.

The Queen's Crepe Myrtle or Giant Crepe Myrtle - Lagerstroemia speciosa - had been in bloom since mid-summer and was now showing it's last beautiful flowers and the occasional fruit.

Tabebuia heterophylla - the Pink Tabebuia - continues to produce flowers on and off. 

The Acacias in and around our property were also in bloom.

Next ... out in the Courtyard Garden, what was flowering?
Usually I have lots of potted annuals showing their first blooms by mid-Autumn, but that was not the case this year.  As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the conditions were not ideal at all for planting up annual seedlings.  Still there were lots of plants in bloom.

Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow', Dalechampia Aristolochiaefolia (Silk Crepe Flower), Pentas lanceolata, New Guinea Impatiens and Poet's Jasmine.

Vanilla marigold, Zinnias, Bracteantha bracteata or Helichrysum bracteatum and Argyranthemum frutescens (Marguerite Daisy).   

Salvias splendens, Salvia guaranitica, Coleus and Crossandra.

More Salvia splendens, Gomphrena globosa, New Guinea Impatiens and Pelargonium.

Now ... which shrubs around the property were flowering?

Calliandra surinamensis, Ardisia Elliptica with its berries, and at the bottom ... the blooms and berries of Duranta repens.

Mussaenda phillipica 'Aurora' and 'Bangkok Rose', Ixora 'Raywards Pink' and Azalea indica

Glaphimia glauca, Plumeria obtusa, Combretum constrictum, Dianthera nodosa and Allamanda cathartica.

Last of all ... what was blooming out in the greenhouse/shadehouse garden?

Curcuma, Neomarica longifolia, Bromeliad, Impatiens, Tricyrtis x Empress and Begonia 'Dragon Wings'.

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