Season: beginning of Autumn, and wet season
Not a lot has changed since my last Garden Journal entry posted last week. The wet season continues to be remarkably dry, as predicted by the experts last year. We've had day after day after day of bright blue skies and glorious fierce sunshine, but very few days of overcast grey leaden skies.
The only rain we've seen over the last few months has arrived courtesy of a few thunderstorms and a weak monsoonal low. We haven't had the usual day or two of between 90-150mm of rain (approx 3.5 ins to 6 ins), or the days and days of between 50-70mm (approx 2 ins to 3 ins). These are typical events for a typical wet season. Nothing like it has happened this year.
The garden continues to be fairly parched and the hand-watering of the potted plants continues. I've already lost a few of the potted plants out in the courtyard and the shadehouse, as the heat and humidity has taken its toll. As the end of our wet season is now just around the corner, the outlook for the established plants in the garden beds is not going to be a good one during the coming long dry season. They will really struggle through the next nine months or so given that the topsoil and the sub-soil are so bone dry already.
We have had a slight break in the usual horrid summertime conditions though. Whilst the daytime temps remain up around the 30-32 deg C mark, the humidity levels have dropped dramatically in the last week or so, which means I've finally be able to get out and do a few gardening jobs at long last.
I've been busy this weekend out in the shadehouse clearing out the overgrown jungle.
I started at one end at about 9.30am pulling out clumps of the Giant Sword Fern, and so many little plantlets of the Neomarica longifolia or Yellow Walking Iris. They are the two plants that tend to take over the shadehouse during the summer.
I got to the middle section at around 11.00 am, and the pile of debris was pretty high. I was now trimming back the potted Gingers and Cordylines as well.
I think I finished at around 2.00 pm, and it was time for a rest! I have to say that I felt so very good after a decent day's work outdoors in the garden after such a long break over the summertime. I slept like a baby last night! But then I woke to the huge debris pile this morning. It was still there, as I just ran out of puff yesterday afternoon.
Still it was fantastic to see some of the foliage plants on display once again, with so much of the fern and Iris removed.
I'm planning on removing the debris pile this afternoon, but this morning I've been spending this beautiful Sunday morning taking cuttings and potting up little seedlings.
Last weekend, my darling hubby and I headed up to Mission Beach ... our favourite spot for a break ... to celebrate my darling's birthday. Whilst there, I spotted a fantastic looking Ginger growing in the garden beds of the little place we were staying at, and made plans to grab a piece before we left. I think it's Alpinia purpurata or Red Ginger Lily.
My hubby quietly mentioned to the manager how much I loved the Ginger and asked if it would be alright for me to take a piece. She decided on another course. She arranged for her lovely husband to bring in a flowerhead from their own garden which had loads of small plantlets ready to be potted up. Can you see all the little babies in the photo above? I was so touched by this kind gesture, and I'm really looking forward to see these little ones mature.
Anyway, the babies are potted up now and ready for some nurturing.
I've also taken some cuttings from my one of my own favourite Gingers that's growing in the shadehouse. It's the Costus speciosus variegata or Variegated Crepe Ginger / Spiral Ginger. I've been wanting to do this job for quite some time now, and I'm so happy I've finally gotten around to doing it.
Here's the parent out in the shadehouse. Those variegated leaves have the most amazing texture. They feel like soft velvet, and the flower of this plant is a beautiful white bloom resembling crepe paper.
While I was busy potting up this morning the background noise was the fabulous song of the Helmeted Friar Bird. They are not the most attractive birds in the bird kingdom, as can be seen from the photo above. They have rather large ugly heads and dull colouring, but their song is simply fantastic!
I just had to include a little video clip / soundtrack I recorded this morning. I'm afraid the clip doesn't include much vision of the birds as they were so high up among the branches of the Cadaghi Gums, but I know you'll enjoy the song immensely in spite of that.
After taking a break to video the birds, I took a little walk around the place just to see what I could see!
I found that some of my potted Bromeliads have little pups at last. I'm afraid I'm not very good when it comes to knowing the scientific names for the Broms I have.
I also noticed one of the pups that I'd carelessly popped into one of the old stumpy leftover fronds of the Elaeis guineensis or African Oil Plam near the hill driveway, is now flowering. I think this Brom is a Vriesea.
Both the Turneras are doing really well in the driveway garden beds. I think I need a couple more!
My oldest hardiest double Gerbera plant just keeps on going despite the fact that I give it no care and attention at all. It's a lovely little addition to the dry driveway garden beds.
There are little Cosmos plants popping up down the driveway again. This patch is further down than the last patch that sprang up, so it looks like they're spreading their beauty around.
The fragrance of the Jasminum officinale is filling the courtyard space and it's one of the delights of that garden space. At the moment the courtyard garden is looking terribly drab and dull. I'll be starting to add pots of annuals in the coming weeks to liven things up a bit, and next weekend I'm planning on moving the established potted plants around quite a bit just to freshen up the look somewhat.
The Caladiums continue to add splashes of colour in the shadier parts of the garden.
It seems that the creeping plant that has been growing on the rock wall outside the kitchen, has now started a quest for world domination. It's spreading to the strangest of places. Here it is creeping all the way up the trunk of the Pritchardia pacifica or Fiji Palm. I'll have to keep an eye on it, I think!
Well that's the round-up for this week. At the moment all our eyes are on the tropical cyclone that's hovering off our coastline at the moment. Now usually we're not all that keen on cyclones approaching, but this one is only rated as category 1, and it brings with it the promise of some rain.
At the moment Tropical Cyclone Tim is around 800 kms off the coast, and moving very slowly at about 10 kn an hour. The predictions are that it will weaken below tropical cyclone strength by the time it reaches the coast and should bring about an increase in showers and rain around us. Fingers crossed everyone! Let's hope that T.C. Tim is a real gentleman and behaves well!!!
It's always great to have a rewarding work day in the garden. The shadehouse looks great after all the trimming and debushing.ReplyDelete
As one gardener to another, I understand "running out of puff". We start on a garden chore, and we always feel we can get it all done (in our minds)in the time we have allotted, but....you know how it goes...we run out of puff...until another time...smile.
Loved the bird song.
I hope T.C. Tim is a real gentleman, and bring you only enough rain.
Gardeners are kind folks, so enjoy your red ginger baby plants. Here we plant the entire flowerhead with the babies, and then divide them when they get a little bigger.
I've had such fun getting back into gardening jobs this weekend, Virginia. I really miss it when the summertime interrupts my efforts. I'm waiting until the cool of this afternoon to move that huge pile of rubbish from the shadehouse. Today is not quite as comfortable as yesterday. The lady who gave me the flowerhead did say she planted them straight in the ground too, but I'm short of space when it comes to planting anything in the ground. So I have to pot up the babies.Delete
I definitely feel for you losing those pots due to the hot weather. I know down South here I have lost quite a few due to the dry weather we've just had. It seems when its really hot and dry you have to water pots atleast twice a day or you get a casualty or two. Anyway hang in there and I hope you get some rain soon.ReplyDelete
It's a little disheartening isn't it, when you lose plants that you've cared for and enjoyed!! We're hoping that rain will arrive at the end of the coming week, as that cyclone deteriorates and hits the coast.Delete
What a great post! I always enjoy visiting you to see all that's growing and critters that visit your lovely gardens. I really love you shade house. I wouldn't mind making the front patio that is outside my window into a shade house. We'll see, since I'll have to figure out how to do this myself.ReplyDelete
Have a great week ~ FlowerLady
It's always lovely to greet you when you visit, Lorraine. The shadehouse is looking so much better now. I strolled through there this evening after the sun had started going down, and it was so cool and refreshing.Delete
Our shadehouse just has shade cloth nailed to the beams across the top. It's a simple arrangement, but works perfectly.
Here's to Tim and much needed rain and coller temps in your garden...I will take some of that heat from you right about now...just some mind you!ReplyDelete
You're most welcome to the heat, Donna. Take what you need! As for Tim, we've now named him Tiny Tim. He's not going to amount to much at all!!!Delete
You have been busy! What a kind lady and a thoughtful husband you have. Good luck with your babies fingers crossed they all take well. I hope you get some much needed rain soon and T.C Tim is a good boy!ReplyDelete
Yes the resort manageress was so lovely to go out of her way for me, and of course my husband was just as lovely for asking on my behalf. As I just mentioned in my reply to Donna above, the cyclone has been re-named Tiny Tim. It's deteriorated into a low and there's only slight chances of some showers for us after all that!!!Delete
Your garden still looks very lush despite the lack of rain. You have photographed lots of my favourites this month. I love the mosaic of foliage plants,the alpinia, the variegated costus (mine seems to be reverting to all green) and the caladiums. I am a recent convert to caladiums and have managed to collect about a dozen since the beginning of December. I can't wait till they are all grown up like yours.ReplyDelete
The foliage plants really do add that extra dimension to garden spaces, don't they? I'm really starting to fall in love with the Gingers. I love Caladiums too, but just find them hard to get. Your collection of a dozen beats mine hands down. I'm still on the lookout for more all the time.Delete
I love your shade house, Bernie. The mosaic of the foliage plants is truly stunning!ReplyDelete
Thank you Jayne, the shadehouse is right up close to my house so I can just step out into it from my music room. It's simply fantastic!Delete
Hi Bernie. Looks like you had a good rip thru the shade house garden! I just love variegated plants and caladiums! They wont live here thru the winter and at my house must be kept potted because of the vole population. The little bird might be ugly but he is a beautiful singer! I guess his mama loves him anyway!ReplyDelete
That's an apt description of what I did, Jean. I certainly did rip thru the jungle out there. I'm pretty merciless when it comes to cleaning up out there. Lol, I think that's a face that only a mother could love, Jean. They really are remarkably ugly looking birds, but as you say their song is simply beautiful.Delete
Your foliage plants really do make a good show, if you have any spare heat we will welcome it here in the UK. Just wondering if the candles were to add a bit of a romantic ambience for your seedlings to encourage them to grow !!
Lol, Bramble, a bit of mood lighting just to make sure they get in the mood for growing!!!Delete
If only I could share some of this heat! You'd amongst the first to get some.
A lovely series of photos.ReplyDelete
Lovely double Gerbera flowers! They are pretty and elegant in their own right. A faster and easier method of propagating Gerbera is via division of the crown. The Gerbera will produce numerous suckers, which can be split into many individual plants.ReplyDelete
Bernie, your autumn is clean up time in the garden after the summer heat; the same here, very busy as we had so much rain and lets not only the gardenplants but also the weeds thrive! Yes, I know all about the big heaps of debris the next day.. beautiful gingers, finally I have some growing. My daughter is a ginger collector and she gave me some of hers. Like your lovely, clean place for propagation. Glad you got the red ginger you admired. The friar birds orchestra is wonderful. Hope you get some rain, or did you? Happy gardening.ReplyDelete