Saturday, December 12, 2009

Delonix regia - the Poinciana Tree

One of the most spectacular flowering trees seen in the tropics.   It requires full sun and lots of space for its wide spreading branches.  You know summer is here when the first fiery red-orange flowers begin to appear.

This large tree naturally assumes a spreading umbrella shape - sometimes it's branches can reach the ground.  It can grow as tall as 60 feet / 18 metres and has smooth greyish-coloured bark and attractive feathery, fern-like leaves, which drop annually during our dry season ( March to September).

At the same time as the new leaves appear towards the end of spring ( November), the tree is covered with masses of five-petalled bright red-orange flowers.
Blooming is followed by long, flattened, leathery dark brown or black seed pods.
It flowers best in areas that have two distinct seasons - a 'wet' and a 'dry'.   Here's a close up of the beautiful poinciana flower - it has a distinctive white petal amongst the orange-red ones.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's bathtime baby! An Agile Wallaby mother and her joey.

Did you know that all Mums have trouble at bathtime? Yes even this Agile one! (Agile Wallaby, that is!)


MUM: OK we’ve finished our dinner, it’s time for your bath!
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MUM: First we do behind the ears!
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JOEY: Oh get off Mum! It’s clean I tell ya!
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MUM: I don’t think so, let me see.
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MUM: STAY STILL and let me do this!
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MUM: Now what about your neck?
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JOEY: What about yours?
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MUM: OOh! You little devil, get back here!
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MUM: Fine! Fine! You do it yourself and I’ll look after myself!
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JOEY: OK then!
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JOEY: Don’t know what she’s goin’ on about!!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Barleria Obtusa - hybrids

I have two Barleria and they are fabulous drought tolerant plants that flower all through the year.  I grow Barleria 'Purple Dazzler' in hanging baskets and in the ground.  It will only reach around half a metre and grows well in both sun or part shade.


















I also grow Barleria 'Purple Gem' - a shrub which will reach around one metre and has beautiful green, white and purple leaves.  It bears the same lovely mauve flowers and is ideal for either a sunny or part shaded position.  My 'Purple Gem' is in the ground and is a very colourful addition to the garden bed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Garden in flower - Winter 2009

Winter here in my part of northern Oz is the middle of the ‘dry’ season and most of the large flowering plants like the snowflake/roseflake hibiscus, the ixoras, the mussaendas, the plumeria, the poincianas and the jasmine are not in flower.

Finding a flowering plant at this time of year – during winter – out in the large garden bed areas of my property is difficult apart from:
Ardisia Elliptica – not flowering but showing its berries
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Bauhinia Variegata
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Calliandra haematocaphala
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Calliandra surinamensis
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Hibiscus – my oldest hibiscus flowers continuously
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Russelia juncea
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Scaevola
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Spathodea Campanulata – African Tulip Tree
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Tabebuia Impetiginosa – Pink Trumpet Tree
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and there’s some hint of what might be called ‘autumn’ colours (even though these colours appear in winter) on the Lagerstroemeria speciosa
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The driveway garden beds showing the bauhinia and tabebuia in flower.
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Most of the flowering plants at this time of year are in my courtyard garden, the greenhouse garden and the downstairs garden beds.
Azalea
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Begonias
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Brachyscome
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Euphorbia Leucocephala – Snowflake Bush
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Euphorbia Pulcherrima – Pink Poinsettia
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Euphorbia Pulcherrima – Red Poinsettia
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Impatiens
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Pelargonium
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Pentas
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Spathiphyllum – Peace Lily or Madonna Lily
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Streptocarpus
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There’s lots of annuals and perennials that flower in pots out in the courtyard or in the greenhouse (and, of course, some will continue flowering on into spring and early summer):
Alyssum
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Antirrhinum
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Celosia
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Cockscomb
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Hyacinths
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Nasturtiums
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Salvias and Pelargoniums
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Torenias
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Verbena
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Violas
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The courtyard garden – really filling out with colour now.
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And now there’s some colour in the new garden beds outside the greenhouse:
Bacopa
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Bracteantha bracteata
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Calibrachoa var. sunbelore
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Gazania
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Gomphrena leontopodioides
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Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana
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Pelargonium Peltatum ‘Lulu’
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Scaevola
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All around the property the gums have finished their shedding and are showing off their new bark – this provides beautiful whites with hints of pink.
Eucalyptus
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The acacias are now full of seed pods,
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so is the Cassia Fistula -
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and the Poincianas:
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South-East Trade winds dominate the winter months here and the weather is fine. During winter it’s clear blue skies, warm days and cool nights. July is the coolest month averaging a maximum of 24.0 degrees C and a daily minimum temperature averaging 13.5 degrees C.
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