Season: mid-Winter / 'dry' season
Making plans is great, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans. I had a long, long list of gardening jobs to be done when the mid-semester break began a fortnight ago. I was sooo... looking forward to working my way through that list. Then some vile virus caught up with me. That meant I was down for the count for about a week and a half. All I could do was sit out on the verandah, coughing and spluttering, sneezing and wheezing, while watching the wildlife playing about all around me. Well that's what I did in between naps!
Now I won't complain too bitterly. There were some fabulous sights for me to enjoy while I was swaying on the rocking chair.
The Spangled Drongo.
The Forest Kingfisher.
The Yellow-Bellied Sunbird.
The Pacific Baza or Crested Hawk.
But as the last week of my holidays reached the halfway mark, my craving to be out doing some decent work in the garden took over completely and I decided I just had to do something on the list. So, gardening shears in hand, out I went determined to do battle with the tiered front garden bed.
One particular side of this tiered garden bed, the side that's tucked up next to the shadehouse garden, has what I call my tiered rock garden. This side was looking totally wild and woolly after our wet season. The Salvia madrensis need a short-back-and-sides and that Giant Sword Fern needed yanking.
With the Salvia and Giant Sword Fern tamed, a few of the other plants like that lovely variegated Ixora and the Turnera behind it, finally get to see some sunshine.
While I was out there working away on these side beds, I found something surprising. There was a Kalanchoe blossfeldiana that had somehow survived the the torrent of water that rushed through this part of the property during our wet season earlier in the year.
It was one of the little bits that I had broken off from the parent plant and just stuck in the soil hoping it would take. The parent gave up long ago, and many of the other little slips I shoved in the dirt had never even started, but this lone little thing had somehow taken. It had almost become squashed in the midst of my weeding and whacking frenzy, but luckily I spotted it in time. I have to give this survivor full credit for getting through or summer and autumn conditions, and then showing off its first blooms for our winter.
Then I moved onto the other section of tiers and I spotted this! It was just on a year ago now that my husband bought home a poor little piece of this Dietes that he'd noticed growing in the garden bed at his workplace. He'd thought I would probably love it and ripped out a piece. I prompty shoved it in a spot on the middle tier and forgot about it, not expecting it to do anything really as the poor thing had been yanked out without any care whatsoever. It had a tiny little straggley piece of root on it and that was all. I hadn't really noticed it in amongst the ferns that had taken over, and just like the Kalanchoe, I was not expecting it to survive the river of water that swept over the tiers for weeks and weeks. But ... there it was!
But that was not the end of the surprises. I decided I'd better move the Bletilla striata from the top rock garden tier which is off to the right of the photo above. The poor Bletilla really clashed with the other plants around it, especially my orange Iris domestica. So it needed to be moved down to this middle tier where it was amongst friends like the lovely Angelonia, Scaevola and blue Salvia.
As I was preparing a little spot for the Bletilla, I noticed that a slip of Inky Fingers Coleus that had broken off the parent plant and had been shoved into the soil at the back of this tier, had also taken off and was looking very fine indeed.
By now I was eager to get some plants that had been languishing in pots in my shadehouse garden out into the soil and light of the tiered garden beds. I planted up my Toad Lily right next to the Bletilla.
My pink Justicia brandegeana was planted in the top rock garden tier, along with a little bit of bracken fern, a red Salvia and a little red Gerbera. Grow little babies, grow! These new plants down the front are surrounded by my Hemerocallis 'Wedding Band', that Iris domestica and an Iresine herbstii, which got a great trim and tidy up.
In the neighbouring top tier, a pink Brugmansia and Pentas were planted in front of the Aralia, the young Lagerstroemia indica and the Euphorbia pulcherrima. I came back later and planted some Salvia splendens in there as well.
I'm more and more pleased with how the two top tiers are looking these days. I can't wait for that patch of Hemerocallis to bloom in the spring.
I was on a roll now, and it was time to tackle the disaster that was the Shadehouse Garden.
The Alocasia macrorrhiza or Giant Elephant's Ear was living up to its name and was about ready to lift the shadecloth roof.
The Giant Sword Fern was in the midst of a take-over of the entire area. The poor Impatiens walleriana in the hanging baskets were swamped and bobbing up for air.
My Costus speciosus variegata or Variegated Crepe
Ginger was given a bigger pot to play around in ...
... as were my Calatheas, Alpinia vittata and Anthurium.
Eventually the wilderness was tamed.
Now I'm able to wander up and down without the need to take a hatchet with me to hack a pathway through the jungle. I can now return to work with a lighter heart knowing I've ticked off some of the most important items on that list!