The sun is setting on Spring here in the southern hemisphere and it's also setting on the 'dry' season in my north-eastern corner of Oz. It pretty much feels like Summer already. The mercury has climbed back over that 30 deg C mark, with daytime temperatures settled steadily around the 31 degrees C (87 F), which really feels more like 33 C (91 F). Relative humidity during the day doesn't fluctuate much from the 60% - 70% level, and our night-time temps. are now around 23 C (73 F).
We've started to see dark grey clouds once more and we've had a few light showers, but they've been quite brief, barely touch the ground.
It has been wonderful to see the courtyard splashed by raindrops ...
... and to occasionally see the flowers dripping with little raindrops as well. That heady intoxicating smell of rain after seven months of the 'dry' season, even for the briefest time, is just totally glorious!
Seeing all the Poincianas in bloom around the property is a clear indication Summer is just around the corner.
The native Sterculia quadrifida, or Peanut Tree, has leafed up again and is showing its bright red fruit. This tree is a real asset in the courtyard during our hot Summers, providing much needed shade for many of the potted plants out there.
As I lament the end of our Spring, I've being reflecting on the much-needed joy it has provided after what proved to be a trying beginning to the gardening year. The Hemerocallis, in the corner of the top tier in the tiered garden beds, have been putting on a great display.
Other joys to be found during the Spring were the gorgeous Asiatic and Oriental Lilies growing in pots out in my Shadehouse Garden. I bought the mixed packs of bulbs back in early Winter and these new Lilliums put on a great show all through October into early November ... which are our mid-Spring and late Spring months.
Unfortunately I can't identify the cultivars in this mixed pack of Asiatic Lilies bulbs. All I know is that the pack was labelled 'Matisse Collection'.
The pack of Oriental Lily bulbs were only labelled 'Oriental Lillium x speciosum', which is not much help either.
Of course, the shrubs in the front garden beds, which mostly escaped damage from Yasi, were just recently damaged by scaffolding plonked on top of them as repair work finally began on our wrecked verandah hood.
Thankfully, the scaffolding has now been removed and I've had a chance to get in and trim back all the broken branches. Just to be clear, that brown patch is the 'lawn' after our long, long dry season!
Anyway, returning to those poor shrubs, most seem to be okay and should recover well.
The Acalyphas should have no trouble coming back. I think they deserve the title "One of the toughest shrubs ever", especially here in the tropics.
On the other side, the two Hibiscus rosa-sinenses cultivars ... 'Snowflake' and 'Roseflake' will definitely recover well. The Russelia will just power on now and the Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose' has decided not to be beaten into submission and is throwing out its gorgeous bracts and tiny flowers on some really short, stunted stems and branches.
Down at the very front of this bed is my oldest red-flowering Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. It had once token pride of place in the front garden beds but, as you can see, is now looking rather ugly and stunted. It wasn't the cyclone, or the scaffolding that caused this damage. No, to top off everything else that has happened during this annus-horibilis for my garden, the wallabies decided for the first time ever that they should start munching on plants that they have never given a second glance before. This Hibiscus was one of them. The wallabies literally stripped the entire shrub of its leaves, and even went so far as pulling the huge tall branches down to their level, so they could munch away happily.
The Courtyard Garden has been quite lovely during our 'dry', which has now lasted for seven months. I've been enjoying all the colour provided by the potted plants out there, despite the slightly annoying need to stash a whole lot of those plants up on the wooden table to keep them out of hungry wallaby arms ... and mouths.
The lovely colour out there has provided the perfect antidote to all the brown elsewhere on the property and in the bushland around us. I've really loved all the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows ...
... as well as the more sedate pinks and purples.
I'm expecting most of these potted plants will make it through the coming Summer/Monsoon season as I seem to be getting a little better each year at working out just what these plants need to survive the conditions experienced from December to March.
Whilst the potted plants sitting out on the courtyard have looked great, the garden bed at the back of the courtyard is looking terrible. This is one spot where I have had to do some trimming back. This patch has suffered a bit during the dry season this year as unfortunately the irrigation system snaking throughout here has been down for the count since Cyclone Yasi hit back in February. I have put the sprinkler in there a couple of times over the months since then, but the shrubs need decent rain to look their best once more.
This past weekend we've been working on preparing the pergola area of the Courtyard Garden for the repair work that's about to commence. The pergola was damaged during Cyclone Yasi when most of the posts holding up the pergola roof suddenly took on a bit of a lean. The cyclonic winds actually blew the posts sideways, which didn't look all that great.
Here's the pergola area before the preparation commenced.
It was a lovely shady area with a little pond.
At the back of this raised garden, there were Palms ... a stand of Golden Cane, a Footstool Palm and a Bamboo Palm ... and lots of Giant Sword Fern.
Well here it is today after spending a day and a half removing most of the plants. This is what's left of all the Palms and Ferns. Of course, once the workmen start stomping about in there, there may not even be anything left at all.
It was truly heart-breaking to watch the Jasmine vine, the stunning Hibiscus schizopetalus that arched over one end of the pergola, and the Petrea volubilis that hung over the other end, all being chopped down.
Here's my darling other half, risking life and limb on top of the structure, whilst removing every last bit of the Jasmine. That was not an easy job! The entire pergola structure was rather shaky and wobbly!!!
In the middle of the photo above you can see what's left of the Jasmine vine. I'm hoping and praying that it will come back, so I'll be watching out with eagle eyes to see signs of life on that old vine.
I know I should look at this as the chance to start again ... a clean slate ... but, right now I'm back to feeling a little low as the seemingly never-ending saga of the Cyclone Yasi aftermath just goes on and on!
For now, and probably for a little while to come, I'll be missing this sight ... the sight that used to greet my eyes when I arrived home from work and started walking down to the house.
Let's hope this coming Summer and 'wet' season don't bring any more unwanted surprises for my garden. Please Mother Nature no horrendous cyclone this Summer. I'm well and truly over it!