Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mid-Spring Snapshots ... October 2012

Continuing with my Snapshots series for this mid-Spring month of October.

Conditions during October?

October is our mid-Spring month here and, as usual, the summery conditions have begun.  Spring here in the north-east really feels like the beginning of our long, long Summer. There are only slight differences between the two.  Right now the mercury is hitting highs of 30 deg C and slightly above during the day, although the nights are still a little cooler, hovering around 20 deg C.

The days have been bright and sunny, with lots of blue skies and breezes.  The last teeny weeny little bit of Springtime rainfall we had was back in mid-August, but we only received 1.4 mm (less than 1 inch).

Spring here is always light on rain, as the Spring months occur during the latter part of our long dry season.  This is the time of year when the yard looks decidedly brown, dry and parched.  We don't spend a fortune in excess water fees trying to keep the place green and lush.  We'd need to win the Lotto for that!!!

This time of year is also usually our bushfire season, and while there have been a few fires raging in the ranges over the last month, thankfully they haven't been burning too close to our suburb. 

Now onto what's been blooming so far during this mid-Spring month of October.

Starting with the trees on the property ...  what has been blooming?

The Plumeria rubras starting sprouting new growth back in September, after dropping all their foliage for the Winter.  New leaves and flower stems kept on appearing at the beginning of this month, and there are now quite a few sprays of flowers opening up almost every week.  These trees seem to run to the same schedule every year.

There were still a few blooms on my Bauhinia variegata, which suffered so dreadfully early last year.  It's only grown slightly taller than this time last year, but at least I got to enjoy more of its beautiful stark white flowers.

The lovely Lagerstroemia speciosa or Queen's Myrtle, which were covered in russet-toned leaves early last month, slowly dropped their leaves and the branches are now covered in tiny new leaf growth.

The Eucalyptus platyphylla trees, out in the bushland and on our property, were still dripping with fluffy creamy-white blossoms.  These beautiful flowers attracted large groups of Rainbow Lorikeets and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets for a feeding frenzy.

The evidence of their feasting was littered all along our driveway.

The pair of Corymbia torellianas or Cadaghi Gums showed the last of their blooms this month as well.  Now, there are only a few flower sprays left right at the top of one of the trees.

The amazing blooms of our native Planchonia careya or Cocky Apple have been on show throughout the bushland and on the few trees we have growing on our property as well.  These stunning flowers appear late in the afternoon, around dusk, and will fall off the tree by the next morning.

I find many of the blooms laying on the ground as I head up to the car shed to go off to work.

The Tabebuia heterophylla started another of its' flowering cycles for the year ...

... and the first of the Delonix regia or Poinciana blooms have appeared on the trees growing at the front gates.

Now, onto the shrubs  ....  what's been blooming?

Finally, there have been a few blooms appearing on both the Hibiscus schizopetalus shrubs, at either end of the pergola, that were cut back so severely last year.  It's always a treat to watch the flower bud open and the petals start unfurling and curling upwards.

Out in the Shadehouse Garden ... what's been blooming?

The predominant blooms out in the Shadehouse Garden have most definitely been the Impatiens walleriana,

and the Neomarica longifolia or Yellow Walking Iris.

There were still some blooms on the Begonia 'Tiger Paws'.  The Streptocarpus caluescens or Nodding Violet is covered in its purple flowers.  The double pink Impatiens walleriana had just a couple of flowers.  The Peace Lily has begun another blooming cycle.  The purple Anthurium is an all-year-round bloomer, and the first bloom on the pots of Asiatic Lilies have opened.

Now, out in the Courtyard Garden ... what's been flowering?

There has been lots of terrific colour out in the courtyard over this past month.

Pelargonium peltatum


Antirrhinum, Pansies, Violas, Zinnias, Osteospermum

Cycas revoluta male flower cone

Torenia 'Violet Magic', Crossandra infundibuliformis, Angelonia angustifolia, Pelaroniums


Asiatic Matisse Liliums

More Asiatic Matisse Liliums

Oriental Liliums

Asiatic Matisse Lilium 'Kentucky'

L.A. Hybrid Lilium 'Eyeliner'

Olde World Liliums ... a cross between Orientals and a Christmas Lily.  These Lilies have enormous, beautifully perfumed flowers.

The courtyard always seems to look its best at this time of the year.

Under the pergola ... what's been flowering?

There have been blooms on the Ipomea batatas, the hot pink Salvia and the Spathoglottis plicata or Ground Orchid.  My pass-along Water Lily has been blooming.  The climber Petrea volubilis or Sandpaper Vine threw out quite a few flower sprays, and one of the potted Neoregelias showed off its wonderful little flowers.

In the tiered garden beds ... what's blooming?

There are blooms on the pink Justicia carnea, the Duranta, the Dietes bicolor, the Justicia brandegeena, the Callistemon 'Pink Champagne', the Salvia 'Velour White', and the last bracts and tiny yellow flowers on the Euphorbia pulcherrima are showing.

The first of the Hemerocallis blooms have started appearing as well.

It's been quite an enjoyable month out in the garden.  In about another month though, it will be almost impossible to get outside during most of the day, so I'm really taking advantage of every possible moment I can to get out and about to enjoy the blooms.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Working Towards A 'Healthy Habitat' ... Chapter 2 ... Identification

So the report came back.  The NQ Dry Tropics Field Officer, who visited our property back on the 3rd of August, has identified a list of plants that need to be controlled.

The list included a total of 35 pest plant species!!!  Now while it is a rather long list, there were only 4 'declared' pest plants found on our property, and one found just on the fence line on the neighbour's side.  The remainder of the plant list includes plants that are considered 'environmental weeds', but are not on the 'declared pest plant' roll call.

3 of the 'declared pests' have been marked Level 1 and 2 declared plants, and highlighted as a very high priority for removal, including ...

... the Thunbergia which was found on the neighbour's side of our fence line

... the Sporobolus jacquemontii or American Rat's Tail Grass found near the car shed and our old chook shed

... and Ziziphus mauritiana or Chinee Apple, which is found all through the bush paddock.


Another 2 'declared pests' were marked as a high priority for control, including ...

... Cryptostegia grandiflora or Rubber Vine,

and Lantana camara.

All of these plants will become the focus of our Action Plan and we will be working hard at eradicating them from our property over the next six months or so.

There were another 4 plants identified as 'environmental weeds' and marked as high priority for control.  These included ...

Azadirachta indica or Neem,

Bidens pilosa or Cobbler's Pegs,

Sansevieria trifasciata or Mother In Law's Tongue,

and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis or Snakeweed.

It's certainly going to take some hard work to get control over the spread of all these plants, but we're determined to do our very best.

Other pest plants that were identified on our property include things like ...

Alternanthera ficoidea or Joyweed,

Cassia fistula,

Catharanthus roseus or Periwinkle,

Centratherum punctatum subsp punctatum or Brazilian Button Flower,

Chamaecrista rotundifolia or Wynn Cassia,

Clitoria ternatea or Butterfly Pea,

Crotalaria zanzibanica or Rattlepod,

Macroptilium lathyroides or Phasey Bean,

Murraya paniculata or Mock Orange,

Passiflora foetida or Stinking Passion Flower,

Ocimum basilicum or Basil,

Tridax procumbens or Tridax Daisy,

and Leucas lavandulifolia.

All these plants are listed as environmental weeds, but are only marked as weeds of moderate priority for control.  They will not be addressed until a long way down the track, when the high priorities are dealt with.

One section of the report that certainly bought a smile to my dial though, in the face of the rather daunting task we have ahead of us, was the list of native species that are growing on our property, either in our yard or out in the bush paddock.  There were 30 plants on that list, including native grasses, shrubs, trees, vines and herbs.  How wonderful is that!!!  I really had no idea there were indeed that many natives around our place, but I will leave all that for Chapter 3 of the saga.

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