My darling husband tried his best. He watered all the potted plants, and watering those is certainly the critical number one priority in my garden during the summertime. I'm ever so grateful that my darling did that job. Unfortunately though, there were a few losses.
All the other garden areas had to get by with no attention, which means that they all look rather unloved, but I know I'll enjoy getting things back to their flourishing potential again.
Anyway, I'm continuing my 'Snapshots' series and joining in the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme with this post ... my first for 2013 ... despite the sad and sorry state of things at the moment.
Conditions during December-January (early to mid-Summer):
The beginning summer months have been hot, hot, hot and horribly humid and steamy, as usual.
Daytime temps. have hovered around the 33-34 deg C mark (91-93 F), with humidity levels somewhere between 60-80% at varying times of the day. It's the humidity that makes the heat rather unbearable. It's a sweltering, oppressive tropical heat, which really takes a toll on the garden. Nights have been a little cooler with temps. between 23-26 deg C (73-78 F), so when the sun sets it does get a little more comfortable.
At the moment, the skies are mostly blue and filled with fluffy white clouds. There's been no decent rain to speak of over the start of summer ... 14.6 mm ( 0.6 of an inch) in December, and 29.8 mm (1.2 inches) so far in January ... but that is also typical. Our wet season usually doesn't start until around about the end of January. The predictions are for a rather mild wet season this year though, so it will be interesting to see what totals we get through the 2013 wet.
The surrounding bushland is fairly dry and parched under the canopy of the Eucalypt trees,
and my small property is the same. Everything is bone dry, apart from those little patches of green that result from the run-off from the garden beds watered by the timed sprinkler system.
Starting with the trees around the property ... what's blooming?
When making comparisons with this time last year, I have to say there are not many trees in bloom at all. This mid-summer the only trees with flowers hanging on the branches are the Delonix regias and my Cassia fistula.
There are four Poincianas on the property, and while all are blooming, the end of their blooming cycles is now in sight.
The Cassia fistula, or Golden Shower tree, is always in full bloom at this time of the year.
There are lots of stunning golden yellow racemes hanging from the branches, and it makes a fabulous sight at the back of the courtyard garden.
This time last mid-summer, there were blooms on two of the Lagerstroemia speciosa, or Queen's Myrtle. Nothing this mid-summer. There were also blooms on Citharexylum spinosa or the Fiddlewood Tree last mid-January, but not a single flower can be spotted on any of these this year.
There are however, a few gorgeous puffy flowers on the Corymbia dallachiana, or Dallachy's Gum.
Now onto the shrubs ... what's blooming?
When it comes to the shrubs, there's just a little more to report. Whilst there are no flower sightings on the Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee', or Lagerstroemia indicas, as there was last mid-summer,
there are a few hanging lanterns on the Hibiscus schizopetalus or Japanese Lantern, and the Mussaendas are in bloom.
Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore' at the back of the courtyard garden
Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose' in the front garden bed
and Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' in the tiered garden beds.
There are also a few flower heads on my old Ixora coccinea at the back of the courtyard.
In the Shadehouse Garden ... what's blooming?
A month away from gardening means things have gotten a little out-of-control in the Shadehouse Garden, and I really need to get in there and have a good clean-out. It's hard to notice any colour whatsoever other than green in amongst the rampant Nephrolepsis (Giant Sword Fern) and Neomarica (Yellow Walking Iris).
Upon closer inspection though, you will find a few members of the Ginger or Zingiberaceae family displaying their inflorescences.
Globba winitii or the Mauve Dancing Lady is on show.
Curcuma australasica 'Anita' is blooming.
There are inflorescences on the Costus productus or Orange Spiral Ginger as well.
Aside from the blooming Gingers, the striking white flowers of the Spathiphyllums are also standing tall in amongst the ferns and Walking Irises.
Out in the Courtyard Garden ... what's blooming?
The courtyard garden is really looking drab and dreary at the moment, and is definitely not looking its best.
Whilst my husband attended to the critically important job of watering all the potted plants around the courtyard, he didn't really understand the differing watering needs of the various plants that fill that space.
Some love having their foliage showered by the hose, but others detest that and just adore being watered at their base. Some plants need a drenching, others just need a little sprinkle. My darling hubby didn't quite get it right, so I lost plants like the Torenias, the New Guinea Impatiens and Osteospermum. I have to commend my darling for his efforts though, as I know just how much he really dislikes hosing plants or having anything to do with plants!
Some wonderful plants soldiered on and are providing a little bit of colour.
Angelonia angustifolia 'Serena' series is such a fabulous hardy plant. I'm considering filling the courtyard with pots of it!!! If there was a gold medal for toughness, durability and beauty, this would be the hands-down winner in my garden.
Another winner would be Ixoras. Ixora 'Twilight Glow' is showing its lovely two-tone apricot flowers.
The brilliant white flowers of the Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' stand out in the sunshine. This is another sun, heat, humidity and drought tolerant plant.
The other stunning white flowers in the courtyard are the pinwheel blooms of Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love'.
A new beautiful purple Water Lily opens up every morning to greet that sun.
The Pelargoniums are enjoying the fierce summer sunshine.
There is a Zinnia or two left from the seeds I saved from last year's Zinnia 'Summer Brilliance' mix.
There are a few flower sprays on the potted Duranta repens.
The lovely Clerodendrum ugandense is blooming as well.
There are also a few Portulaca flowers in various corners of the courtyard.
Elsewhere ... what's blooming?
(Hill Driveway Garden)
Fern Gully is suffering in the hot and dry conditions,
but there are a few flower sprays on the Plumerias at least,
and the old-fashioned red-flowering Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is blooming.
(Tiered Garden Beds)
The tiered garden beds outside the shadehouse are looking a little unloved and boring.
The aforementioned Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' does pair well with the Duranta repens covered in bunches of orange berries.
The Justicia brandegeana continues to bloom.
Mandevilla 'White Fantasy' is blooming beside the shadehouse garden.
(Driveway Garden Beds)
In the driveway rock garden the Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu' continues to throw out its deep blue tubular flowers with the yellow throat. I really love the colour of this plant.
In a separate section of the driveway garden the Turnera subulata and Russelia are also on show.
Further down the driveway, near the front gates, the Pseudomussaenda flava is covered in its creamy white bracts and little yellow flowers.
Well that's about it for the garden areas away from the shadehouse and courtyard gardens.
To finish off my post today, I'm adding some shots of the wonderful birdlife and wildlife that has been visiting our property this week, and providing a little cheer.
Kookaburras are a daily visitor. We hear their chorus every day, several times a day.
Sulphur crested Cockatoos
White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike
We also had a visit from a Ring-tailed Possum
and an Echidna. Unfortunately I only managed to get a rear end shot of the Echidna, which is not all that flattering.
I'm joining Carol for GBBD.