Season: beginning of Autumn, and wet season
Not a lot has changed since my last Garden Journal entry posted last week. The wet season continues to be remarkably dry, as predicted by the experts last year. We've had day after day after day of bright blue skies and glorious fierce sunshine, but very few days of overcast grey leaden skies.
The only rain we've seen over the last few months has arrived courtesy of a few thunderstorms and a weak monsoonal low. We haven't had the usual day or two of between 90-150mm of rain (approx 3.5 ins to 6 ins), or the days and days of between 50-70mm (approx 2 ins to 3 ins). These are typical events for a typical wet season. Nothing like it has happened this year.
The garden continues to be fairly parched and the hand-watering of the potted plants continues. I've already lost a few of the potted plants out in the courtyard and the shadehouse, as the heat and humidity has taken its toll. As the end of our wet season is now just around the corner, the outlook for the established plants in the garden beds is not going to be a good one during the coming long dry season. They will really struggle through the next nine months or so given that the topsoil and the sub-soil are so bone dry already.
We have had a slight break in the usual horrid summertime conditions though. Whilst the daytime temps remain up around the 30-32 deg C mark, the humidity levels have dropped dramatically in the last week or so, which means I've finally be able to get out and do a few gardening jobs at long last.
I've been busy this weekend out in the shadehouse clearing out the overgrown jungle.
I started at one end at about 9.30am pulling out clumps of the Giant Sword Fern, and so many little plantlets of the Neomarica longifolia or Yellow Walking Iris. They are the two plants that tend to take over the shadehouse during the summer.
I got to the middle section at around 11.00 am, and the pile of debris was pretty high. I was now trimming back the potted Gingers and Cordylines as well.
I think I finished at around 2.00 pm, and it was time for a rest! I have to say that I felt so very good after a decent day's work outdoors in the garden after such a long break over the summertime. I slept like a baby last night! But then I woke to the huge debris pile this morning. It was still there, as I just ran out of puff yesterday afternoon.
Still it was fantastic to see some of the foliage plants on display once again, with so much of the fern and Iris removed.
I'm planning on removing the debris pile this afternoon, but this morning I've been spending this beautiful Sunday morning taking cuttings and potting up little seedlings.
Last weekend, my darling hubby and I headed up to Mission Beach ... our favourite spot for a break ... to celebrate my darling's birthday. Whilst there, I spotted a fantastic looking Ginger growing in the garden beds of the little place we were staying at, and made plans to grab a piece before we left. I think it's Alpinia purpurata or Red Ginger Lily.
My hubby quietly mentioned to the manager how much I loved the Ginger and asked if it would be alright for me to take a piece. She decided on another course. She arranged for her lovely husband to bring in a flowerhead from their own garden which had loads of small plantlets ready to be potted up. Can you see all the little babies in the photo above? I was so touched by this kind gesture, and I'm really looking forward to see these little ones mature.
Anyway, the babies are potted up now and ready for some nurturing.
I've also taken some cuttings from my one of my own favourite Gingers that's growing in the shadehouse. It's the Costus speciosus variegata or Variegated Crepe Ginger / Spiral Ginger. I've been wanting to do this job for quite some time now, and I'm so happy I've finally gotten around to doing it.
Here's the parent out in the shadehouse. Those variegated leaves have the most amazing texture. They feel like soft velvet, and the flower of this plant is a beautiful white bloom resembling crepe paper.
While I was busy potting up this morning the background noise was the fabulous song of the Helmeted Friar Bird. They are not the most attractive birds in the bird kingdom, as can be seen from the photo above. They have rather large ugly heads and dull colouring, but their song is simply fantastic!
I just had to include a little video clip / soundtrack I recorded this morning. I'm afraid the clip doesn't include much vision of the birds as they were so high up among the branches of the Cadaghi Gums, but I know you'll enjoy the song immensely in spite of that.
After taking a break to video the birds, I took a little walk around the place just to see what I could see!
I found that some of my potted Bromeliads have little pups at last. I'm afraid I'm not very good when it comes to knowing the scientific names for the Broms I have.
I also noticed one of the pups that I'd carelessly popped into one of the old stumpy leftover fronds of the Elaeis guineensis or African Oil Plam near the hill driveway, is now flowering. I think this Brom is a Vriesea.
Both the Turneras are doing really well in the driveway garden beds. I think I need a couple more!
My oldest hardiest double Gerbera plant just keeps on going despite the fact that I give it no care and attention at all. It's a lovely little addition to the dry driveway garden beds.
There are little Cosmos plants popping up down the driveway again. This patch is further down than the last patch that sprang up, so it looks like they're spreading their beauty around.
The fragrance of the Jasminum officinale is filling the courtyard space and it's one of the delights of that garden space. At the moment the courtyard garden is looking terribly drab and dull. I'll be starting to add pots of annuals in the coming weeks to liven things up a bit, and next weekend I'm planning on moving the established potted plants around quite a bit just to freshen up the look somewhat.
The Caladiums continue to add splashes of colour in the shadier parts of the garden.
It seems that the creeping plant that has been growing on the rock wall outside the kitchen, has now started a quest for world domination. It's spreading to the strangest of places. Here it is creeping all the way up the trunk of the Pritchardia pacifica or Fiji Palm. I'll have to keep an eye on it, I think!
Well that's the round-up for this week. At the moment all our eyes are on the tropical cyclone that's hovering off our coastline at the moment. Now usually we're not all that keen on cyclones approaching, but this one is only rated as category 1, and it brings with it the promise of some rain.
At the moment Tropical Cyclone Tim is around 800 kms off the coast, and moving very slowly at about 10 kn an hour. The predictions are that it will weaken below tropical cyclone strength by the time it reaches the coast and should bring about an increase in showers and rain around us. Fingers crossed everyone! Let's hope that T.C. Tim is a real gentleman and behaves well!!!