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Bernieh
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Bracing For The Coming Summer and Looking Back At Spring.

Category: My Dry Tropics Garden | Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:59 am

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).


Sunset in Late Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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 though to see the courtyard splashed by raindrops ...


Courtyard Garden - end of Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

... 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!


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Seeing all the Poincianas in bloom around the property is a clear indication Summer is just around the corner.


Delonix regia or Poinciana in bloom ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )


Delonix regia or Poinciana in bloom ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Sterculia quadrifida or Peanut Tree fruit ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.

There have been some beauties blooming for the very first time this Spring. While they were planted back in early winter 2010, I think the rather damp unseasonable not-so-dry season during the 2010 Winter-Spring didn't really agree with the new plants. They didn't bloom at all last Spring, so it's been an absolute joy to see their beautiful faces at long last.

Hemerocallis 'Velvet Eyes'

Hemerocallis 'Velvet Eyes' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Midnight'

Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Midnight' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Hemerocallis 'Picotee Bubbles'

Hemerocallis 'Picotee Bubbles' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Then there is 'Sweet Summer Heat', which will probably last into the early days of our Summer as that is now only three days away.

Hemerocallis 'Sweet Summer Heat' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Asiatic Lilies ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.

Oriental Lilies ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Preparing the garden and property for the coming Summer has proven to be a very different task this year. Most of the pruning and cutting back that I do at the end of Spring has not been necessary this year, as so many of the trees and shrubs are still well and truly pruned after their drastic haircuts during Cyclone Yasi back in February. The ensuing 'dry' season since then has meant that most of those damaged trees and shrubs have not exactly flourished and certainly don't need any more trimming back!!!

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.


Front yard, end of Spring, after house repair work ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Front garden beds after house repair work ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Front garden beds after house repair work ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Front garden beds after house repair work and hungry hordes of wallabies ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Courtyard Garden at the end of Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )


Courtyard Garden at the end of Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Courtyard Garden at the end of Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )


Courtyard Garden plants at the end of Spring ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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.


Gardenia augusta ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )






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Comments

Cayuga Morning wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:05 am:


Bernie---beautiful flowers! I especially love the shots of your courtyard. It looks so inviting!




 

Bernieh wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:31 am:


Thanks Cayuga. The courtyard is my favourite garden space and when I'm there I almost forget just how dry and parched the rest of the property is!




 

waretrop wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:33 am:


Beautiful house and yard and flowers. Lush.

Barb in Pa.




 

Bernieh wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:36 am:


Thanks Waretrop. I do so love my house and being so close to the bushland and its creatures. The flowering plants I grow are an antidote to the dry landscape that we live with for most of the year.




 

Sjoerd wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:42 pm:


Well then, B-- what a super group of pics and text this time. Wow!
That courtyard scene of yours is so impressive. Glad that the house repair is done now.

I would love to write more, but I see that I have >900 postings to get through on here.
I have been out of circulation now for a couple of weeks with compi probs.

Nice posting,
Cheers.




 

Karrma wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:31 pm:


Bernieh, what a delight to see your flowers, so precious. Thank you for posting the pix.




 

Bernieh wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:40 pm:


Glad you enjoyed your visit, Sjoerd! The house repairs are done, but the pergola out in the courtyard is next!!! I'll be adding a blog post all about that soon. For now though I'm enjoying the courtyard as much as possible before the demolition and re-construction work begins!




 

Bernieh wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:40 pm:


Thanks Karma, you're most welcome.




 

KK Ng wrote on Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:56 pm:


What lovely flowers and a cosy courtyard. The peanut tree fruit, is it edible?




 

Bernieh wrote on Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:30 pm:


Thanks KK Ng. Yes apparently the fruit of the Sterculia is edible, but I've never tried them. The birds sure do love the fruit though and the indigenous Aboriginal people used to eat the fruit in days past as well.





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