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The End Of Our Glorious Winter Draws Near

Category: My Dry Tropics Garden | Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:11 am

Here in the southern hemisphere we're over halfway through our last month of Winter. Whilst that might be cause for rejoicing further south in Oz, here in the north we're a little saddened by the thought.

Springtime here is the beginning of the end of the fantastic cool, clear sunny Winter days and the beginning of the plunge into the horrid Summer temperatures and humidity levels. Ah well, it's time to enjoy every minute of the little Wintertime that's left.

Spot fires out in the surrounding bushland ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

There were just a few little hot spots left burning the weekend after the bushfire swept through the hill opposite our property. Now all spots are dead and gone, so the threat is completely over.

Euphoriba pulcherrima and Salvia splendens hybrid ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Out in the garden I've been doing quite a bit of hand-watering, as it's our dry season here, and the drying winds have whipped again. I don't mind spending time watering though. To me it's the most relaxing time of the day.

While I'm out there I'm seeing the lovely flowers of the Poinsettias and Salvias seen above,

Scutellaria suffrutescens or Pink Texas Skullcap ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

the Scutellaria suffrutescens,

Pentas lanceolata ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

the Pentas,

Gazania rigens ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

the Gazanias,

unknown variety of Begonia ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

the Begonias,

Calliandra haematocephala or Red Powder Puff ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

the Calliandras

Rhododendron simsii or Azalea ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

and the Azaleas.

There are however some flowers or plants that are suddenly missing from my garden. Just last week I had noticed there was something wrong with the lowest tier of the rock garden beds. My patch of Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' appeared to have been eaten.

Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Supposedly, the branches of this plant are poisonous if ingested. The sap is rather nasty. Well apparently this problem does not apply to ravenous wallabies who are finding it difficult to locate grass to eat in the dry season. They literally ate the whole shrub, which was standing at around half a metre in height.

I then started noticing branches missing from the potted Euphorbias up on my courtyard garden. Well, I couldn't have that, so I barricaded the courtyard. Or so I thought. Wallabies should never be underestimated when they hungry and they find something rather delectable to their taste buds.

Potted Azalea and potted Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' with Wrightia ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

The photo above shows not just the blooming Azalea, but also the Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' in its full glory to the left, filling out the pot with my Wrightia. It was looking fantastic for months! Well, despite my best efforts to protect this delicious plant over the last week or so, it's been nibbled down to ugly little stumps.

The wallabies also found my other Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' potted up with a Justicia carnea ... which apparently is not all that tasty!! Then I found my poor Gomphrenas. Obviously the stems are delicious, but the flowerheads not so tasty! They were nibbled off and strewn around the pavers. Wallabies, apparently have discerning tastes!

The Gazania flowers are not good enough either, but the leaves are to-die-for! I now only have little stumps left of my newly planted Gazanias out in the new rock garden bed.

I've been sticking up for the Agile Wallabies for ages now. Whenever anyone asks whether they are pests in my garden ... destructive little creatures ... I have always said 'NO!' Well that's all changed now. I'm no longer such a huge fan! Shame on you, you thief! So ... feeling a little funny in the tummy?

Agile Wallaby having a rest ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Thankfully, there is a little bit of good news from my garden and I can end on a more cheery note. There's actually a bloom appearing for the very first time on my Callistemon 'Pink Champagne', which has been in the ground now for almost two years and has done very, very little. But now there is the promise of lovely blooms to come.

Callistemon 'Pink Champagne' ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

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cherylad wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:41 am:

Your remark to the Wallaby about it's upset tummy made me laugh out loud. So sorry to hear of its destruction to your beautiful and unique plants/garden.
Glad there was some happy news at the end. I'm off to do an internet search on some of those gorgeous plants.


Bernieh wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:47 am:

Oh, Cherylad, if only I could have typed the rest of my remarks to the wallabies!! It would have been a bit more colourful! The Euphorbias and Gazanias were looking so good before those creatures found them.

Cayuga Morning wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:23 am:

Bernieh--It is fascinating to hear of your garden,the climate, & even pests in Australia. I can imagine how you feel about wallabies---it sounds as though they are the equivalent of the North American deer. We call our deer the "browsing cows" of the Northeast. I loved your photos of blooming plants.


Sjoerd wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:14 pm:

Sorry that your cool period is coming to an end. it seems like just yesterday that you were talking about how nice the weather was becomming and how much you were looking forward to the winter weeks.

Say, the spot fires like in that first pic--how do they begin?

The flowers that you are showing this time look quite attractive and bring back menories.

I don't know what to make of the Wallibi that plague your garden so. What a shame. What sort of deterrant can you use? perhaps you could rent a lion from the travelling circus.

That Callistamon is also called the "Bottlebrush" isn't it?
do you know that since i was in Oz, I now notice that we can get these anas well as a couple of types of Anigozanthos.

Those walabis really are active nocturnally. I can remember lying in my combi at night and hearing, "thump, thump, thump..." as they hopped alongside the camper. I saw then during the day too, but they were docile and lying about in the shade.

Great post, B.


Bernieh wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:32 pm:

Cayuga Morning, usually the Wallabies don't do too much damage. It's our dry season right now though and they're finding it hard to find much grass which is what they usually eat. Obviously they've somehow figured out that the Gazanias and Euphorbias are rather tasty. I'm not sure what it is about these plants compared to all the others.


Bernieh wrote on Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:38 pm:

Hi Sjoerd. Those spot fires were left over patches from the bushfire that swept through the hillside opposite our place. While most of the fire burnt itself out, there were some 'hot spots' left, mostly tree trunks that just kept on burning. Luckily for us, the weather stayed nice and calm for the week that these little spot fires kept on burning.

Deterrents for the wallabies are hard to come by. You never quite know what they will find tasty. A few years ago it was the Portulacas, and they didn't touch the Gazanias. I think it's just individual wallabies' taste. They have their own likes and dislikes.

Yes, Callistemon is also called Bottlebrush, you're right. How wonderful that you can also grow Anigozanthos! I've tried several times to grow a couple of different varieties, but I can never get them through our wet season here.


Miss Liberty wrote on Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:15 am:

Thanks for sharing the pictures of your beautiful flowers and your odd little, uninvited guest. It's funny to me to think of flowers growing so well in the winter.

My husband is a wildlife agent and he gets calls all the time from frustrated gardeners because the deer get in and enjoy what's growing. I suppose if he did the same job down under, the calls would be for wallabies instead.

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