garden

Time for change…

I arrived back home from extended travel in January, that was 6 months ago, now I’m sleeping in the same bed every night. My days and weeks have become structured. I have enjoyed watching the garden change through the seasons.  See the garden in its summer glory hereIt is now mid-winter, but in Queensland that means slightly cooler days and nights and no humidity, ideal for working in the garden.

Back in January I planted vegetables and tomatoes in pots.

The tomatoes have done very well and kept us in a steady supply.

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But, annoyingly,  the birds also found them. A bird net over them solved that problem.

I keep the salad greens and herbs in pots so I can move them around to follow the sun. They are now down the far end of the garden in a sheltered area, protected from the winter winds, and they get all day sun.

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The raised bed for herbs, in the front garden keeps on keeping on.

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So that is my vegetable supply and my entry into Jude’s (earth laughs in flowers) weekly/monthly garden photography challenge and for July the theme is “the edible garden”

But while you are here I will take you for a garden walk to see what is happening in July in my garden.

Today winter has arrived it is a rather grey and dismal sort of day, showers are forecast and the temperature is only about 18c degrees, but until this week we have had some warm sunny days and this flowering shrub is bursting into flower. I inherited this shrub when I moved in and don’t know its name but it has a most beautiful soft scent and flowers twice during the year.

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I wonder if you remember the bat plant, the most unusual plant in my garden (see it here) It is a true tropical plant and look at it now.

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It certainly does not like the cooler temperatures. (this is for you Sue)

The compost bin is full and quietly decomposing. It has been a busy time of pruning and mulching as this year there has been plenty of rain and the growth has been phenomenal.

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After that wander around the garden I would like to invite you inside ( joining Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Indoors), through my front door. (Joining Norm’s “Thursday Doors” challenge)

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Come into my very untidy “studio”. That is possibly a rather pretentious term for where I now like to indulge in my new passion.

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So for a while I am going to be loving and leaving you all.

I took my first tentative steps into  the virtual world of the blogosphere in 2009. Since then it has become a major part of my life, journaling my daily and weekly happenings, joining in challenges, searching through thousands of photos in my archives to find the perfect submission for the themes. Taking photos with the ever-present thought of “will that be suitable for a post”, and, of course, making many dear friends from all over the world in this wonderful virtual world of Word Press. Enjoying the connection of “chatting” and commenting with other bloggers and the community spirit of friendship.

Now I want to take a break, spend more time practising art, trying and learning new techniques. Immersing myself in the flow of creativity, reading more books and of course spending time in the garden.

I’m sure I am going to have withdrawal symptoms, 7 years of regular posts is a major commitment, so I will occasionally pop by to say “G’day” and keep in touch with my blogging buddies.

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The hammock hangs forlorn and unused waiting for summer.

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Maybe I will find time to do some house-work, but I will not disturb this spider I think they do a good job of catching mosquitoes.

So that’s it for now. I hope you all have a really great weekend. Bye for now…

 

Categories: Australia, garden, Garden photography challenge, indoors, photos, Thursday Doors, tomatoes, travel, travel theme, vegetable garden | Tags: , , , , , , , | 99 Comments

First bite is the sweetest…

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Remember the caterpillars that nibbled the edges of my young, immature tomatoes? Well they left some for me.

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So small, but so sweet. The fruits of my labour…

Categories: garden, photos, tomatoes | Tags: , , | 32 Comments

Autumn Sunset…

Autumn has arrived, the temperatures have dropped to the mid 20’s. Yesterday it was a drizzly day, the sun hiding behind grey, wispy clouds. Light showers came and went. A day to be inside feeling slightly sorry for myself after a dentist visit. But time spent visiting my lovely WP community lifted my spirits.

Then the sky slowly cleared and I sat out on the back deck to watch this gentle sunset.

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The night cools to a comfortable 18c degrees. Good sleeping temperature.

As a gardener I welcome any rain in autumn as “traditionally” (what is that these days?) autumn is the dry season.

This morning the sun is peeping through those wispy clouds. Time to take a walk around the garden and say good morning to my plant community.

Then I will take a cyber trip around the world to visit my interesting blogging buddies. 

Categories: garden, photos, sunsets | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Caterpillar update…

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Remember this caterpillar that was in yesterday’s post? Well Desleyjane (DJ) from “musings of a frequent flying scientist” has identified it for me. In fact she did a post about the trials and tribulations of her lime tree and this strange fellow a year ago. Do go over and check it out

It is the larvae of the Orchid Swallowtail Butterfly, commonly called the Large Citrus Butterfly. Such a pretty thing and I have seen the butterfly fluttering around the garden, but never been able to get its photograph. I’m pleased I didn’t squash it.

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Taken by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au Canon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 – Own work

This is an image I found on the Wikipedia site with more details.

Thanks DJ for the information…

Categories: caterpillar, garden, photos, vegetable garden | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

Mini backyard veggie plot…

When we finally settled back home after 6 years of roaming around I made two decisions

  1. I would not have a vegetable garden…
  2. I would not grow things in pots…

I would keep the garden easy care…

But 3 months later just look…

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If you have seen previous posts about my garden (here and here) you may remember the front garden is a tropical style with lots of trees and palms shading a large area. Ferns, bromeliads and other exotic species cluster in the shade. It is riddled with tree roots and tends to get very dry. Not the best conditions for growing vegetables.

But, the back garden’s smaller and gets the sun most of the day, especially near Jack’s fish ponds. I’ve suggested we take out the ponds and turn that area into raised beds. But Jack loves his fish and water lilies.

So the solution : veggies in pots standing around the fish pond…

Above is my tomatoe forest, planted 6 weeks ago with parsley and rocket to keep them company.

This is the second crop of lettuce. Autumn and winter are the best time to grow vegetables. Summer is just too hot and humid and all the pests and diseases proliferate and consume or kill the produce before we can.

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Tish over at “Tish Farrell” did an inspirational post about growing her radishes in pots, accompanied with mouth-watering photos (take a look). So here they are Tish only 6 days old. The garden in pots is expanding in all directions.

Another cluster of seedlings sun themselves under another tomatoe. Waiting to be potted on into larger permanent pots. Silver beet, land cress, more parsley, the radish sharing the container with coriander and at the front pansies being hardened off before going into a garden bed in the front garden. My nod to spring in the tropics.

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But just a minute what can I see…

Let’s look closer…

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Oh no!!! Some thing has been nibbling.

I look around and next to this tomatoe is my lemon tree in a pot and the lemons are starting to colour up.

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But then I see it. I have never seen anything like this before. I imagine it will be a beautiful butterfly. So I am happy to share some of the tomatoes with him.

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I’ve also put a mild chilly plant in a pot.

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Spinach does not like the warm tropical climate. To grow well it needs a colder winter. But I have found a species called Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba is an edible perennial vine in the family Basellaceae) It is not a true spinach but tastes similar and is used in the same way. But most importantly it thrives in the tropics. It is a vine and I have put it beside a post it can climb up.

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So I guess I have tied myself to the garden for a while. Winter is traditionally the dry season in this area, so I will need to be here to keep pots watered.

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I have included some close ups to join in with Jude’s “garden photography challenge”. This is the last week for her close up theme.

Categories: Australia, garden, Garden photography challenge, photos, vegetable garden | Tags: , , , , | 58 Comments

7 Days of Nature photos : Day 7…

How quickly the 7 days have whizzed by. For this last day I am going to indulge myself with a walk around my garden to show you what is in flower and thriving as autumn sets in.

We had a reasonable amount of rain at the beginning of the year. Summer is usually the wet season, but, of course, you can never rely on weather patterns. Now the dry season, autumn and winter, is here and it is still hot, so I am watering most days.

I’ll start with a wander along the western side of the house, it gets all day sun and is very hot This is were our resident blue tongue lives. But he is hiding today.

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Through the gate and into the front garden.

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The Brazilian Red Cloak provides a lovely splash of colour and you can see I have just finished watering and not put the hose away.

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The small raised herb bed is starting to fill up.

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The trees in the next photo are young paw paw trees. Unfortunately it is not possible to tell which is male and which is female until they flower. I have been carefully nurturing 8 and was quite disappointed when 2 produced male flowers so I pulled them out and put them in the compost bin, so now I have 6 and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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Past the front of the house. Notice how the Grevillia is still flowering.

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Round to the cooler eastern side of the house and you can have a sit down in the Bali Corner for a while.

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Did you notice the small ornament on the table? Jack designed and made him. He is blowing his own trumpet.

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Do you remember the blue ginger had just started flowering a month ago? Well look at it now.

The Spanish moss, or old man’s beard, loves the hot humid weather.

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So does the crucifixion orchid.

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I did say I would not grow vegies or put things into pots. But just look what I have been doing!!!

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Yes those are tomatoes in pots. I couldn’t resist. Winter is the best time to grow tomatoes in this climate, not so many pests and diseases affect them. But wait that’s not all.

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This first crop of cos lettuce are getting past their best, but look behind them and you will see the second crop coming on.

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Thank you for the nomination Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) I’ll now sink back into less regular blogging habits. For my last nomination I will throw the invite to anyone who is left that has not taken part in this challenge yet.

 

Categories: 7 day nature photo challenge, garden, photos | Tags: , , , | 46 Comments

My “state of mind” as Summer ends…

It is March 1st, the first day of Autumn and it is raining, really raining, not just the dribbly showers that fell occasionally during February bringing no relief to the hot, parched earth, but the steady sort of rain that soaks into the soil bringing renewed life and vigour to the plants.

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Just look at it, can you see the plants smiling? In the past 12 hours we have had 70mm of rain and it is still raining…

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How do I feel? What is my state of mind as I stand under the deck awning and watch the rain soaking into the garden? I feel I am coming back to life. The listless, constant stickiness of the hot, humid summer is over (well I hope so!) I love Autumn, March is my favourite month of the year. I feel revitalised and ready to do things I have been putting off.

My state of mind is happiness.

Over at WordPress Ben Huberman asks us to share an image where you see a particularly strong connection between what we see and what you felt as you pressed that shutter button on your camera or phone. What was our “state of mind”…

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This sort of follows on, or really came before, when I went round the garden to see what was still in flower. I was in a reflective state of mind thinking and hoping for the cooler weather to come.

On the weekend it was very hot, I did a photo essay of what is flowering in the garden at the end of summer.

Grevillia flowers all year round

Grevillia flowers all year round

The main work during summer is pruning and the compost bin is almost full again.

My favourite flower is the gorgeous Fruit salad Frangipani. I’ve put this in for Jude “earth laughs in flowers” She is a passionate gardener and hosts a weekly “garden photography” challenge, I hope you will go over and have a look.

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How are you feeling? I hope these smiling flowers have put you in a happy state of mind.

Categories: Australia, garden, photos, state of mind, tropical garden, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 49 Comments

Some of my unusual plants….

After 2 weeks of intermittent but welcome rain and a total of approx. 100mm the garden has loved it. The humidity has been high and my tropical plants have thrived, while I have wilted. But today the breeze has turned South/East bringing a cooler, pleasanter temperature and I have been tempted out into the garden with my camera.

Being a Pom, born in Yorkshire, my first love is cottage gardens. The riot of annuals intermingled with roses bringing their unique beauty and perfume. Herbs and perennials scattered through. A glorious pallet of colour. That is the garden I had in New Zealand.

But that selection of plants wilted as fast as I do in the heat and humidity of a Queensland summer. So now I go with the flow and my garden is a tropical paradise. A backdrop of palms and broad-leaved plants of the rain forest. The bright, vibrant splash of colour as the various tropical plants flaunt their beauty among the many shades of green.

I will show you some of the more unusual plants and the more common ones that are flowering now.

These Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia) seem to be having a conversation

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While this Heliconia is home for ants.

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One of my favourites is the Croton. The flowers are quite insignificant, but the leaves are so varied.

This croton is called “African Bells”, if you look carefully you will see the small extra leaf formed on the end of the main leaf. I was given this shrub 12 years ago by the garden club as a thank you for opening my garden for the club to visit.

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There are many different shades of croton and they are a favourite as they always give a splash of colour.

This Bauhinia is a visitor from next doors garden. I trim it back after flowering but it always comes back.

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These variegated rhoeos, also known as Moses in the basket, make a neat and tidy edging and ground cover.

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The blue ginger is just starting to flower.

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The Banksia has long since finished flowering, but look at the interesting seed pod it leaves behind.

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Succulents are always easy care and love this climate.

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The next two unusual plants live on insects, flies and mosquitoes are tempted inside them.

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Finally I will leave you with a gallery of a few other plants in the garden.

Now the weather is cooling down slightly the next major job is pruning back the jungle growth.

Categories: Australia, garden, photos, tropical garden | Tags: , , , | 51 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Vibrant…

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I mentioned in my last post how Bromeliads are the most versatile and easy care plants in my garden (See that post here)

How appropriate that Jen should choose “vibrant” as her WP theme for this week, because what I didn’t show about the bromeliad in my last post is how diverse and vibrant the flowers are.

Not many are flowering at the moment in mid summer as they are, mainly, a spring-flowering plant. So I searched through the archives to find some of the vibrant images I have of the Bromeliad in glorious flower.

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Also they carry these amazing and diverse forms of flowers for many weeks, sometimes months. When they do eventually fade the Bromeliad will slowly die, but not before it has produced a number of pups (small replicas of itself) around the base of the plant to carry on the easy care tradition.

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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

Categories: bromeliad, photos, vibrant, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

The most abundant, versatile and easy care plant in my garden…

Pride of place goes to the Bromeliad.

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From the year 2000 to 2010 this area was in the grip of a terrible drought. Ever increasing water restrictions were put in place. No sprinklers allowed in the garden, only hand-held hoses every second day from 4pm to 7pm. Then even that small consideration was cut off. Only watering cans allowed to be used. The local dams were down to below 10% of capacity.

I was in despair for my garden. Plants were wilting and dying. But one plant thrived in these conditions. It became the plant of the decade and as other plants died I replaced them with this versatile survivor. Now the Bromeliad is everywhere in my garden.

It is an attractive and tidy edging plant.

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Attached in the fork of a Frangipani tree. It colonised it, needing no soil to grow in.

Attached to the fork of a Frangipani tree.

Attached to the fork of a Frangipani tree.

Filling in bare spaces.

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Thriving in full sun against a north facing wall.

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Surrounding the fish and lily ponds.

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Used as a feature plant in a pot.

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Even in a dark corner under trees.

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Or scrambling up trees.

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With so many different colours, shapes and sizes the Bromeliad will happily fit into any space.

All it requires, every now and again, is a small amount of water dribbled into the centre cup.

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And then it will reward you with a variety of unusual flowers.

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The drought broke in 2010 with torrential floods and it kept raining through 2011 and 2013 with more floods. As you can see the garden is still colonised with broms. They are an excellent choice for easy care and as we travelled these amazing plants just looked after themselves.

Categories: bromeliad, garden, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

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