Friday, 28 January 2011

What's flowering as January draws to a close?

Spider lily
I love this calliandra, especially when it's with all it's friends.

It puts on quite a show.

In the front garden there's the white
and the red

Some hibiscus
 Allamanda - single
and double

 Canna Tropicana - Pink
A red flowering Canna

 Ixora - Prince of Orange

in a bit closer
Ixora - Gold
 The heliconias of course are still flowering

The beehive ginger changes as it matures. It throws our little flowerlets from it's "hive" and the colour changes.

They change from all gold to pink and gold giving them the name Champagne Beehive

This is my baby - a different variety of beehive ginger. Isn't she cute? This year is the first time she's flowered.
the fragrant ginger - Hedychium

It's a bit early for it but the Tibouchina is starting to bloom as well.

and I can never forget to show a frangipani.
To discover flowers from around the globe, visit Tootsie Time to see who else is flaunting their flowers this Friday.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Chooks in the garden

Our chooks really are a multi-purpose pet. They give us fertiliser, food, entertainment, and they help with the gardening.
OK - so in return we spoil them. They all have names (which they don't answer to, by the way) and they are all guaranteed a home for life regardless of whether they lay or not.
After a day at work it is great to get home and spend some time just watching them do what chooks do - and they do quite a lot.
They don't just lay eggs.

They provide top quality fertiliser for the garden (even when they look like they're resting).

They patrol the garden looking for bugs and grubs.

They scratch through the compost we throw on the garden and mix it into the soil.

They'll even help with the weeding from time to time. Sometimes they'll prune the garden plants as well, but just tip pruning.
They are very good at spreading mulch - even if you don't want them to.

The vege garden is pretty bare at the moment. With the enormous amount of rain we've had, combined with the heat and humidity most of our veges just turned up their toes and died. I'm waiting until early Autumn when the heat and rain has passed to replant so it's become the favourite dust bath area.

Of course, they also have to keep an eye on the compost bins. (possibly their favourite passtime) They make sure any tasty morsels get eaten rather than decompose.
Following us around, and checking what we are up to rates fairly highly on their daily agenda as well.
Note the black four-legged chook, interested but keeping a healthy distance. They've got her measure. She's been known to get the odd peck if she tries to steal their food.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


When you have cordylines in the garden you hardly need flowers.

No wonder the flowers try so hard to be noticed.

Monday, 17 January 2011

It's been a very long week

For a while we didn't know whether Missy's Garden would survive or not. All we could do was wait and see. The water was rising. Our block is fairly high but it is also fairly close to the river.
 Karalee is in a deep U shaped bend of the Brisbane River near where the Bremer River joins. Both rivers were predicted to break their banks.
We had seen what the floods had already done to many parts of Queensland. Now we were awaiting our turn.
A neighbour's flagpole said it all.

Last Monday Toowoomba experienced a flash flood which the media described as an inland tsunami. Cars were picked up and hurtled down the main street by the force of the water.  Toowoomba is an hour drive from us and is built on the top of a mountain, but it is built in the shallow crater of an extinct volcano so the water rushed down towards its centre. Then we heard about the small towns at the foot of the mountain (a half hour drive from home). Whole towns had been destroyed by a torrent of water that rushed down the mountainside. It was on television that night - people dead and missing, houses ripped off their foundations and crushed by the force of the water.
I went to work as usual Tuesday morning. I knew a flood was coming but at that time there was really no reason to stay home. When I got to work they were planning to evacuate the building. It is also near the river and would most likely be inundated. Getting home took two and a half hours driving in pouring rain along with thousands of others also heading home to prepare for what lay ahead.
The police had door knocked our area to let everyone know the local school was the evacuation point and for our street, if it continued to rain overnight, we should prepare to leave. Power was turned off to the entire area in readiness. Water and electricity don't mix well. So we sat in the dark and waited to see how high the water would come.

Wednesday morning we woke to the sound of rushing water. There was no other sound - no cars, no rain, no refrigerator motor, not even any birds.
The water had risen to within a few meters of our street.
I took this from our front door.

John walked down every half hour or so to check how far it has risen each time. We were very fortunate. Our house and yard remained dry. It didn't get much higher than the photo shows.
We went for a drive to see how bad things were. We couldn't get very far. The road was cut just past the school (about 2 kms away). We tried a couple of back streets to see if we could bypass the water. They were even worse.

If you look closer you'll see how deep the water was.

Many people lost their homes and all of their possessions. There were many homes submerged like this one.
Quite a few families stayed at the local school. Some had caravans to stay in but most camped on stretchers in the hall. (They are still there and may be for quite a while.)
We were cut off for 3 days, without a phone for a couple of days and without electricity for just over 5 days.  Other than that we had no damage. We were so fortunate.
We spent the time gardening, reading, talking to neighbours and trying to think of creative ways to use the food we had.

John took pictures of the helicopters flying overhead.

I took pictures of frogs.

Something I found quite strange -  Before all of this we had seen non-stop television coverage of the floods but when it was actually happening to us - no TV, no computer. We knew in the outside world people would be watching the floods on TV or checking any number of flood update sites. We talked to each other. Occasionally we sat in the car and turned the radio on to listen to the news.
Neighbours walking by would tell about what happened to them or of a phone call from someone with news.

By the time the flood abated and we were able to leave Karalee the crisis was over and Brisbane was in clean-up mode. An army of volunteers (sixty thousand they said) were helping remove mud from homes and businesses all over the city. On television it wasn't quite as if nothing had happened, but the flood was yesterday's news. The "aftermath" is today's news.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Friday's Flowers

Because mainly "tropical" plants grow in Missy's garden they just love the heat, the rain and the humidity. They are getting an abundance of each. The rain keeps pouring down here but I couldn't let a Flaunt your Flowers Friday pass, so while there was a short break in the rain I raced outside with the camera.
There are so many plants in flower at the moment the problem is choosing which to include and which to leave out.
This ginger has the most delightful fragrance. On a warm Summer's evening it wafts through the garden. When this ginger is in flower it is my favourite plant in the garden.

 The beehive ginger are getting larger. There are dozens of them now. I'm going to divide the clump in Autumn and start a new one somewhere else.

The red ginger doesn't flower but has the most wonderful red stems and leaf veins. It dies back over Winter so is always a welcome visitor in the warmer months and gets to be included here today.

The orange heliconias are opening up further and lots of new 'buds" are appearing.

These are doing well too. We divided and transplanted them in Spring and they've shot ahead.

Next a few hibiscus.

I don't know any of their names (sorry).

They make a great hedge and privacy screen around the pool area and their flowers are a real bonus.

This double hibiscus is such a delicate pink.

Of course I have to include at least one frangipani.

The red canna can't be ignored either, but the constant rain knocks the cannas' flowers about and most of them are looking quite ragged.

The golden candles flowers right through the warmer months.

The ixoras flower constantly as well. They come in so many colours and I've discovered they will flower in full sun or shade.
For the last one today I thought the passionfruit flower deserved a spot. Mainly because it promises to give us tasty fruit after the flower has finished.

If you'd like to see more flowers being flaunted head over to Tootsie Time.


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