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A spring gardening weekend in northern Oz.

bernieh

By bernieh

65 comments


Here in my northern corner of Oz it’s spring – but as we approach mid-spring the temperatures rise (today it was 31 degrees C at midday) and the sun’s rays are really starting to climb the UV scale – reached around 12 today which is classed as ‘extreme’. Humidity is also starting to climb – 60% today! In other words – it already feels like summer has begun!

Of course, it’s the middle of our long ‘dry’ season as well – there’s been no rain for 5 months now so my garden is dry!
This photo shows how dry the front yard is at this time of year:

The hot and dry conditions limits what can be done out in the larger garden beds around the property – they survive on their own for most of the year (with a bit of daily watering from the automated irrigation system). The grass simply dies off and waits for the rain at the end of the year!

However, there was one large garden bed that needed some tidying up – it’s the bed down the side of the hill driveway under some very tall gum trees. At the bottom of this photo you can just see the green roof of our top car-shed – that gives you some idea of the size of the gum trees in this bed.

We decided to get stuck into the tidying up before it gets much hotter. So that was the first job this weekend – with the windy conditions we’ve had for two months now there were lots of broken gum tree branches covering the bed as well as bark strips and piles of brown gum leaves. We also needed to get rid of some young coconut trees which had sprung up years ago … and the old hibiscus needed trimming!

Views after the clean-up:
From the bottom of the hill driveway:

A bit closer:

Further up in the midsection with the old hibiscus:

Looking down from the top of the hill driveway- those sticks you see are actually the trunks of my deciduous plumeria which are just starting to show new growth:

There were two tree ferns in that garden bed that finally gave up after years of very dry weather. I was hoping one of them would have survived after our record ‘wet’ at the beginning of the year – but that rain was not enough to raise the dead!

Here’s a view of the hill driveway looking up to the courtyard pergola and steps (just to the left of the photo) … after the clean-up!:

We then hosed off off the hill driveway:

and tidied up the top of the jasmine covered pergola on the other side of the hill driveway – (you can see the tall golden cane palms all around the pergola entrance) – lots of palm fronds had fallen on top of it and they don’t look that great as they decay!

Then we had to do some trimming back of the jasmine on one side of the pergola going down to the courtyard. You can see one section trimmed back – where the house is actually now visible – and one section still to go:

Hubbie and I had been away for a fortnight visiting our sons and grandchildren down in Brisbane … of course that meant we had to get somebody else to come and look after parts of the garden for a fortnight – that didn’t work out so well. Unfortunately some of my courtyard plants suffered – they certainly didn’t get enough water!

So next job – I had to cut back a few of the pot plants out in the courtyard – all the petunias, the torenias, and the New Guinea impatiens around the pond area that were in stress.

Then I had to trim back the verbena (which suffered terribly while I was away) and the pelargoniums and the nasturtiums.

Courtyard before I went away:

Courtyard today – it’s now a bit of a sad sight – but it will come back!:

I then moved onto the hanging dragon’s wing begonias in the greenhouse – they were getting leggy again as you can see:

Onto weeding the re-vamped beds outside the greenhouse:

Then I moved onto the new garden beds that were only finished a few weeks ago – did some weeding and feeding. I’m pleased with how well the new plants are all doing so far – still need lots more though!

The orange patch in the new garden beds is coming along nicely:

The sprekelia have started to bloom:

The bacopa is in full bloom:

The pelargonium peltatum ‘Lulu’ has taken off:

The polygala X dalmaisiana is blooming:

Gazanias in full bloom in the white patch:

The gomphrena leontopodioides also doing well:

As is the kalanchoe pumila:

Around the garden there’s signs of re-growth:
Caladiums are popping out after their dormant period:


So is the kaemferia elegans:

The jacaranda is beginning to flower:

The deciduous plumeria are once again showing new leaves:

There are also quite a few gums still flowering in the surrounding bushland.

Now some views of the surrounding bush after our dry autumn, winter and beginning of spring:

Now that the hot weather has starting setting in, gardening becomes more and more difficult – let’s hope everything makes it through the rest of spring and summer … until we see this sight once more!

More blog posts by bernieh

Previous post: Duststorm hits downunder.

Next post: Progress update on the new outdoor garden beds - slowly, slowly getting there!



Comments

 

Gosh you have been working hard!! Nice to see your courtyard again too! We are of course at the opposite end of the gardening calendar to you and everything is dying back as our days get shorter and the temperature gets cooler. We've had a fabulous month in September in the south west of England though, a real Indian Summer. Thanks for sharing the fruits of your hard work, look forward to more photos. The final view shot is stunning.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Antigone - glad you had great sunny weather in September. That last photo is what we are now looking forward to during spring and summer - we spend the rest of the year hoping for rain in January!

4 Oct, 2009

pmg
Pmg
 

Great to see your Aussie garden! It looks wonderful

4 Oct, 2009

pmg
Pmg
 

We could also do with some rain - don't think we've had anything to speak of in this part of the country since early July and the plants are looking quite stressed - very tempting to cut it all down.

4 Oct, 2009

 

I love seeing your garden Bernie and i love to see the plants there.
It's a pity the person 'on duty' whilst you were away didn't manage to keep your courtyard plants healthy but they'll perk up now you're back :-))

4 Oct, 2009

 

Pmg - thanks for your comment ... know exactly what it's like waiting for rain and watching the garden stressing out! Hope you get some of that liquid sunshine soon!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Louise - isn't it heartbreaking when you know someone's tried to do the right thing but it just didn't work out. My heart sank when I came down the steps into the courtyard - I'm just hoping it can recover in the heat that's about to set in!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Your spring flowers and shrubs look wonderful, what a shame how they never kept your plants watered enough, I know I would nt be asking the same person to come back again. Your court yard looks wonderful, to me hope it all recovers as you know it should be.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Morgana - the person who was looking after the courtyard and greenhouse garden was so keen to do it that I couldn't say no! Maybe I'll just suggest that hubbie stays home next time - he's always done a pretty good job of looking after it all while I'm away on my own. He whinges non-stop about doing it (he hates gardening) ... but he actually does a good job!

4 Oct, 2009

 

lol is he a Taurus the bull by any chance, seems to me the person is jealous of your planting. I have some one like that who claims they are a friend, exspects me to take them out in the car but does nt want to push me in wheel chair though, they claim their wrists are week, yet they can carry heavy buckets of heavy water a long way to water their allotment.

4 Oct, 2009

 

it all looks fantastic Bernieh absolutely gorgeous

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks for the tour Bernie, great pics. Your garden is always lovely whatever the weather, it's lovely to see and hear about something so different to our own. Was your watering attendant not really a gardener? I've found that people who aren't think that a small sprinkle of water over the flowers and leaves is all that is required! (same as my grandchildren when they 'help' me water the plants! lol

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Shamrock - not sure I'd agree that it's all looking fantastic ... but thanks for the kind comment.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Lily2 - my helper is a sort of gardener ... ummm ... let's just say her garden is not quite the same as mine and doesn't need as much up-keep or should I say loving attention!!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Wonderful courtyard you have it must be great to sit out there with a nice cold beer ......:o))

4 Oct, 2009

 

Mushybanna - it's one of our favourite pastimes ... relax and refresh with a cold one!!

4 Oct, 2009

 

what a beautiful garden and fabululous pics.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Appreciate your comment Tulsalady. Thanks.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Really enjoyed seeing more of your fabulous garden on this tour. Thank you. It is a lot of hard work I know but I think it is worth it as long as you keep sharing the results with us.

Now I wish you had not told us about the watering attendant. I realise that we have to share the pain you experienced on seeing your thirsty plants as the price we pay for benefitting from this gardening joy in your life. Nevertheless I found it truly painful as I have frequently been castigated myself for being a poor watering attendant.

As your temperatures soar and us northerners start to shiver and our plants have a rest I know we appreciate seeing your lovely plants and garden this your spring. It is also very interesting to know the temperatures you are experiencing - however as previously explained I have a fear of extreme heat. I was wondering if in future you could prefix the sentence telling us the temperature with the words HEAT WARNING. I can prepare myself and perhaps others will also benefit from not being so jealous.

I would be interested to know the height of the hills in the background of your photos. Btw I thought your courtyard is delightful in the photo that you described as a bit of a sight. Is the before photo the template for paradise?

4 Oct, 2009

 

Oh Gardeningfriend - thanks so much for your comments. No my courtyard is definitely a template for paradise - there's still so much I want to do out there ... it's still very much a work in progress!! This year is really the first year I've worked seriously on it - having pretty much finally finished the other large garden beds. (if you ever really finish a gardening task!)

Poor watering attendants should be rounded up and kept safely away from gardens!!! Poor thing - she was trying to do the right thing ...and I should be more appreciative I know!

The highest point in that range of mountains you see is named Mount Elliott and it reaches around 1340 metres! We get slighter cooler temps. up here than down on the coastal plain where my city is located.

As for temperature warnings - ha! Summer hasn't even arrived yet!! It actually gets far worse!

4 Oct, 2009

 

~I think the problem can be what time of day the plants are watered too~ My son has had the onerous task of walking our dogs, working full time and watering our plants when we have been away and I have come back to find things dead but then again I know he was absolutely at full stretch.
The problem is finding someone who would to it to your liking and has the time!....This year we have had much shorter trips away!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Arlene, it's certainly made me think that next time hubbie and I go away it will have to be a shorter trip! Previously it always the dog that had to be considered - since she died it's the garden that makes us think twice about going away!!

4 Oct, 2009

 

I love seeing round your place Bernieh, thanks again, sad about the tree ferns, and the drongo who didn't do the watering

4 Oct, 2009

 

Are these photo's since the dust storm Bernieh? You have done a good job of washing down ...if they are!...good for you..

4 Oct, 2009

 

Yes Catfinch these photos were taken today - I have been cleaning the house and hosing down the outdoors for three days!! It's just about all gone now - still some dust settling inside the house and out on the verandah though.

4 Oct, 2009

 

As always, a lovely blog Bernieh. I just can't get enough of your garden ... it's always beautiful ! :-))

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Sue - nice of you to say so! I look out there and always see so much more to be done! Not that I don't appreciate what's there already - gardeners .. we're just not satisfied are we!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Oh..you have really been working hard..and doing a good job of..! Your plants are looking great..your nursing them back to health after your trip away will be good as well, I bet they will take off like crazy now since they have had a trim and feed..

4 Oct, 2009

 

Indy - I loved the tree ferns. They were growing quite happily there for over 5 years - I bought mature ones and they looked terrific. I've always had tree ferns somewhere in my gardens and I've been thinking about getting at least one for the courtyard now ... but growing it in a pot this time.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Catfinch, the last days of my holidays have been hectic (I'm a teacher and we've had school holidays for two weeks). Lucky really that I've had the time to spend doing all this cleaning up - not exactly a fun way to spend the end of the break though!

4 Oct, 2009

 

no but at least you did not have to try to do it while you were back at work..my word you would have been exhausted even worse..! Next week-end will be here before you know it... xx

4 Oct, 2009

 

Indy - I have just looked up the word drongo and discovered it is Australian for a dope or stupid person. Well I suppose us negligent water attendant's deserve such an insult for neglecting plants. :o)
Bernieh - When I told you about me being a drongo what I didn't tell you was that my daughter castigated me for not watering in my own garden and green house - I didn't let down anyone else. "Poor watering attendants should be rounded up and kept safely away from gardens!!! " - I think banishing me from my own garden is a bit harsh don't you think? :o)

4 Oct, 2009

 

Drongo is one of those words that makes others go HUH? Definition is spot on! There is also a bird named Drongo - the Spangled Drongo - so named because of it's strange behaviour sometimes when it's searching for food.

As for banishment ... harsh but necessary - gardens need water! Good one daughter! Sorry, but I'm still smarting a bit from my discovery upon returning home. Your garden seems to be doing well in spite of your watering neglect!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Oh GF...you are in trouble now...lol

4 Oct, 2009

 

I'm sure with your tlc the courtyard garden will recover and look even more beautiful- plants are so resilient. Perhaps you should give your 'watering attendant' a pot plant with a list of instructions for its care - when it suffers he/she will see where they went wrong. :<)
I so love seeing plants we can only grow indoors or in greenhouses thriving in your garden - that gomphrena is stunning, such unusual form. It's also interesting to see so many things so green after months of 'dry'.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Wagger - I actually did what you suggested. I gave my helper a plant with all the necessary instructions!! The gomphrena is a wildflower that was found in the western part of this state and is now available in nurseries - quite lovely. There is a timed watering system for most of the garden beds - not all - so the plants do get some water even though the timed sessions are rather short.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Really enjoyed the tour of your garden and surrounding area of where you live Bernieh,your courtyard is lovely and it must be really relaxing out there.Pleased to hear you are nearly dust free that must have been horrible,bet you could taste it. Guess watering problems occur for all of us if one goes away,mine either get forgotten or drowned and they refuse to get it into their heads that baskets still need watering if it rains.Lol. Beautiful photo`s ..........

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks so much Lincslass. There's a lot of pots out in the courtyard and in the greenhouse and as you know, they have to be watered every day - that message didn't get across to my helper very clearly unfortunately. At least nothing actually died so I'm hoping they will all come back.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks for this lovely blog! I enjoyed the photos from across the world - so different! What a shame about your courtyard plants - you must have been so upset, after getting someone in to help!

They will recover - I'm sure of that! I'll look out for the photos when they're all in flower again. :-))

4 Oct, 2009

 

I am thinking that you most likely just thought that this person would understand, as you do it so naturally and you are there all the time with them..you may not have even realized how extreme it could become so easily as you do it out of natural habit everyday. She may have not soaked deep enough not understanding how pots differ from the ground. She must feel terrible about it.
You have had a few bad days now..are exhausted and are not looking forward to going back to work right on top of it all....things will be looking up soon..I hope you can get a bit of rest before heading back to work...((Bernieh))

4 Oct, 2009

 

Hello Bernieh, I've enjoyed looking around your garden, With such different conditions to ours I'm amazed how green and lush it all is. It must require lots of water, where does it come from? Oz is a big Country and I'm told that while some parts are short of water, other parts have too much.
Here we have sluds and aphids, what nibbles you plants?

4 Oct, 2009

 

thank u so much for the tour.
it all looks so lush. 31degrees is our high summer if we're lucky here in Wales/UK. love your shade netting i find it helps so much to stop things drying out.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Bernieh...for showing us your garden...it's looking so luscious...despite the lack of rain. Good for you for keeping it all going. We complain of too much rain but it must be hard to keep on top of things when there's no water. No rain for 5 months? Can't imagine that!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Bernieh love to look at your garden, it looks lovely.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Spritz - I'm not feeling so grumpy about the courtyard plants this morning. I do hope they all recover but the temperature have started rising and it's getting hot - not sure they'll come back as lovely as before. Fingers crossed!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Catfinch - thanks for your kind thoughts ... it's Monday morning and I'm not as grumpy today!! Have given all the courtyard plants some TLC again this morning ... and will feed them all later today.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Heron - some parts of my garden do look green but that's because I've been rather careful about the planting choices. This type of climate needs plants that can survive without a great deal of water and of course they have to survive long hot and humid summers as well.

We're lucky here - my city has a dam and one of the state's largest dams in not too far away on the next river system. Our capital city though, down south, is always in trouble ... they have very strict water restrictions and these have been in place for years now. Unfortunately most of the dams that supply that city's water don't seem to get much rainfall.

Of course our country is the second driest continent (after Antartica) in the world. Water is regarded as very precious here.

One of the reasons our lawn is brown for around 10 months of the year is that we think it's irresponsible to be using the required amount of water trying to keep such a huge area green - it's really a waste!

Our location and our micro-climate is not suitable for a lush green lawn - but we do have quite a bit of green in the garden.

Some of our garden beds and our green house are on a timed watering system which delivers a small amount of water every day. The council provision of water is not huge - if we exceed the allowance, we pay for it!!!

The potted plants and hanging baskets have to be watered by hose every day - and during summer, twice a day.

The animals that nibble on my plants are mainly the wallabies - although they mostly eat the roots and leaves of the brown grass. There are aphids of course, but apart from that, I don't get many pests here.

4 Oct, 2009

 

WOw Bernieh lovely pix as always, you must spend a lot of time in the garden!

Here in Sydney we're also having real weather extremes: 33 degrees last week, now we are all freezing in 16 degrees!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Hi Pip - thanks! It's heating up here as well - tipped to get to 33 degreesC today up here. Last night it dropped to 17!!
Weather all over the place at the moment. How did you go during the duststorm last week? I was in Brisbane at the time and the dust hung around for 3 days - when I returned home up here everything was covered in dust. The dust apparently made its way all along the coast up to Cairns!

4 Oct, 2009

 

What a lot of work you've done ! It looks better after overgrown things have been cut back though doesn't it. I like all your pots and around the greenhouse.
I don't think I could survive all that hot dry weather myself. I hope you can cope with it better.

5 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Hywel - as you would know gardening does involve a lot of work ... but I do enjoy it. You're so right - when you've cleaned up, chopped back, pulled out and generally tidied up ... it somehow gives you a real lift!

As for the hot weather ... I'm finding that it's actually harder to put up with as I'm getting older, even though I've lived here all my life! I am now finally in a house that has air-conditioning in the living area ... and I think it will soon be time to start switching it on!!! It got to 33 degrees C today ... on a spring day - looks like it's going to be a stinker of a summer coming up.

5 Oct, 2009

 

Hi Bernieh – This is GF’s identical twin here. GF in banishment has asked me to visit you and plead on his behalf. First he wishes to explain that his poor watering crime occurred in 2008. In mitigation GF wishes to explain that his outside water tap fell off. Difficulty was experienced getting parts and eventually the tap was replaced with two outside taps; one for the hose pipe and the other for general use. GF hopes this demonstrates his real and serious commitment to future watering duties. Throughout 2009 there were no repeat watering lapses. Third - no tree ferns or baskets have ever expired in GF’s garden. This in the main has been due to good fortune in that he hasn’t got any – the tree ferns are too expensive here and he is a hopeless basket case as it is without adding to the problem with flowering baskets. In the circumstances GF seeks mercy and a reprieve from the banishing order.

5 Oct, 2009

 

It's so interesting to read 'first hand' how you cope with such different conditions. I take your point re the lawns. Over here in England the lawn is deemed to be the Man's domain, but I won't ask what the Australian Man does without a lawn to mow. I suppose if the lawn doesn't grow then the weeds won't either. It's rumoured (occasionally) that the Australians can play Cricket, but how do they practice without a lawn? As for pests, My O/H doesn't mind me killing bugs but if we had Wallabies she'd want them all as pets!!!

5 Oct, 2009

 

Gardeningfriend ... or should I address your twin? Well anyway I got up on the right side of the bed today and was actually smiling while out in the garden. Banishment does seem a little harsh in the light of another day ... OK reprieve granted. Obviously there have been no relapses so all is good. Keep on watering.

5 Oct, 2009

 

Heron - the lawn is still king in many parts of Oz ... just not out here in my particular part of this great country. I live outside my city ,.. in a rural suburb that's out in the bush ... but in the city suburban gardens there's many many green lawns that are dutifully looked after by the Aussie male.

I do have to say that the cricket pitches in my city are not that green however .. we build our cricket players tough over here!

As for the wallabies ... we get mainly the females and the joeys and they're relatively harmless to the garden. Earlier in the year however we had a group of young males thumping everywhere on the lawn and through garden beds ... some sort of competition to establish dominance I think. A couple of large shrubs got a right ole trim that day!

5 Oct, 2009

 

Hi Bernieh ~ I enjoyed reading your blog. You have been working really hard as always your garden is amazing. I ‘m so sorry to read that your courtyard plants have suffered while you were away. I know your magic green fingers will have them looking good again very soon. I’ll send you some rain it’s been pouring down here this morning. I am looking out at yellowing leaves autumn seems to have arrived over the last couple of days. My poor garden has been a bit neglected this summer. Most weekends I have been at work, I really must get out and have a tidy up. If the rain stops soon I will go out today! :0)

6 Oct, 2009

 

Sueb - would love all your rain!! I envy you the autumn colours - we just don't have them up here in the north. My courtyard garden pots are already looking a little better - I'm just hoping they won't suffer too much now as the days get hotter and the sun gets stronger. We'll see if they can keep going for a bit longer. It's a shame when work interferes with gardening isn't it - hope you can get out there soon!

6 Oct, 2009

 

The Rain has just stopped I'm Just off out to tidy up I will take the camera out with me. Do you use water retaining gel crystals in your pots?

6 Oct, 2009

 

Yes ... I have to Sueb otherwise the poor plants would barely be able to get a sniff of water ... it would evaporate too quickly. I also use a wetting agent in the potting mix as well with some of them - particularly the thirsty ones. Will be looking forward to seeing some more of your garden now.

6 Oct, 2009

 

Wow Bernieh that dust storm... :-(O)

See my blog on the subject - "Guaranteed you'll never see anything like this"

9 Oct, 2009

 

Will have a look at your blog Pip c.

9 Oct, 2009

 

WOW....WOW....WOW!!!!

Love your garden every time I see it.

You are SOOOOOO LUCKY!!

14 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks Oddbillie - very kind of you. The garden's not exactly at its best as everything is soooo dry here, but all the new plants seem to be doing well and the oldies keep chugging along.

14 Oct, 2009

 

Sounds like me and Ali, that last comment....Lol!!!

14 Oct, 2009

 

Oddbillie, ha! some mornings when I'm attempting to get up out of bed ... that's exactly how I feel too!!! Like that little engine chugging up that hill ... I think I can, I think I can!!!

15 Oct, 2009

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