Sunday, 13 March 2016

Tropical garden inspiration

Wow!  Looks my last post telling you I was back to blogging was a bit premature. Here's what happened...

After I came back to Australia and wrote my last post in October, I headed back to Papua New Guinea to complete my contract. I returned to Australia early November, had lots of visits and catch ups with friends, but more importantly, a big report to complete to finalise my work (text was complete but the formatting had gone awry). I was down to the last 10 pages and decided, unwisely as it turned out, that I could complete it outside, but as I grabbed my computer bag, I discovered it was unzipped; my laptop slid out and smashed on the tiled floor.

I got the computer tech out and we spent a very long time  trying to recover data from my damaged hard drive without success. Not to worry, I rashly thought to myself, all would be backed up to my external hard drive. Not so, I discovered. So it took almost three weeks to redo the lost work and send off my report. However, that brought us into the Christmas/summer holiday stretch and the multiple visits required from the technician ended up weeks apart. Even now, I am only back to about 90% performance on my new computer - for example, I can't download new photos onto it - but thankfully, I still have the trust old computer I am currently working on, slow as it is.

After 7 months away, my own garden is in a sad state, but I have headed out and about in search of inspiration.

Two weekends ago on the last Sunday in February, I visited an open garden - Taman Air in the southside Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank - where was no shortage of great ideas for the tropical garden.

The main street entrance to Taman Air - the Sunnybank garden of Rene and Carolyn Hundscheidt - flanked by bronze coloured (Aechmea blanchetiana) and burgundy Alcantarea bromeliads

This beautiful potted bromeliad is Aechmea 'Del Mar'; I snapped up one at the plant sales adjoining the garden.

A spirit house with Rhapis palm to the right - a plant I am planning to add to my front garden - Croton to the left, Rhoeo in the foreground, and Brazilian Red Cloak behind..

A pretty miniature bromeliad in spectacular Balinese stone planter.

Beehive ginger

The entry to the residence - great concept but this would be asking for trouble for anyone as clumsy as I am.

A selection of bromeliads, mainly neoregelias.

Lovely blue-flowered water plant

Love the stone and pebble pathway and the red and white caladium (I added to my own collection with a visit to the on-site plant shop).

Selection of Guzmania bromeliads - think I have had all of these at some stage - hopefully they are still there.

Exit/entrance to side street.

I love this heliconia.

The property boundary from the street

Delicate pink frangipani (Plumeria)

Rene can supply all the finishing touches to add Balinese style to any garden. You can check out his website at  And if it you want more tropical inspiration, have a look at my earlier post where I explored the garden of Rene's brother, Dennis here

Saturday, 24 October 2015


I'm back!! Or nearly back. It's so long since I blogged, I have almost forgotten how.  It all started at the end of last year; I thought I had a 6 month overseas contract about to start, but it dragged on and on. Suddenly it was April, and after almost giving up hope, I found myself here with so much to share and no blog access.

I had my first trip home last week and finally got those technical problems sorted. And I'm just about to head back for good.  So... here are a few lots of photographic clues.  Can you guess where I've been?

It's been quite an adventure.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day February 2015

I thought I was on track for Garden Bloggers' Day back in January, but even though I had selected my photos and written a few lines, something went amiss. So here we are, uncharacteristically early for February's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - the 15th of the month being the day garden bloggers all over the world share what is blooming in their garden, courtesy of our wonderful host, Carol, at May Dreams Garden.

I have hung onto some of those January photos, so my selection this month is a consolidation of what has been blooming in my sub-tropical Brisbane garden over January/February - the two hottest and wettest months of our year.

Plants like the Red Spiral Ginger absolutely thrive in the conditions

My 'Wilders White' hibiscus shrub is a bit ungainly after I had to remove its main trunk, when it was damaged at ground level, but it is such a prolific bloomer.

The daylilies haven't been as good as in previous years, but as the garden matures, more of it is thrown into shade, and I worry I have lost some favourites as I have moved them to follow the sun. 

These two are All American Tiger and  Mildred Mitchell - I bought the latter by mistake (instead of Ginny Mitchell) and confused it with Isis Unveiled, which is similarly coloured but not so ruffled. 

Daylily 'Mildred Mitchell'

Daylily 'All American Tiger'

Daylily 'Double Cranberry Ruffles' which varies according to mood just how 'double' it is

'Finish with  Flourish'

'Jordan Verhaert'

'Irving Schulman'

My pentas along the side fence aren't flowering as well as they should - too little light, plus some bug that attacks the buds. (I use some herbicides but worry about pesticides' effect on the good critters). This one is 'Pink Malay'.

A very showy bromeliad bloom - Bilbergia 'Hallelujah'

Visitor on one of the bromeliads

 The back garden  behind the garage is our wild zone. We had a large carpet python and a grumpy possum emerge from here recently - and yes, the possum's mood was definitely due to having his sleep disturbed by the snake.

The big lime leaves to the left belong to the Brazilian Red Cloak, which will flower in winter. There's a red foliaged cordyline, and above, my neighbour's Murraya in full bloom. On the lower right, the red blooms belong to the Firespike, Odontonemea strictum

Only small critters were visiting when I headed out this time.

This little ginger is Globba winitii 'Red Back'. I previously posted another globba, 'Golden Dragon' here, which I fear I may have lost. Because they die down over winter, they can get dug up by mistake, so I have made sure the rest of my collection are all marked with stakes.

You don't need blooms for colour, when you have crotons.

Another ginger, this is the beautiful Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsifola

I can always rely on the Leopard Lilies for interest - whether in bloom

...  or in seed

The Purple Basil never seems to stop flowering.

Here the basil has attracted the attention of the native Blue Banded Bee.

Plumeria pudica - the Hammerhead Frangipani

Salvias are another great favourite with the bees. This is 'Heatwave Sizzle'

This more recent addition is Salvia 'Sierra Coral'

Finally, more of that glorious coral from another of the bromeliads, Aechmea 'Burning Bush'


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