Monday, 28 January 2013

Of drought and flooding rain...

It is the ultimate cliche to describe Australia as a land of contrasts, but events over the past few weeks have graphically illustrated just how appropriate the description is.

When I last posted on January 15 for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, many Australian communities were battling terrible bushfires. Here in Brisbane, on a few evenings there was a hint of smoke in the air and a dim pink glow in the evening from fires on Bribie Island.

As recently as a week ago, I was watering the garden regularly trying to keep the plants alive in searing heat. Our wet season was late, and although we'd had a couple of storms that had looked ominous, like the one below from late December, they produced little rain.

But over this long weekend when we traditionally celebrate Australia Day, the heavens opened. The wind and rain was relentless, life and death battles ensued, and as I type, there are still people on rooftops awaiting rescue. It brought to mind Dorothea MacKellar's description of a 'wilful, lavish land' and stanzas from her poem, 'My Country', one of the most loved in Australia:

I love a sunburnt country, 
A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 
I love her far horizons, 
I love her jewel-sea, 
Her beauty and her terror 
The wide brown land for me! 

Core of my heart, my country! 
Her pitiless blue sky, 
When, sick at heart, around us 
We see the cattle die 
But then the grey clouds gather, 
And we can bless again 
The drumming of an army, 
The steady soaking rain. 

Core of my heart, my country! 
Land of the rainbow gold, 
For flood and fire and famine 
She pays us back threefold. 
Over the thirsty paddocks, 
Watch, after many days, 
The filmy veil of greenness 
That thickens as we gaze. * 

Once again, here at Casa Bella, we were blessed. No damage, no flooding, just a tiny leak where I think the wind has forced water under the tiles. We just hunkered down till it started to settle this afternoon. A tree came down opposite my driveway, and I just saw a few of the neighbours head over with a chainsaw to remove it. (I optimistically headed out in the pouring rain late yesterday to try to drag it to the side before it got dark, but to no avail. I apparently need to eat more spinach.)

The water is finally starting to drain away in the backyard, the only really level ground here, but for a while it looked like the Amazon in miniature.

Even though some of the top-heavy trees have toppled when the soil has become too soft to hold them, and there is shredded foliage and twigs everywhere, most of the garden is undamaged, and some of the most delicate and fragile blooms remain.

Poinciana flowers and the strappy foliage of the Ponytail Palm in the pool.


Chive flower

Daylily 'Jordan Verhaert'

Daylily 'Douglas Lycett'

Daylily 'Double Cranberry Ruffles'

Frangipani Plumeria Obtusa

This little spider is hunkered down in the cosmos.

Of course, there are those who take it all in their stride!

For many the worst is yet to come. Many of the rivers have yet to peak, and then the clean-up must begin for inundated homes and businesses. What remains of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald is heading south to wreak havoc on New South Wales. Our thoughts are with all those in its path or already affected. 

* You can read all of the poem 'My Country' here.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day January 2013

January marks midsummer in Australia, and although we have had a week or so of heatwave conditions recently and the garden is a little dry, it is full of colour for the first Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for 2013.

This was the first year I planted scabious in the garden, and they have been a great success. I sowed the seeds directly into the garden, and it seems that nearly every seed germinated. I will definitely be planting them again next year.

I may have been away for their Spring flush, but the daylilies have continued to brighten the garden with repeat blooms.

'Kent's Favourite Two'

One of my absolute favourites 'Percival James'

Another favourite 'Donna Mead'

'Passion for Life'

'Passion for Life' again

'Isis Unveiled'

A badly focussed photo of the very beautiful 'Jordan Verhaert'

Alongside the daylilies in the front garden, the white ixora 'Kampon's Pride' is a mass of blooms for such a young plant.

The Leopard Lily has self-seeded and sprung up in a few new places but is always a welcome sight.

And the Variegated Alstomeria is re-establishing itself after taking a bit of a pounding while I was away.

One of the showiest bromeliads in flower.

Here is a view of the front garden at the moment, absolutely dominated by the Poinciana Delonix regia.

The white flowers to the right of the poinciana belong to the Hammerhead Frangipani Plumeria pudica.

Elsewhere in the garden, tropical foliage provides almost as much colour as the flowers. Among the more spectacular are the Elephant Ears or Caladiums, a tropical perennial. I am a recent addition to the ranks of their admirers. In just a month I have expanded my 'collection' from two to ten. The second photo is of four new plants I picked up at the local markets.

For December Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, I was very proud to report that my Yucca was in flower for the first time. If you were thinking it couldn't get any more exciting than that, you are wrong. Just a week or two back, I was gazing vaguely in the direction of the Ponytail Palm Beaucarnea recurvata when I realised it too had come into bud for the first time since I moved here in 2005.

Here are a few photos tracking its progress.


I do love my garden; there's always something new popping up and demanding my attention.

To visit more gardens around the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme on the 15th of each month.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...