Sunday, 24 February 2013

Tropical paradise

The rain has stopped for the moment. There are few patches of blue, but I don't think they will last. Much more 'weather' is on its way to us here in Brisbane. We are enjoying a gentle start to our Sunday morning here at Casa Bella. All I have managed so far is to read the Sunday newspaper and feed the pups.

Miss Bella has had a big operation on her cruciat ligament, and I am under orders from the vet to keep her quiet for the next 8 weeks(!), which is going to prove challenging. So, although I read that Dennis Hundscheidt's spectacular tropical garden was open to the public today, I reluctantly decided to give it a miss this year on account of the weather and the need to keep an eye on the invalid.

Luckily, I have a stash of photos from a previous visit. I never get sick of looking at them. There is just so much inspiration in what has been described as Australia's best tropical garden. What I particularly love is how beautifully 'accessories', in the form of garden furniture, statues and water features, are incorporated into the garden.

Hope you enjoy this pictorial tour.

Wonderful plant selection including beehive ginger, purple heart, bromeliads, lotus-filled pot and  parrots beak heliconia.

Water lettuce Pistia stratiotes filled pond with variegated costus and bromeliads

Bromeliad in fabulous pot with beehive gingers to the left 

So many different textures in the pathways - stepping stones, gravel, timber, riverstones

Love the colour palette and plant selection here: Mauritian hemp, purple heart, crotons, cordylines, large flowering bromeliad and bismarkia palm.

The red-flowering shrub just right of centre is Brazilian Red Cloak

Cordyline, croton and coleus (in flower) in the background with bromeliads in bed of rhoeo

Love the pop of the turquoise pot mirroring the pool. The tall variegated plant is Song of India Dracaena reflexa

The variegated plant in the centre is a Schefflera, possibly arboricola, with rhoeo border.

Hope you agree that this is a truly inspirational garden. In fact, I bought a Schefflera (pictured above) a week or so back and hadn't got around to planting it. I think I'll head straight out before the rain returns!

And the patient?

She's doing just fine.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day February 2013

One of the joys that follows decent rain here is Brisbane is the flush of flowers on the Murraya or Mock Orange and the glorious perfume that accompanies it.

I have a murraya hedge near the front door, but because it is regularly clipped the blooms are sparse. Not so the bush near my driveway! I only occasionally trim it back when it obscures too much of my vision as I reverse out of the driveway and it rewards me with a mass of blooms.

As you can see above, the poinciana is still flowering.

There are two kinds of plumeria flowering at the moment. The unscented Hammerhead frangipani Plumeria pudica

and the Evergreen frangipani Plumeria obtusa

It's quite a sensory overload of a evening with the murraya, frangipani and night-scented jessamine, which I haven't photographed, all in competion for the most heavenly scent.

The bromeliad above is Achmea 'Burning Bush' is just coming into flower, as is the ixora 'Pink Malay'

This beautiful flower is a Globba 'Red Back', a member of the ginger family, and I have another small golden globba that should be in bloom in time for next bloom day.

Firespike Odontonemea strictum

The daylilies are slowly coming to an end but have put on a fine show.

'Spacecoast Whiteout'

'Ash Rosie'

'Mr Lucky'

'Just A Tease'

I was thrilled to see my waterlily has made a recovery after a major decline last year. Unfortunately, I often miss the flowers because they haven't come out when I duck down early to feed the goldfish and have closed up again by the time I'm home from work.

I hadn't realised these two bromeliads were related until I noticed the similarity in the flowers.

This lovely canna is a very welcome refugee from my neighbour's yard.

Finally, along the driveway all the spider lilies Hymenocallis littoralis are out and looking spectacular.

That's the last garden blogger's bloom day for our summer here  in Australia. I'm hoping to order a few spring bulbs later today and am eagerly anticipating the arrival of blooms on dahlias.  To see more of what is blooming in gardens around the world, visit Carole at May Dreams Gardens.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Weekend rambling

As I reported in my last post, I headed down to visit my brother Tony and his family over the weekend. My eldest niece Bethany is just about to head back to Uni in New Zealand, and Number Two niece Eliza is starting Uni in Newcastle, so it was a good chance for a family catch-up.

Once I have caught up with all the family's news and toured the garden, it has become a bit of a ritual for Tony and me to head to the beach early on Sunday morning with the dogs, while the rest of the household  (four teenagers) sleeps in, and my sister-in-law Leanne enjoys some well deserved peace and quiet.

We generally head for Flat Rock, which I have posted previously here, but yesterday we made our way a little further north to Sharpe's Beach and walked over the headland towards Lennox Head, about 20 km south of Byron Bay. We were a bit later than usual which made for a fairly hot walk, but we were more than rewarded by the stunning views.

Looking south to our starting point, the carpark at Sharpe's Beach, Ballina

Heading north

Tony with Goody, and Miss B at our first stop under the pandanas.

Enjoying the shade

The official photographer is always lagging behind.

Skennar's Head

'Mush, Bella and Onslow!'

A pandanus's precarious grip on the cliff face

Through the banksias - lots of branches down after the recent storm

Banksia seed heads

Looking towards Lennox Head

'But Mum, only mad dogs go out in the midday sun!'

Heading back!
View of Sharpe's Beach towards Flat Rock

After our walk, it was time to head home to Brisbane, but I couldn't resist one little diversion... a pie at the Humble Pie headquarters in Billinudgel. I was a bit unadventurous, settling on a chunky beef pie and tempted by a strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake, but the new Chicken, Chilli and Mango pie is on my list for next time. Nor could I resist a quick drive-through the little town of Billinudgel and a short drive into the surrounding countryside before heading back to the highway.

Hoop pine  and grazing cattle just outside Billinudgel

Local stream

The local 'pub' - looks like a good spot for lunch

Much as I love getting home, it is always wonderful to have the chance to have a bit of wander or Sunday drive through such beautiful countryside. 


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