Australia · clouds · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · rain · seasons · summer · sunrise · Tweed Valley

Monday Morning Mist

This morning I awoke to the most beautiful sight in the valley.

After another warm day yesterday, we had an unexpected downpour of rain late last night, nothing major, but it seems the moisture combined with the heat was enough to give the valley an “other worldly” appearance this morning.

While I was outside admiring the valley mist in the early morning light, a female Pee Wee came by. I have four regular Pee Wee visitors these days – two males and two females.

Even though drizzly rain continued all morning, there was something special about the light today. I played around taking photos for a while from my front patio, and one of my favourites was of my white miniature rose. A couple of weeks ago, the plant looked a tad frazzled, but since the days have been cooler, it seems to have had a new surge in growth.

Like the miniature rose bush, the cooler and calmer summer’s days we’ve had recently have given my Tibouchina tree a new lease on life too.

This summer, I am basking in the glory of cooler-than-usual days and nights, which have allowed me to spend more time in the garden than usual this summer. If every summer could be this agreeable, I’d be a very happy all-year-round gardener. 🙂

Australia · flowers · Mount Warning · summer · Tweed Valley

A hot day in the garden – and some unexpected finds!

I spent the whole day in the garden, weeding and digging. It was a fairly warm day too, so I had plenty of water to drink as I worked, but still feel rather exhausted tonight.

Today’s photo of Mount Warning was taken right down the back, at the end of my garden. Just beyond our rear boundary, the land drops away fairly sharply down into the valley, so it’s a great place to take an expansive photo, especially on a clear day like today.

We had a rather interesting find just outside our side fence today, on a strip of Crown Land that runs beside our side boundary. Amid weeds, grass and clover, these tiny plants were growing. I can’t think for the life of me what they are called … can anyone identify this plant?

Also in the same area, I found a stray patch of petunias. I don’t know how long they have been growing there, but I inagine they have been enjoying our heavy summer rainfall, and have been flourishing along with the weeds!

Australia · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · palm trees · photography · quotes · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Nature Journaling

 

Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend stretches of time just searching and dreaming. ~~ Edward O. Wilson.

My mind is not wired for science, and consequently the anotomical detail of plants has me bewildered. I’m more of a searcher and dreamer as I wander around my garden, taking photos, and I even feel completely comfortable if anyone wishes to regard me as an untutored savage. My garden brings me so much joy, and I love experimenting, wondering if plants will grow, and how they will grow if they survive my sometimes erratic subtropical climate. Will the new plant reach or exceed the suggested height on the label? Will they survive our dry, mild winters, or get ‘wet feet’ during our rainy season, summer?

Today when I walked around one of the first areas we established in the garden twenty-six years ago, admiring the plants we planted back then that have survived – and flourished – throughout the test of time and seasons, I realised just how little I know about these plants. The pink flower is a hibiscus, but what variety of hibiscus? I found plenty of weathered hibiscus flowers on the hedge, but do they always develop new buds in January? Perhaps the wind and rain, which has many of the flowers looking battle-weary, has encouraged the plants to bloom again. I’m not sure.

I must document these changes I see in my garden, for future reference. I noticed today that the western end of the hibiscus hedge still has a few unblemished flowers left. It is also on the western end – an area protected by a solid fence nearby – where more new buds are growing.

This is the eastern end, an area more exposed to the elements. Here I found unidentifiable dried debris, littered with fallen frangipani flowers, and even a small branch broken off the frangipani tree. This discovery led me to wondering if I will see a second burst of flowers blooming on the frangipani before the cooler weather arrives, seeing as the tree lost most of its flowers during the recent powerful gusty winds we had? So many questions …

My photos often feature the palm trees we planted many years ago as tiny saplings. Now their massive leaves tower above me when I stand beside the hibiscus hedge. I couldn’t tell anyone what variety of palms they are. I can safely say, however, that when the palms grow seeds, I see birds stopping by briefly each day to check the seeds. I assume the birds are waiting for the seeds to ripen, because eventually I see flocks of birds excitedly clamouring over one another, hopping from bunch to bunch, until they find seeds to their taste.

These days, when I plant something new, I try to remember to make a note of the name of the plant. I have contemplated the idea of nature journaling for several years, but I always hesitate at the thought of drawing pictures of my finds in the garden. Is my drawing ability up to scratch? I used to love drawing, but haven’t drawn anything since … I can’t remember when.

Maybe I could start by drawing something easy, like this plant that has sprouted out of a low rock retaining wall amid the moss. I wonder can anyone identify it for me? Is it a spaghorn? There are a few growing along the wall, and I wonder how big it will grow?

Before I went down the garden, I closed the gate on Brontë and Forrest, but not the gate Forrest is peeking at me through! That naughty dog must have climbed the chainwire fence near to the house, run along the outside of our garden and up through the broken fence at the bottom of our garden. The gate she is behind in the photo leads to the rear boundary of our yard, where the orchard is. She certainly knows how to get my attention, that girl!

I love looking across the valley from the lower end of our garden towards Mount Warning. Today the weather cleared again, and if we don’t get any rain overnight we will mow the lawns tomorrow morning. I told husband I will slash the edges while he does the main mowing with the ride-on mower. Even if my gardening chores take up all my time and I don’t have time to take photos, I have plenty more to share from today’s garden walk. 🙂

Australia · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · native Australian plants · rain · summer · Tweed Valley

More rain …

When the rain bucketed down at 7am this morning, there was no sign of Mount Warning. Ignoring the inclement weather, two little Magpie Larks, or Pee Wees as they are affectionately called in Australia, arrived first for breakfast at my back door.

The first photo is a little lady pee wee, with verticle lines of black feathers through both eyes, and white around her beak.

Nearby, another pee wee waited, a male, with a horizontal black “mask” across his eyes, and more black feathers around his beak than his little lady friend. My photos would have been clearer if it wasn’t for the dreary weather, but with such shy flitting birds, I take what I can get.

Later in the afternoon, the mountain appeared from behind the veil of clouds which had hidden it all day.

For days now, I have been trying to take a photo of the new Lilly pilly flowers appearing on some of my potted plants. They will eventually form a hedge in the garden, but for now, I am keeping them near to the house where they can be watered every day – manually, with a hose, (was the plan) although I have rarely used the hose this summer due to our excessive rainfall! Lilly pillys are usually very hotogenic flowers, except on dull days, apparently. I will persevere though. They are very pretty Australian natives and I would like to document their growth more extensively, besides showing off their beauty. 🙂