10 July 2010

A stormy winter evening

Just a few hours ago, I walked around the garden and snapped a few shots in the late afternoon light – made more dramatic by a stormy sky presaging a winter storm. And now the rain as started. So the afternoon sky wasn't lying. And once again, the tanks and pool will be overflowing in a season when we are usually using water sparingly, and thinking about topping up the pool. But here are a few things I came across in the garden today.

This poolside hibiscus (Bruceii) refuses to accept it's the end of the season. It keeps flowering and flowering. But next week when I get back down to that area to finish pruning the vegetation around the pool (I'm about halfway done that job), I'll be cutting back these 2-metre tall branches to encourage a bushier habit next summer. It's such a shame these gorgeous flowers don't survive as cut flowers. But I can at least float a few of them in a bowl of water when I chop back the plant. They're too splendid to go immediately to the compost.

Another bit of dramatic colour against the evening sky is this bougainvillea (in spite of its orange to apricot colouring, it is actually called Californian gold). I trimmed the plant recently, and most of it is securely attached to a pergola. But this shoot stubbornly pushes up toward the winter sun.

Earlier in the day I had photographed these snow white flowers of one of my favourite trees. They are ti-tree blooms, dripping with nectar. I don't know the precise variety because the tree was already here when we bought the house 15 years ago. The flowers have just opened in the last day or two. I expect we'll start to hear the humming of swarms of bees that usually gather nectar right alongside the parrots that feed high up in the tree's canopy, which you can see below.

As a matter of fact, there appears to be a beehive at the very top of the tree. I think about it every time I walk up the driveway, right under this spot. I hope it never comes crashing down!

Pink is a prominent colour in my winter garden. Many of the bushes I trimmed during the annual winter pruning are just now sending out new growth, which is often tinged pink. Below left is one of the Brazilian cherries, and in the foreground below the trimmed branches of Rhaphiolepis 'Apple Blossom' are just beginning to flower. This is not really an apple, of course – we can't grow apples or pears here – but the blooms are very like apple blossom.

Two types of produce caught my eye today. First, I picked up the last three little jap pumpkins. These had been left on the ground after I finished cutting out all the two-year-old vines that had taken over one of the vegetable beds and spread up onto the hill above, among the bananas. In the last couple of weeks we've enjoyed two more pumpkins – in a pumpkin and leek soup, in a particularly successful pie and roasted in the pan with a big leg of lamb.

 And then there are the grapefruit! They're big, they're numerous and they're almost ready! In just a few days, I'm sure, we'll be eating the first ones. This is the best crop we've ever had, and if the flavour lives up to the looks, we'll be starting our breakfasts with grapefruit for the next month or more.

Just as I was about to go back indoors, I looked up toward the western sky, where the gathering storm clouds were putting on quite a show in front of the setting sun.

To my surprise, I spotted a new home going up on the top of a hill to the west. You can hardly see it on the horizon, but what a fabulous view there would be from up there. I'll have to get my field glasses out tomorrow for a closer look.


Cadi said...

I love the pictures of your garden. Hard to believe they are winter pictures!

Chartreuse said...

Yes, Cadi, I still find my Qld garden pretty incredible! After growing up in MA and then living for many years in Tasmania (with a climate not unlike NZ's), coping with a subtropical garden is quite daunting. In some ways, this garden doesn't need me as much as, say, my Tassie garden did. Its own life force is truly amazing. I'll be posting a photo of my winter weed pile soon. It's about the size of half my entire backyard in Tasmania.

Stafford Ray said...

What a wonderful eye for the positive you have! Regards to A!

Chartreuse said...

Gosh SR, no one's ever accused me of that before!

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.