Australia · autumn · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · kitchen renovation · Mount Warning · Tweed Valley

Finding new growth in a windblown garden.

Today the temperature is suppose to have reached 26 degrees C. but I don’t think it quite reached that high. Today has felt like autumn is in the air, warmish, but with just a touch of cool air about. And rain. We had a few showers during the day, and during the last day we have had three-and-a-half-inches of rain, according to husband’s rain guage.

Our frangipani trees are losing their leaves early this year. Constant blustery winds and a cooler than usual summer has stripped many flowers off plants and leaves from trees. I noticed a couple of pretty new blooms around the garden today though.

Indoors, more progress is being made on the kitchen renovation. The tilers are here tonight, having double-booked and arriving late in the day. They asked if we minded them staying, and in the interests of having our kitchen finished, of course we agreed they could. Husband has gone out to find some sort of takeaway food for dinner tonight. I’ve been locked away in my office for most of the day, trying to listen to this week’s uni lectures, but not getting far. The benchtop men were here this morning too, finishing of their part of the klitchen.

Have I mentioned I’m looking forward to having my kitchen back?


Australia · birds · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Plenty of Ibis – but no mountain

One day during the week, when I spotted an Ibis in the front garden, I soon discovered it was not alone. There were ten! I kid you not, I counted ten of these massive birds pecking through the overgrown grass, which, when it is dry enough to mow, we like to call our lawn.

Today I saw just four Ibis peck, peck, pecking away. Most people call these birds ‘Bin-Chickens’ – they are scavengers who will eat just about anything edible.

So as I wouldn’t frighten them away, I took my camera, ever so quietly, out the back door, snuck around to the side of the house, and zoomed in on them. It didn’t take long for their keen hearing to pick up on the fact that they were being watched, so they headed up the driveway to the road, undoubtedly searching for longer, greener pastures.

While taking photos of the Ibis, it occurred to me that I rarely take photos of a whole section of my garden. I usually – hmm, perhaps always – zoom in on the beauty of each individual flowering plant. For a change, today I took a photo of the garden beside my driveway. In this photo, I see New South Wales Christmas Bush, Gerberas, white Gaura, (lots of Gaura!) Duranta, Hydrangea, white and purple Buddleia, Port Wine Magnolia, lilac Daisies, and Roses. I do have the (unfair) advantage of knowing my garden though! And it goes against the grain not to show a close up of individual plants, so I won’t show full garden photos often – I promise. 😉

We had hot, dry weather today, and cloud so low that Mount Warning didn’t have a hope of making an appearance. The crazy-cloud patterns continued, hiding the setting sun as well. The weather has been so changable lately.

I wonder what tomorrow’s weather will bring …

Australia · clouds · colours · flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · spring · subtropical weather · sunset · Tweed Valley

A Week of Flowers ~ Day 6

Cathy’s Week of Flowers at Words and Herbs is going way too fast. Here we are at Day 6 already! What is it they say … time goes fast when you’re having fun? This week certainly is fun. 🙂

Last year, I started choosing more drought tolerent plants for my garden. One of the first plants I chose was Gaura, which have adapted well to my subtropical garden which is rich in volcanic clay loam soil. I love the dainty flowers – and so do the bees! – so I planted more Gauras early this spring. This morning when I took these photos, my flower garden was abuzz with activity!

Some Daisies (but not all) are happy in my garden as well, and cope very well with the summer heat. Several years ago I planted this pretty lilac variety, and every once in a while I give them a harsh cutting back, usually when they try to take over the garden bed! In August, when this photo was taken, I had a patch of daisies about three metres long by two metres deep, and they looked just beautiful in full bloom! After the flowers had seen better days, I pulled out a few wayward runners and dead-headed the remaining plants. Within a week or two I expect to see the plants blooming profusely again.

My bottlebrush (Callistemon) is one of the first shrubs I planted in my garden after we built our house over 26 years ago, and it is still going strong. Callistemon is endemic to Australia, and a favourite with our small native honey-eating birds. This photo was taken in August as well, when the garden was springing to life after a brief winter rest.

Today the weather has been pleasantly warm and sunny, and in the early part of the day Mount Warning – the Cloud Catcher – lived up to its Indigenous name by “catching” a passing cloud.

Tonight, the darkening view across the valley, complete with orange sunset sky, looked equally as stunning.

Australia · butterflies · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · photography · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

Another Garden Wander

Just this one strip of mist lay in the valley this morning. The mountain sits to the south-west of the back of my house, and directly to the south the valley looked completely clear and sparkling green. We had rain overnight, hence the vivid greenery. I didn’t take any more photos today, because the clouds rolled in and we have rain again. It’s just as well I took some photos around my front garden yesterday.

I think I first saw Queen Anne’s Lace on my blogging friend Robin’s old blog, Bogs of Ohio. Robin started a new blog when she moved from Ohio in 2013. Gosh was it that long ago? Well, after all these years I’ve finally planted some Queen Anne’s Lace, which I’m sure Robin told me can get out of hand if I don’t keep an eye on it. It’s looking very pretty and well contained right now.

This white Buddleia is less than a year old and already it is about a meter tall and covered in flowers. The flowers are supposed to attract bees and butterflies, and as you can see, it is doing well in the butterfly department. At first I thought this could be a cabbage moth, but it’s actually a Female Brimstone.

A little Noisy Miner dropped by to say hello during my wandering around the garden. I’m sure it had something in its beak, but it didn’t sit long enough for me to see what it was. We’ve hung the little bird dishes on the chain wire fence for some Eastern Rosellas that we often see on the fence where the Miner is sitting, with some seed and water in. I think they may have a nest nearby.

I still don’t know what this plant is called, but it’s covered in pretty white flowers. It’s been in flower for a few weeks now and the flowers are growing bigger and more prolific every week.

The daisies are growing well too! I love this lilac colour in the garden.

The flowers on the Callistemon tree, or Bottle Brush as we like to call it, are maturing well, much to the delight of the birds. We planted this tree as a tiny plant about twenty-five years ago and now we have to trim the top back every year to keep it from growing too tall and hitting the gutters of the house.

My Spanish Moss is very special to me. My mum gave me this, and she’s been gone for twenty-seven years now. Over the years I have started up new collections of the plant by draping it over tree branches, but this one is the original. It’s crowed by some of my mother-in-law’s orchid plants at the moment! To the right, one of my Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, or Brunfelsia, shrubs is covered in flowers too. That’s another plant I have to prune to keep control of, as it grows so vigorously in our subtropical climate.

I’m so proud of my potted Fuchsia! It is thriving just now on my front veranda and the flowers look incredibly healthy. I think it enjoys the drink of seaweed solution I feed it every fortnight.

And finally, this is the lavender that I didn’t think would survive. It’s planted under a tree near the front boundary of my garden and was over-run with weeds up until two weekends ago when I tidied the area. Since then, it has burst into flower again! I think it could be Italian Lavender, but I’m not one-hundred percent sure.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I plan on spending the day in the garden. There’s a bit more weeding to do, some pruning to finish before summer arrives, a vegetable garden to organise, and a few new plants that arrived by mail order that I need to get planted. 🙂

Australia · Changes · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · new beginnings · photography · seasons · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

New Beginnings

Daisy buds.

Today is the first official day of spring in Australia. Everywhere I look on the internet I see “Spring Has Sprung!” talk, yet in my subtropical area of the country I have hardly seen the sun at all today.


The temperature today reached 21 degrees Celsius, so 5 degrees lower than yesterday. I know the heat will return though, so I’m happy to enjoy the cooler weather while it’s here – first day of spring or not!


During the past week I have noticed buds springing from winter-dormant plants all over the garden. I’ve taken several photos and thought today would be the ideal day to share them. That plan has worked out well, as even though I have made a commitment to share a photo of the changing view of Mount Warning each day, I haven’t seen the mountain today! The valley has remained hidden by a layer of misty haze, so hardly inspires an image of the perfect spring day. This is how the mountain, or lack thereof, looks today. It just doesn’t seem right to post a dismal photo today of all days!


During the last few weeks I have planted a few new plants in my garden. The pretty pink tibouchina flower, above, is the first flower on one of my new plants. It’s only about eighteen inches in height now, but it will eventually become a small tree. Can you imaging the beautiful sight of a tree covered in these flowers?

White Puffs

“White Puffs” is not the official name of this flower, it’s the name I have given to a plant I can’t recall the name of! The flowers are so delicate and pretty, and so photogenic that they need to be shared.

Rose bud

My roses are growing incredibly well this year, and the season has only just begun! I am really looking forward to seeing more of my rose bushes in bloom over the next few weeks and I will be sure to take plenty of photos to share. My husband sneezes easily when around fragrant flowers, but even he loves the roses. He draws the line at having jasmine in the garden though. In the early years of our marriage I planted a beautiful jasmine which grew and flowered prolifically over our front patio. I loved the scent and would go into the garden especially to take deep breaths of the gorgeous fragrance! My husband spent the whole jasmine flowering season sneezing. :/


I absolutely adore fuchsias! My subtropical climate, however, is not kind to these beauties when planted out in the garden during summer. The solution? I have a fuchsia in a large pot on my front veranda, where it gets just the right amount of morning sun and is shaded and protected from the harsh midday and afternoon sun during the hottest days of summer. This lovely plant has now survived two subtropical summers, and this year has sprouted more new buds than ever before.

Port wine magnolia

Port wine magnolia is another favourite and grows incredibly well in my climate. A few of the buds on the tree near my front door have popped open now, and the fragrance at dusk is amazing! Surprisingly, the fragrance doesn’t bother my husband, well, not too much anyway. 😉

Budding hydrangea

Call me old fashioned – many have! – but to me, a garden just isn’t homely enough without a hydrangea plant or two. During summer I water the hydrangeas every day, remove leaves looking anything but pristine perfection immediately (to prevent any possibility of disease) and prune the old flowers to promote a longer flowering season. I also feed my hydrangeas, as well as several other flowering plants, with a regular dose of seaweed solution which I find improves the health of all plants, either decorative or edible. The start of my first hydrangea bloom only appeared a couple of days ago and I’m keeping a close eye on it to watch its development.

Prince of Orange

The Prince of Orange (Ixora) is another plant which thrives in the subtropics. The buds have just begun and I expect any day now to see the lovely tiny segments open up in full bloom.

Over the years it’s been a lot of trial an error in my subtropical garden. While there are less “errors” these days, it’s still a “trial” every time I introduce a new variety of plant. It is so rewarding to see so many of my old faithfuls, as well as my new plants, all in bloom even before spring begins this year. 🙂