Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two inches in one day

What a difference two inches of rain in one day makes to a garden! Yes, there's a little bit of damage, but some amazingly rapid growth and several new faces popping up makes it worthwhile getting out there early in the day to see the aftermath. With a forecast max of 34°C today, it will turn into a sauna by mid-afternoon, anyway. That's summer in Sydney.

A happy way to greet the day: 52mm of rain in the gauge brings us up to 77mm for the month, and with an average of 78mm for December, we've had our fair share already.

The central cup of the Neoregelia bromeliad runneth over this morning. These little ponds are full of life – little critters swimming around, leaves decaying and violet brom blooms poking their heads up for a look.

The pot of chervil seeds has turned into a lush little forest in the last few days, and after yesterday's downpour it's just about at its peak. Pam's turn to cook tonight, and she likes using chervil. Hopefully...

At last, at last, Coleus Corner is starting to take off. I sowed seeds ages ago and progress has been painfully slow, but a heavenly soaking followed by subtropical heat should see things accelerate.

This is a shot from last year, of course, but this is the effect I'm aiming for again at Coleus Corner.

Not everything looks better after rain. The more sheltered of the two birdbaths is filled with fallen olive tree leaves, and the Willie Wagtails, Silvereyes and Bulbuls which consider this their local watering hole will be most displeased if their attendant (me) fails to clean things up by 9am.

If only you could smell blog postings! The wonderful perfume of frangipani blooms fills the still morning air as I potter about taking photos.

Chillies like to pretend that they like conditions hot and dry, but when young they love a drink, a feed and good going. This is a junior Jalapeno on its way to stardom.

Lemon trees adore lots of rain and lots of food, the greedy, beautiful things. This is my baby 'Eureka' lemon, which is doing well in its second year here.

My only dilemma is to let it fruit or not. I had intended to be firm and say "No, put all your energy into growing big and strong". But when you see these fruit popping out so quickly and so healthily, I don't think I can resist the temptation to let just a couple of fruit mature this summer. They'll look so lovely and cheerfully bright yellow against the glossy green leaves. I think I've just talked myself into it.

This pot of Oakleaf lettuce was doing nothing much a few days back, and look what a constant downpour does for it.

Ornamental flowering ginger plants should look like this at this time of year. It will flower later on in summer, provided the dreaded caterpillars which munched it last year don't show up again.

And here's another leaf from the same flowering ginger plant, munched by the caterpillars of doom. I've been spraying them assiduously with an organic spray that supposedly gets into the caterpillars' guts and ruins their appetites, but rain washes the spray away easily and it needs constant re-application. I can see that I'm up against a formidable adversary here!

Overnight, we've had a spot of bean racing going on in a pot. Just to see what they do, I planted three dwarf bush bean seeds in a pot, with the intention of culling the two slowest-growing seedlings and leaving one to grow on to maturity. One of the beans is a no-show so far, the other is barely with it, and I think we have a winner over at the back of the pot. But I'll wait another week before I decide.

I was a bit worried what two inches of rain would do to the tomatoes, but they seem fine. I'm using budding tape to hold the tomato plants to the stakes, and it's wonderful stuff, and looks nice in the early morning rain, too,

Silver beet never lets you down for a photo opportunity on a damp morning.

I find succulents don't mind a drink, followed by a roaring hot day, and that's what they'll get by this afternoon.

All over the garden the sugar cane mulch is sodden and a couple of shades darker than usual. This groundcover Zinnia angustifolia enjoyed yesterday it seems.

Sky's clearing, and the winds are swinging around towards the north-west. That's where the hot interior of Australia lies, and temperatures always race up into the 30s and sometimes beyond in summer, when the cranky, hot nor-westers blow in.

So, after two inches of rain yesterday and a blast of subtropical heat today, the rapid growth of spring and early summer belts along at a hectic pace here in Amateur Land. I think I might leave the garden to steam slowly in the heat by itself today, and wait until tomorrow, when the forecast is for a lovely day in the mid 20s, to do my next spot of gardening.


joco said...

Hiya Jamie,

I needed to see a bit of that fresh (June-)green. In the depth of Winter in the UK there is not a lot of joy outdoors.

Tiny purple tulips (brom blooms??) in the center of your Bromeliad. Or that is what it looks like enlarged. Lovely red.

And the before and after Coleus is interesting.

The upmarket bird bath looks enhanced by the fallen leaves, at least for a little while.
Nice post. Have a happy (and rainy?) Xmas time.

patientgardener said...

I smiled when I saw your rain meter - we have had so much rain here in the last 24 hours if I had one of those it would be full! My patio is flooded again and the back lawn (if you can call it that) is so sodden I nearly fell over when I went to feed the birds!

I liked your collection of succulents - I am beginning to get a similar collection but my pots are all spread around, I think I might collect them together for a better effect like yours.

Jamie said...

Re the bromeliads, yes, the purple and white 'tulips' are the bromeliad's blooms. The leaves on this Neoregelia are usually green, but during flowering and reproduction the leaves around the zone of the central cup turn vivid red.