Monday, 27 October 2014

Tropical garden

Just some more photos from the garden today.

The big mango tree at the driveway is loaded with baby green mangos. That is a very steep driveway actually. Scale can be deceptive when used to plants like the birds nest fern as seen in NZ, maybe the size of a dinner plate, this one has grown to the size of a kid's paddling pool.

 Yesterday there was a dead baby black snake just by the car. It had been freshly killed, in fact while I was having breakfast because it wan't there when I came back from my walk. I'd love to know how it died. Is there a nest of them? Since I have been here there have been three snakeskins - all of them outside my bedroom - yes, there are screens on all the windows. This would be a python maybe 2 metres in length.

I see quite a few of the beautiful iridescent blue Ulysses butterflies flashing by. This is not as stunning as the Ulysses, but was obligingly still.

The butterfly matches these day lilies.

 A bare twig in a pot has burst out into brilliant colour in the last week.

 Another example of something that in another climate would be an indoor plant.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Garden tour

This morning a bit of a tour for you, of the garden that Frances Boyd has created at their home in Freshwater. I am really enjoying staying here while they are in Madrid. Watering is a chore that I am only too happy to do. Their block is high up the hill (though there are two blocks higher up, one was cleared last week ready for building soon). So here is the view from the verandah.

Last night there was smoke from bushfires burning over on the other side of the inlet, hence the pink sky.

This morning it is lovely and clear and I can see the Coral Sea. That's Earl Hill in the background, at Trinity Beach.
The canefields across this area are set to be changed dramatically if the Aquis development goes ahead. A Chinese developer has well-developed plans for a hotel-casino complex that is said to cost $8 trillion. It would impact significantly on this view, creating 8 hotels and 2 casinos, theatres and an aquarium.

But back to the garden....

Bromeliads. Lots of them. Growing up palm trees and in pots, clinging to rocks and branches.

Beautiful and bizarre plants. Frances has lots of Tillandsia, too, more on these air plants later. Moving on to the gingers. A bare patch of hillside has burst out with pink flowers in the last few weeks.

This is a native turmeric, brought back from Cape York by Ian, and now happily thriving here. I recognised it from one of the exquisite paintings in the current exhibition at the Regional Gallery. It is a wonderful exhibition called Capturing Flora: A passion for the Exotick.

And this is a ginger flower. You can buy these from a stall at Rusty's market, along with equally huge and colourful heliconias. You need to have HUGE vases when you live in Cairns. Frances has red heliconias, they are just coming out, I picked some this morning for the kitchen bench. Though when you look out onto such a lovely garden, you don't really need flowers inside.

The other flower that has just emerged is the amaryllis. These cheer up my day - how could they not?
Aren't they stunning?

The garden is mostly foliage actually, but I am having trouble getting good photos. So here's another plant that is flowering at the moment. And there are paw paws, but I found I need to be quick to beat the birds or bats. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

With the Lynches in Cairns

 These photos are all taken on my phone, and I have not worked out how to get the most out of it. Anyway, here are Eva and Annie Jean on the boardwalk at the Botanic Gardens in Cairns.

In my last post I had a photo of Rachel and the girls at the zoo in Auckland. A couple of weeks later here we are again, this time exploring Cairns. They had booked a holiday to Port Douglas before I knew I was going to be here. So I have a lovely time taking them to a few of my favorite places.
The pelicans on the saltwater lake at the Gardens were a great hit with the girls.

I joined the holiday-makers on their reef trip. This was my first visit to Low Isles, off Port Douglas. Quicksilver do a great job and we were lucky with the weather.

That's the Quicksilver boat at anchor. They run a little shuttle to and from the island and provide glass bottom boat trips for those who can't go snorkelling.