Changing seasons : December 2018…

It’s mid summer, the garden is suffering, hot, tropical winds gusting in from the north stripping all the moisture from the soil. Only a mere 7mm of rain has fallen at the beginning of this month. That brought scant relief to the parched earth. The plants droop and suffer in the midday heat under a relentless december 021_4000x3000

The vulnerable annuals and perennials, that I carefully nurtured from seeds or seedlings, bravely flower on. I lovingly water them every evening. garden december 014_4000x3000

But the tropical plants rejoice in this climate, the Poinciana brings cheer to my heart as it bursts forth in an exuberant display of vibrant red. garden december 004_4000x3000

While the beautiful, multi-coloured frangipani, spreads it’s delightful sweet perfume into the air.

The structural, tropical Heliconia rejoices in the hot, humid climate of this sub-tropical area.

garden december 001_3000x4000

The ever reliable bromeliads fill all the spare corners. garden december 011_4000x3000 But all that changes in the middle of the month when tropical cyclone Owen rears its destructive head in the Gulf of Carpentaria off the Northern coast of Australia. It swung west, then changed direction and came east.  The “very destructive and severe” cyclone continued to increase in strength as it headed back towards Queensland, promising to deliver a deluge in its wake. It devastated the far north then slowly crept south along the coast heading our way.

At the same time a vicious Sydney hailstorm has been described as a “catastrophe” after waves of rapidly moving cells lashed hundreds of kilometres of New South Wales coastline with heavy rain and wild weather.

Multiple storm fronts converged on the Hunter Valley, Wollongong and Sydney on Thursday afternoon, prompting a severe weather warning from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Tennis ball-sized hail smashed homes and cars in Sydney’s west while golf ball-sized stones battered the city’s inner suburbs an hour later, at 6pm.

Windshields had been smashed, roofs damaged and both cars and homes impacted by flash flooding. (see more here)

This storm cell was heading north and we were in the path of both these weather systems. They were predicted to hit us from both directions.

Owen was downgraded to a tropical storm as it travelled slowly south, but still with a sting to its tail as it wreaked havoc along the coast. Then it reached Brisbane, 100 kilometres north of us.

And veered out to sea.

We never got one drop of rain. But the monster from the south still kept coming. Each morning I tuned into the weather map on the Ipad watching the rain and storm bands sweep past on both sides of us.  Then on the 16th it arrived, torrential rains, gale force winds, but, thankfully, no hail in our area. I watched as a lovely 26mm of rain soaked into the garden in 24 hours, followed by another 10mm the next day.

Immediately the plants radiated december 016_4000x3000

As Christmas approached I was able to wind up the hose and now, instead of spending hours watering the garden, I could walk around admiring all the new growth and sit in the shade with a glass of wine pondering on how diverse and unpredictable the weather is and think of all the people who have been impacted by these storms with roofes torn off and trees blown down, properties flooded and be thankful that this time we just received the blessing of rain with no damaging side effects.

Now it is almost the end of 2018 and after the dramatic weather through the month, Christmas week has produced the most perfect weather that could be imagined. Blue skies, 18deg to 27deg, low humidity and a gentle sea breeze.

So as we head into another year I wish all my WordPress buddies best wishes for 2019 and may you all have a happy and healthy year ahead.


I’m sharing this post with Su Leslie of “zimmer bitch” who hosts a monthly challenge “changing seasons” where she invites you to share the changing seasons in your part of the world, or something that says “December” to you. Pop over to see the rules of this monthly challenge.





  1. Sounds like someone’s been watching out for you Pauline. Who would wantonly destroy all that effort of yours? Wishing harmony and much more beauty in the new year. And a few hugs 🌴🌹🌵🍉🌾☔

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  2. Your garden is a tropical delight.I am so glad you got the rain you needed without the destruction. I saw those hailstones in Sydney on the news here and it looked horrendous! I recall a time once in Johannesburg at a similar time of year when we were struck by golf-ball sized hailstones. They can do an awful lot of damage.

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    • We were lucky those hailstones are very destructive. We are lucky at the moment too as the rest of the country is sweltering in a heatwave and we are a comfortable 28deg. But still 2 months of summer to come. All the best for 2019 to you and OH Jude. Who knows maybe you will get over here….

      Liked by 1 person

        • My favourite months are April and October/September with October possibly the favourite because it is spring and many gardens having spring festivals around the country and, usually, it is not too hot. Hope we can meet up somewhere

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Deborah our weather is perfect at the moment but it is unpredictable as well. 2 more months of hot weather ahead of us. Hope it doesn’t get too cold in your part of the world. Best wishes for 2019.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your garden is looking fabulous, Pauline. I’m glad you received the rain as there’s nothing quite so disappointing as seeing rain pass you by. So near and yet so far! It’s very hot here: not a day below 36 for the foreseeable future and of course, bone dry, almost as though we never had that wonderful spring at all. We’re doing a great deal of watering and still plants are drooping by midday.

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  4. Weather can be so exciting! It is so boring here that I sometimes envy those who get really cold weather, snow, heavy rain and such. However, just a few months after we left Oklahoma, the home we stayed in there was pushed of its foundation by a tornado just a day prior to, and just a few short miles from, the massive Moore Tornado. The home later needed to be demolished because it was not worth salvaging. Okay, so maybe docile weather is not so bad.


    • Oh dear you were so lucky to not be in the house when that tornado struck. 🤞the tornados usually run out of steam before they reach us. But weather is getting more unpredictable so who knows what the future will bring

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      • A big warehouse building that we worked in was taken away completely. I distinctly remember the neighborhood in Moore that was destroyed. Most of those homes were new tract homes. I remember them because we could have bought one. (I was not interested in a new tract home.)

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          • It had never been so devastating before, just because there never so many people in the way. When I saw downtown Oklahoma City, I sort of wondered about what would happen if a tornado went through there. I know that most people can get out of the way fast enough, but a tornado could do some serious damage to those big skyscrapers downtown.

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  5. Thank you for that weather update, as I would not have known that the storms were having bipolar tantrums over there. Your gardens are lovely and very worthy of attentive watering at the end of each day. Ahhhh, to have all night to soak in the water – but then extra ahhhhhs for the magic that comes from a natural rain.

    Are world-wide hailstorms getting worse – or is it that our world is connected by many more threads, so we now know what’s happening – even in a dear friend’s tropical garden!

    The poinciana is lovely – ah! One is starting to bloom here, but the blooms are high. I’ve been wanting to paint a serious study – but don’t think I’ll climb that tree to retrieve some of those blossoms!

    Happy New Year my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the marvellous things about blogging is being able to share with people all around the world on an intimate day to day basis. The community spirit is what I love about blogging. The poinciana would make a beautiful painting


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