July is mid-winter in Australia, but the weather here is glorious. Day after day of sparkling sunny perfection. The air is crisp and the light is clear. The nights are cool and extra blankets give a relaxing, sound sleep.
I have tried to capture that clear light and vivid blue sky. This “fire sticks succulent” glows like a beacon in the late afternoon sun as I approach our garden.
Since March the Queensland borders have been closed to the world and the rest of Australia and since May the only Covid cases in Queensland have been reported from incoming travelers, and they have been promptly placed in hotel quarantine to control any spread.
So July was the month that restrictions due to Covid 19 were slowly and cautiously lifted. The borders were opened and carefully monitored by police and border patrols checking every car, interstate travelers were allowed in.
That is all but Victorians. They are experiencing a terrible second wave, hundreds of new cases every day and many deaths, sadly, mainly from the age care homes. Consequently that state is in lock down from the rest of Australia.
But for Queenslanders things started to come back to a semblance of normal. Cafes and restaurants opened for dining (but with restricted numbers, and “social distancing”). Travel was unrestricted within our state, gyms, hairdressers, schools and many more businesses opened. Hand sanitizers were everywhere.
I reveled in the opportunity to visit friends and family, to lunch out, to go for day trips to nurseries. Get my hair cut. My art group started its weekly art sessions. Monthly calligraphy meetings are all go again. And, of course, I still spent many hours in the garden.
Jack’s shoulder is making a slow recovery and the specialist has said he will not need an operation, much to our relief, but he still has regular physio sessions.
So July has been a busy month and the blog has most certainly been put on the back burner for a while.
The beginning of the month was very dry, no rain, and then last week we had a torrential down pour, 120mm over 3 days, but the garden loved it and everything perked up, and I don’t have to worry about watering for a while. The Snowflake bush, in the top right corner, has finished flowering, and has now been pruned.
The new “peaches and cream” Grevillea are now bathed in light.
These are some other flowers flaunting their beauty around the garden.
In the above photo, on the left hand side, the annual paper daisies are just starting to show flower buds and the vivid orange Kalanchoe is another beacon of light. But on the right hand side, that mass of green leaves have been quite a mystery. Jack nipped a tiny 2 inch slip from a plant (I will not tell you where from…!!!) brought it home and before we knew it was spreading everywhere. This week the flower buds are starting to open. What a strange looking flower. I have a plant finder app on the IPad and it identified it as “Plectranthus Amboinicus”, so, of course,I Googled it.
Common name: Cuban oregano
Other common names: Ajwain leaf, Broad leaf thyme, Country borage, French thyme, Indian borage, Indian mint, Mexican mint, Soup mint, Spanish thyme, Three in one
The leaves are used as a fresh-cut herb, especially in Latin American, Filipino and Vietnamese cookery. They are mostly finely chopped and added to meat, soup and bean dishes, especially gamey meats, fish, black bean stews (a common fare in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean) and make a good substitute in recipes calling for dried oregano, such as poultry stuffing, pizza and pasta dishes. They are not easily dried, due to their high oil content.
The leaves contain high level of the chemical compound Carvacrol, which has been shown to have anti‐inflammatory properties and a relaxant effect on the respiratory tract. It is used in remedies for treating asthma and chronic cough.
BREAKING NEWS, ON THE TV TONIGHT... with the virus starting to appear in Sydney our Premier has declared any one from the greater Sydney region (5 million people) will not be allowed into Queensland. The police have just tracked down 3 very irresponsible 19 year old females who flew in from Melbourne a week ago with false information on their border declarations. And they tested positive. They have been taken into isolation and will be charged with criminal offences. They have been going to work as cleaners at a school, moving around going to restaurants, shopping centres and various other places. It is causing great concern. There is the possibility that our borders could close again.
So Covid 19 still dominates our thoughts. Starting the month feeling quite positive, really appreciating doing the small every day things, almost getting back to normal, ie lunching with friends, getting a haircut, going for a days outing. But now realizing how fragile that positivity is.
Su at “Zimmer Bitch” hosts this monthly “changing seasons”. I really appreciate the opportunity to record the months happenings. And as the years go by it makes interesting reading for me to look back and compare how things change and yet how they stay the same with the monthly cycle in the garden marking the changing seasons from year to year.