Changing Seasons : December 2020

Well what a fizzler December turned into.

It started with anticipation of a flight to Sydney to spend Christmas with our son. Busily downsizing pots and preparing the garden to look after itself for a week. Booking our flights and letting the family know our plans.

THEN….

A week before we were due to leave, Sydney had an outbreak of covid. 2 people quickly escalated to 38. Sydney was declared a “hot spot” and the borders were once more closed. On a global scale those figures are minuscule. But seeing how it can so quickly spread I am proud of how our leaders take the initiative to act hard and strong.

So, 3 days before leaving, we cancelled our flights and now have credit vouchers to use some time in the future. What uncertain times we live in. Many people were affected and many plans for family get togethers had to be put on hold, as has been the case all around the world.

But Christmas day dawned with perfect weather and we spent a quiet day together, skyping my family in New Zealand, friends in UK and phoning family and friends in Australia. I actually really enjoyed the day.

We also started a new garden project during Christmas week. Having planned to be away we now had spare time on our hands. We have turned our attention to the long neglected front border. An area that has been allowed to go feral. originally planted with native Grevillea, banksia, bottle-brush and a variegated fig pushing its way through any gaps the undergrowth area has become colonized with spiky broms, strappy dietes leaves and many other unknown species of plants battling for survival.

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A bird of paradise plant has spread to dominate part of the area and agaves make a structural statement along the road frontage. The stately Poinciana tree spreads its ferny branches over the top of all this area and glows with the fiery red of its flowers through the summer months.

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So with glove protected hands and armed with secateurs and clippers we battle it for control. The pruned branches go through the mulcher machine and the rest is chopped up to make a thick layer of clippings. As you can see in the photo below, there is still more clearing out to be done. Then I will cover it with compost and a thick layer of sugar cane mulch. Then wait for it all to settle and break down before deciding what plants to put in there. Maybe more native ground covers that can survive in the shady dry area under the trees. Any suggestions? Jack also wants to put another seat in there, so, over the next few months, we will have the enjoyment of visiting op shops and garage sales to search for something appropriate.

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After a very dry November, actually no rain. December was a joy for this area. 571mm spread out over the month I was ecstatic when I thought we were going to be away for a week as the garden was beautifully wet and has needed no extra watering. But some areas further north and west had too much rain with floods, strong winds and hail.

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I have long wanted and searched for a dwarf gum tree and this month Bunnings had some in. They were $58 and I had a struggle with my conscience paying so much for one tree. But I know I will treasure it.

Our mango tree has FINALLY produced a crop of fruit. We have been here 22 years now and this will be the first time we have harvested any fruit from it. But most of the mangos were on the other side of the tree and hanging over the fence into next doors garden.

Last night I heard the ominous sound of bats squeaking and scrabbling around in the tree. So I went round this morning and sure enough, can you see the half eaten one? And others were on the ground. So the neighbor and I picked and shared them between us.

They love gardening too and have a mango tree round the other side. I few days ago I saw our resident king parrots having a feed too. So we have left the higher ones for the wild life to feed on.

That’s not all that has been eaten this month. The caterpillars are back stripping the Pentas plants. This is the before and then after the invasion…

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But I don’t mind as when they have all changed to butterflies I love to see them flying around the garden and with a good prune the pentas quickly regrow and flower again.

Finally here is a look at what is flowering this month.

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It has been a difficult year for so many and we are now all pinning our hopes on the vaccine and hoping that next year it will bring back some normality.

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/the-changing-seasons-december-2020/

I only contribute one post a month and I would like to thank the lovely and talented Su (zimmerbitch) for hosting this monthly challenge. Her post for December is beautiful, filled with gorgeous photos and thoughts of the year that was so difficult, but Su has certainly been able to find good and beauty in every month. It encourages me to gather my thoughts every month and be able to look back over the 3 years I have been keeping this virtual, monthly diary.

Thank you to all the blogging buddies from around the world that pop by to wander around the garden every month and I do appreciate the comments that you leave. I wish you all health and happiness for 2021.

53 comments

  1. So lovely, the garden you share with us, Pauline. And always kind and positive thoughts for your visitors. Especially the birds and caterpillars that steal your flowers and fruit. 🙂 🙂 This world is meant for sharing, isn’t it? Thank you for being a lovely presence in my blogging world, and wishing you and Jack and healthy and happy 2021!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Jo. Blogging has certainly been a positive presence during 2020 and I think it has helped many of us stay motivated. I love the connection all around the world. Yes it is about sharing and I do enjoy strolling with you, virtually around your beautiful part of the world you now call home. 🥂👍here’s best wishes for 2021

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully the Sydney trip will be back on again “sometime” …We have also, optimistically booked an art retreat to Tasmania for November and another art retreat to Tyalgum in July. Oh well one lives in hope. HNY May

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, dear Pauline and Jack, for a year’s worth of lovely photos and cheerful jottings. It’s not been the happiest year, but your optimism and the beauty you’ve shared have been wonderful bright spots. Wishing you both all the best in 2021! xx 🍾 🥂 🎉

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  3. I love visiting your beautiful garden, you and Jack never stop making plans! It is wonderful that you are such a generous gardener and happy to share your bounties with the visiting wildlife. I am sure they appreciate your selflessness. Wishing you and Jack all the best for the future.
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have hopes that you may one day actually visit over here jude. But in the meantime I appreciate you coming for a virtual stroll. Yes we are always changing things around, it never gets boring

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      • Some of the neighbors here put out bat houses to attract bats. They do not eat fruit, but are appreciated for eating mosquitos. I do not mind them because I do not see them. They start flying around late in the evening, when it is too dark to see them.
        Eucalyptus ficifolia is one uncommon, but still one of the more practical eucalypti here. The bloom color of old trees is quite variable.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s such a treat visiting your tropical garden, Pauline, and seeing such colourful flowers. I’m sure your new eucalyptus will give you so much pleasure that you’ll soon forget about the outlay!
    I wonder what kind of butterfly those rather large caterpillars turn into?
    I wish you and Jack a happy new year and hope that you are able to make that planned trip to Sydney before too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That rain has done wonders for your garden, Pauline. It looks so delightfully fresh and bright, if somewhat chewed. The nectar and fruit feeders must think it is Christmas. I really enjoy your monthly post and always look forward to it. All the best to you and Jack. I hope next year brings you more pleasant surprises.
    PS. Have you thought of underplanting with native grasses? I’m not sure what is local to your area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rain has been marvellous for the garden and me too, no regular watering. 🤗Its Christmas all year round for the birds here Tracy, always something flowering…That is a very good idea about native grasses I must check them out. Kangaroo grass would be a good filler. Thanks for the suggestion. Best wishes to you and your TL, lets hope 2021 is a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My monthly walk around your beautiful garden is a source of much joy Pauline. Thank you for sharing it. Wishing you and Jack a happy, healthy, creative 2021 — with that longed-for travel thrown in.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As always, I love visiting the bounty and beauty of your world, Pauline. Those mangoes which lead into your post are so pretty!

    So very sorry to hear you had to put off your family visit – I know you & Jack were so very much looking forward to it. It must have been heart-wrenching, even though the reason for it is most logical, and you were able to get vouchers for a deferred trip.

    Hope you are both doing well: enjoying your art, gardening and other creative endeavours. Be well and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully the population is following advice and the virus seems to be coming under control. At least not getting any worse. Pleased you enjoyed joining me in my monthly wander around the garden

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