Tropical Gardening and Living........
This blog was created out of a need to share experience gained from living in the Tropics.
It's a humble, grass roots kind of an offering and a way to keep in touch with friends.
Simplicity in a complex world is my aim and drives many of my choices for living.
I offer my humble, wild garden in the tropics with a sprinkling of metaphors here and there. It can be a magic place to retreat to...
When I am not lost in there I am an emerging writer, gardener, food lover, creator.
Sooooo......today I received an email from Katherine (the town) in the Northern Territory (approx. 330kms south of Darwin) letting me know the dry season is in full swing. Which means in 'Territorian', tropical terms, it's now safe to organize a BBQ or other outdoor pursuit knowing it won't rain.
Having lived in Darwin in a past life, the tropical seasons in the 'Top End' and here in North Queensland are quite different.
In the Top End they experience an intense build-up season, generally good 'wet seasons' with days and nights of endless heavy rain and predictable dry season days.
I had an interesting experience in Darwin where I stood in the middle of my abode. When I looked through the window towards the front yard it was teeming rain and when I looked out the backyard the sunshine was bouncing off the purple bougainvillea!
The Top End also have life-enhancing storms, magnificent shows of nature, some of the best on earth I would contest. Words fail to describe the sensations experienced when witnessing these shows choreographed by nature. They are common too, just about everyday in the build-up, somewhere a storm cell will appear in the vast, blue background.
So the tropical season in Queensland?
Seasons here stick to no routine, just do what they want, when they want.
Good metaphor for us locals and why people are invading us in peacetime.
They love our laid-back demeanor.
Here is what today looked like, in the middle of the dry season:
These photos were taken about 4pm.
We get few storms here but cyclones are many.
According to Testaments from the Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au), Queensland has on average 4.7 cyclones per year. I will research the NT and WA tropical areas and report in another blog.
The Bureau of Meteorology website is like oxygen to many in the northern tropical belt.
www.bom.com.au is affectionately known locally as the 'bom(b) site'.
Comprehensive enough for me to check it out in the rainy season to decide whether to hang the washing out or not! The site is an excellent source of information about cyclones, so if you're a recent invader to the tropics, you can combat much fear if you inform yourself all about these natural phenomena.
Check it out for yourself. It covers the whole country and is tax money well-spent.
Out in the treescapes of far north Queensland, right now are the flowering mango's.
Here is how they perform their show:
Mangifera indica............King of the Fruits.
They are everywhere, all the more noticeable because of flowering. The drive along Ellis Beach on the way to Port Douglas puts on a real show at mango flowering time.
Part of the initiation into becoming a northerner, is having the experience of squelching mango between the toes from kicking the fruit in it's bounty. (Not deliberately, of course. That would be cheating)
I will go and dig a few more flowering mangoes out of the picture file.
Meet Plumera pudica, known by the common name of frangipani or recently, orphan.
Yep. Was a surprise for me too.
They don't even look similar although 'tis not surprising.
Winner of 'Plant of the year' in 2007 at the US National Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, Plumeria pudica came out as a debutante then.
This wonderful plant promises to be all the things the more common frangipani, Plumeria rubra is not.
P. pudica is not fussy about living in dry or cold regions, so in areas west of the coastal strip, including the tablelands, this plant would probably thrive.
Hey, what about England? Maybe this plant would be worth a try in the southern parts?
Has anyone seen P.pudica on the tablelands? The Top End? The Kimberly's?..... ...........England?
The common frangipani, P. rubra flowers for about 4 months of the year, is naked of foliage and has a reputation for attracting pests and rust, however P.pudica flowers for about 10 months of the year, is virtually evergreen and resistant to pests and diseases. What a bonus!
Now for the.........
According to the gospel of Google, the common name for this frangipani is .........bridal bouquet!
This has provided much mirth because the plant was given up by an independent, single, never-married woman and adopted by an independent, single, never-married woman.
Neither of us were aware of the common name.
I have been thrown and caught (OMG) a bridal bouquet.
Unknowingly I have planted it out the front near the entry so I guess any prince in paupers' disguise who enters here and recognises the plant will................................................ (complete this sentence in the comments column for your own creative ending).