Happy Christmas!🎄

It’s that festive time again.

To all my lovely friends, followers and casual drop-ins, a very Happy Christmas or other festive celebration of the season, whether Diwali, Hanukah or Solstice. It is a time for light over darkness, joy over sadness and love over misery and anger.

Here in north Queensland, the traditional snowflakes, snowmen and Christmas trees can look a bit incongruous as the temperatures soar and the air conditioning struggles. So I leave you with our own local version of the festive colour scheme, the beautiful soccer-ball sized blooms of the Flamboyant Tree, aka Poinciana or Delonix Regia. Tree and ornament in one!

Best wishes from the three of us in Chiconia for health, peace and prosperity in the coming year.

Christmas decorations

Not the tinsel, baubles, angels, wreaths and stars you might be expecting.

My backyard is slowly hanging out its seasonal array. Most gorgeous of all is the lavish scarlet blooming of the poinciana (Delonix regia), which hangs out its starry red pompoms in good time for Christmas. It really is as bright as it seems in the photo below, almost glowing in the sunshine.

I love these decorations. I didn’t have to buy them, or hang them, and I won’t have to take them down when Christmas is over! I don’t have to worry about colour co-ordinating, or arranging them nicely. Nature takes care of Christmas in my backyard…

Poinciana blooming

Decorations 2 Decorations 1



Clearing the decks

Autumn is upon us at last.

For those in temperate climates, this isn’t necessarily a matter for celebration, but for people nearer the equator, it represents the start of more moderate weather, a time when the garden doesn’t grow quite as rampantly as in the hot, wet summer, and when stepping out of a cool shower doesn’t make you immediately break a sweat because the bathroom’s stinking hot. So of course, it’s the time of year when you start taking care of all the stuff that’s accumulated over the summer. Autumn-cleaning, as opposed to Spring-cleaning. And it’s time to use all the free dump vouchers Mackay city council has kindly given us.

For me, this means firstly making a start on clearing out the store room, getting rid of the hundreds of boxes and piles and piles of newspaper left over from our move in September last year. They’ve been sitting flattened and neatly stacked but severely In The Way, and now I can face work down in the somewhat less boiling hot and rather dark store room, they’ve gone to the paper and cardboard recycling facility at the dump, pronto. It’s an easy start. I also discovered three boxes of books I was sure had got lost in the move, and have unpacked about a million boxes of the Husband’s DVDs. OK, about 6… but it felt like more, particularly as I had to shelve them as well.

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My second load today, after the trailer full of newspaper and cardboard…

The next trailer load is to be prunings of Monstera and Elephant ear and old deadwood from tidying up around Frogtopia, ripping out the old spent snake bean vines and tomato plants, green palm fronds I’ve cut back and deadwood from my yellow double hibiscus.

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Trailer loads 3 and possibly 4. There’s quite a lot of it to be shifted.

Trailer No. 3 will be the contents of the palm frond dumping bay behind the shed. Until I got my new telescopic offset loppers, I had no way of dealing with the large, messy, very fibrous dead palm fronds that would fall in quantities from the numerous palm trees in the garden, and they went into a corrugated iron ‘box’ to contain the problem until I found a solution. The Husband was in favour of petrol and a match. Which is illegal here unless you get a permit, because of the fire risk. I want to get rid of the lot, and they’ll be going to the green waste facility, along with lots of dead branches and bits of dead wood stacked beside it.

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Somewhere, about 10ft back from this, is a big old ficus and a fence. I can’t install chickens till I find the fence and make sure it’s in one piece. I got just so far clearing it, realised a chainsaw was required, and gave up for the afternoon!

Trailer No. 4 is the ugly, nasty, pointless, spiky, rampant shrubs in the left hand front flower bed. Nothing a little chainsaw action can’t take care of… The long term plan there is that we get a little Dingo digger in to grub up the roots, dig us some post holes, excavate the footprint of the chook house slab, and time permitting, slice off the turf from the area where I’m planning the vegie beds. We’re getting impatient to make a start on the chook area, and it’s time to begin…

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The mandarin I rescued from the Burnie vine, with almost fully grown fruit. Can’t wait to taste those, if I can beat the rosellas to them!

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A seed pod developing on the poinciana. Curious that such a delicate flower can develop such a massive pod – that’s over a foot long!

Meanwhile, I can’t bear looking at that nasty lot any longer and once the Dingo’s done its work I can start planting shrubs and small trees out there. Finally, a permanent home for the frangipanis, the flame tree, the murraya, the cherry guava. And some-where to put the replacements for the plants I had to leave behind at the last Gardens of Chiconia.

All this hacking back and garden planning is extremely pleasurable, but I confess I’m a bit weary…

Happy Christmas

Season’s greetings from tropical Down Under.

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Delonix regia, the poinciana, which flowers at Christmas in my garden.

I hope you all have a joyful and peaceful Christmas of whatever variety you prefer, whether it’s surrounded by beloved family or a delightfully solitary pause from the usual bustle of life. If your Christmas isn’t looking so great this year, I wish you strength and peace.

With all good wishes from Chiconia.