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Daryl

Winter 2011 in the South / Summer in the North

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Mike in Nelson

The first two weeks of July are the coldest of the year where I live. Should be upwards from here. What about the coldest period in Aus? Is it the same over there?

It's the same here Mike. The first 2 weeks of July are the worst then by the end of July we're definitely on the warm up. We had a cold run of days last week but on Thu we were back up to 22C.

What Sydney has had is what we had at the beginning of the week. That really slow moving high pressure zone forced cold Antarctic air and cloud up to Australia and it's slowly moving east now.

Best regards

Tyrone

It's over our way now. Morning frosts but sunny days.

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Laisla87

My winters aren't cold...minimums rarely go below 10 and maximums rarely fall below 16 (usually 17-18). It's theduration of these temps which stifles the tropicals..if in September the weather started to warm up significantly, then there would be no drama and I could grow just about anything. But if Septembers are fickle, with warm days followed by a string of cool ones...then tropicals can't recover properly from the winter, and microclimates, drainage and all that becomes very, very important.

I've lived in the tropics and gardening there is no utopia,believe me, although it may appear to be (especially when in the depths of winter like now). Sometimes there is too much rain in the wet, and things rot (and surprisingly many plants go dormant) or the dry season is too dry and plants croak. It's such a hard balancing act. And the weeds...I recall one that made life hell (an albizzia or something). Ferny leaves and a long tap root, would self seed everything and was impossible to eradicate. Also, I hated the lack of variety of plants available in the tropics. The true tropics in Australia are sparsely populated, and an even smaller percentage of that are gardeners. So all those potential tropical paradise gardens, which could be rich with a stunning variety of tropical plants, are dominated by things like Acalphia and Alexandra palms. No coconuts because they may fall on passersby. Nothing too exotic cause it's not available. Ironically to get the best variety of tropicals, Sydney and Brisbane are where the best nurseries are.

Anyway, that's my whinge to try and help me get over the winter blues...

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ariscott

To get the best tropicals, nothing beats Cairns in Australia. Most of the stuff you get in Brisbane comes from Cairns. And nothing beats tropics for tropical plants... I have lived in Brisbane and I couldn't grow half the stuff I am growing here. Yes, a lot of work growing them in the tropics, but that is why tropics is the tropics.... I couldn't grow things half as fast in Brisbane despite my best effort.

I would live in Cairns... the best place to grow anything tropical in Australia, but there is no work for us. Darwin is the best compromise for me. Yes, it is dry in the dry season, but once you have canopy, it has much better microclimate. Besides, we don't get water restriction and I have a bore... so everything is sweet for now.... And I have 2 acalypha in my whole 5 acres and 2 alexandra palms.

Regards, Ari :)

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Laisla87

I've heard many people say that about Cairns, but that is where I used to live, and believe me it wasn't as easy as you may think. Then again, I haven't gardened in Darwin so it could be easier than there, I don't know. Cairns is a great producer of tropical plants - but not so great to buy as the local market is too small. They get shipped off to other places for a reason (i.e. more buyers). I found the rain a huge problem in Cairns - it is rainforest territory so it rains incessantly, and will often shower in the dry season. Of course, this means is that you can forget about growing many flowering plants; they grow leggy and do poorly. Some things in Cairns will surprise you - I was amazed that despite the heat, rain and humidity, my alpinia purpurea refused to thrive. And with all that rain, everything just rots away - many tropical fruit trees in particular.

I find the Australian subtropics a little bizzare - cold, frosty mornings but warmish days. Plants must be super hardy to tolerate that.

Ari, I'd be curious to know what thrives in Darwin compared to Brisbane.

Cheers

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Tyrone

I find the Australian subtropics a little bizzare - cold, frosty mornings but warmish days. Plants must be super hardy to tolerate that.

Cheers

Some parts of the sub tropics, definitely not all.

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ariscott

Cairns are great!! The key with Cairns is raised beds and good drainage. If you can provide that, you would be laughing. You should see Michael's (Aussiearoids) garden. He lives in Tully - the wettest place in Australia and he can grow ANYTHING except papaya. He doesn't have to irrigate much and yes... he has problems with weeds, but who doesn't especially who lives in the tropics. Shower in the dry season is a godsend!! I would love to have them.... dry wind doesn't do anything any good...

What do you mean you can't buy stuff in Cairns?? I get most of my stuff from Cairns.... You just need to know where to get them from. Nursery is not good in Cairns. You have to get to the market, collectors, etc, etc. Where do you think Palms for Brisbane get most of the stuff from? Most of the tropical plant collectors live in Cairns... you should go to Whyanbeel... the place is full of them.

Darwin provides more challenges to gardening than Cairns. We have dry wind in the dry season and no rain. Wet season is pretty wet... that is when stuff rots if you don't plant them properly. We have extreme weather here in the Top End. Gardening is not meant to be easy, but surely I can have canopy in 4 years... something that you can't do down south. You can ask Daryl, Wal, Colin & Mike Green. They have witness my garden growing from barely a stump. I start from scratch... not a leaf on my block when I bought it. Everything on it has been planted by me....

The stuff that I can grow in Darwin that you can't grow in Brisbane/or have trouble with

- different types of Heliconia

- different types of ultra tropical flowering tree

- different types of palms

- different types of fruit trees

Do I need to actually list them? I will be here all day.

Regards, Ari :)

Edited by ariscott

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Tyrone

Ari, How are your Cyrtostachys doing?

Adam, growing a rainforest style garden in the wet tropics when there is year round rainfall and brilliant rich volcanic soil should be a snap. Try doing that when you have a guaranteed summer drought on sand.

Best regards

Tyrone

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Laisla87

Ari, How are your Cyrtostachys doing?

Adam, growing a rainforest style garden in the wet tropics when there is year round rainfall and brilliant rich volcanic soil should be a snap. Try doing that when you have a guaranteed summer drought on sand.

Best regards

tyrone

I think Tyrone,that was it - I didn't want a rainforest type garden, but a more colorful one. For that you need lots of sun, and Im sure Townsville (being drier and sunnier) would have been better suited to that. It didnt seem interesting to grow a rainforest style garden when I was surrounded by the real thing.

No climate is perfect but i definetly have climate envy at the moment

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Tyrone

Ari, How are your Cyrtostachys doing?

Adam, growing a rainforest style garden in the wet tropics when there is year round rainfall and brilliant rich volcanic soil should be a snap. Try doing that when you have a guaranteed summer drought on sand.

Best regards

tyrone

I think Tyrone,that was it - I didn't want a rainforest type garden, but a more colorful one. For that you need lots of sun, and Im sure Townsville (being drier and sunnier) would have been better suited to that. It didnt seem interesting to grow a rainforest style garden when I was surrounded by the real thing.

No climate is perfect but i definetly have climate envy at the moment

I know what you mean about climate envy. It gets us all at some point. A colourful open garden in the wet tropics is possible, but you basically want zero canopy for that. I noticed that many tropicals we grow here are not as robust in the proper wet tropics due to cloud cover etc. Dypsis decaryi was one that looked better here than in the tropics, but it's not really a palm for the wet anyway. I'd love to be able to grow a colourful open garden here, but the summer sun would just burn everything to shreds. Without canopy the choices for colour slim down a bit.

Best regards

Tyrone

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ariscott

Ari, How are your Cyrtostachys doing?

The cyrtostachys are doing great!!! The ones in pots and in the ground. I have 5 in the ground and 2 in pots... didn't miss a beat. BTW, did a walk in the garden today and nothing was too bad. Some are showing cold damage :huh: (like Clinostigma) but opened a new spear and some are burnt a bit because of the canopy defoliating but in general, everything is surviving well in the dry. It starts warming up, so hopefully the canopy will grow back before the heat hits in Sept.

Regards, Ari :)

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Tyrone

Glad everything in the main is going well up there. What species Clinostigma is showing damage? I'm amazed at how well C harlandii takes the winter here.

Best regards

Tyrone

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ariscott

C. samoense or whatever it is called now... I think it is the sudden drop in the temperature that did it, rather than the 'cold' itself. I guess you can imagine.... if you are subjected to 20deg minimum and suddenly it dropped to below 10deg the next day.... But the new leaves look perfect... so I think we are in the clear.

Regards, Ari :)

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Tyrone

They're a beautiful species Ari. Should do well for you up there.

Best regards

Tyrone

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Daryl

Cairns is a great climate, but not so good for flowering trees...same with Singapore. Most flowering tropical trees need an extended dry period or cool period to induce flowering. That is why they do great in the subtropics and dry tropics. Palms seem to look nice in Townsville, especially the trunks which tend to be cleaner and bleached, whereas in Cairns and wetter climates they get moss, lichen etc and go black.

Daryl

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Tyrone

I like the way orchids and ferns naturally grow on palm trunks in the wet tropics. But yes, there is a definite difference between Townsville and Cairns. Personally I'd rather live in Townsville than Cairns as I do love blue skies and nice hot summers.

Best regards

Tyrone

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ariscott

Cairns itself is not too bad... if you go south a bit like Tully, then you get too wet.

Darwin is better than Townsville, IMO. I have been to Townsville numerous times and I would rather live in Darwin hands down...

Regards, Ari :)

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Tyrone

19C and sunny today.

One day I'll get to Darwin Ari and check it out.

Your dry winter is like our summer (but peak temps are cooler than our summers in your winters), and our summers can at times resemble your build up a bit, but we never quite get over that point to get a monsoon season. We get a few weeks of high heat and some high humidity with cumulonimbus hanging around in the afternoon over the Darling Ranges then we go back to cooling off again, and just dry. Gotta love irrigation. :)

Best regards

Tyrone

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Daryl

I prefer Darwin's climate to Townsville as well. Both need good irrigation for a lot of palms to look good, so as long as you have that, no worries!

Tyrone, you should go to Darwin in the buildup, then you can make a proper comparison...:D

BTW, next Ratpack PRA is to Darwin and the Topend in May '12

regards,

Daryl

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Tyrone

Tyrone, you should go to Darwin in the buildup, then you can make a proper comparison...:D

regards,

Daryl

Very true. That's probably the time I would go up there. I didn't make a direct comparison though, and it is rare to get high humidity in summer over here, but we did this year. Perth's Jan, Feb 2011 figures including RH weren't too different from Darwins, late August to mid Sep figures for 2010. That's not peak build up weather though of course. By Oct the wet had started in Darwin. Did we feel it this summer. We're not accustomed to much humidity, so you can imagine what 35C and 22C dewpoints at 10am felt like for us this summer. We had a run of a few weeks like that this past summer. Palms loved it though. A very good growing season. Probably why my C lepidota's didn't do much for ages as well.

Best regards

Tyrone

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Laisla87

I love Darwin's climate, but sometimes I felt it was severely underutilized for the wonderful things what could grow there. The humble golden cane is king. What I would do with that climate...

Out of curiousity, is Frangipani Rust a problem there? In Cairns the Frangipanis were in permanent disaster state because of it. It is pretty bad now even in Sydney.

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Tyrone

The obtusa varieties tend to get the rust more I've found. The Singapore White's and Petite Pink just attract the stuff. Being more of an evergreen variety they tend to keep the infection going, whereas the deciduous ones discard it with the old leaves.

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ariscott

Rust is worse when it is wetter... This year has been terrible... I haven't seen frangipani looking so sick!!! I guess the record wet did it. But under normal condition, it is not too bad really.... Yes, rust is here to stay. I would love to try that thing from Brisbane, but they won't send to NT!!!

Daryl, are you coming to Darwin? I thought you might be going to Thailand?? Can you bring me that rust rid stuff??

Adam, I grow whatever I can find.... come and visit, then you can see what I am growing.... And this is just a start....

Tyrone, don't come during the build up unless you love storm... People who come at that time always decide that Darwin is just TOO HOT!!

Regards, Ari :)

Edited by ariscott

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Laisla87

Adam, I grow whatever I can find.... come and visit, then you can see what I am growing.... And this is just a start....

Regards, Ari :)

I have to go to Darwin with my University in September, so will I be in time for the build up? Oh yeah and I'll have to take you up on that offer..hehe

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Mónica

It's summer in this part of the world. Today is cloudy and looks set to rain (which rarely happens). It's a great day!

After living the 37° (98F) of the past few days, back to the 25º (77F) is amazing. :D

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Tyrone

Tyrone, don't come during the build up unless you love storm... People who come at that time always decide that Darwin is just TOO HOT!!

Regards, Ari :)

I love weather Ari. Love storms.

Best regards

Tyrone

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Tropicgardener

I've heard many people say that about Cairns, but that is where I used to live, and believe me it wasn't as easy as you may think. Then again, I haven't gardened in Darwin so it could be easier than there, I don't know. Cairns is a great producer of tropical plants - but not so great to buy as the local market is too small. They get shipped off to other places for a reason (i.e. more buyers). I found the rain a huge problem in Cairns - it is rainforest territory so it rains incessantly, and will often shower in the dry season. Of course, this means is that you can forget about growing many flowering plants; they grow leggy and do poorly. Some things in Cairns will surprise you - I was amazed that despite the heat, rain and humidity, my alpinia purpurea refused to thrive. And with all that rain, everything just rots away - many tropical fruit trees in particular.

I find the Australian subtropics a little bizzare - cold, frosty mornings but warmish days. Plants must be super hardy to tolerate that.

Ari, I'd be curious to know what thrives in Darwin compared to Brisbane.

Cheers

Sounds like you weren't living in the Cairns I know.....or were you trying to grow roses or grevilleas?............I used to live in Cairns and Alpinia purpurata grew like a weed......it grows well here but slows right down in winter......with my tropical plants I had no problems with rot whatsoever, no raised beds.....my garden had the red basaltic clay and was built on an ex cane paddock.

As for the subtropics having cold, frosty mornings.......yes some low lying or inland parts can be like that but I can assure you that there is no frost within cooee of where I live......even where my parents live in Brisbane there isn't ever any frost....nights can sometimes be cool due to the fact that in the subtropics cloudy or rainy nights are nowhere near as common during winter as they are in temperate areas like Sydney.

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tropicbreeze

Sounds like you weren't living in the Cairns I know.....or were you trying to grow roses or grevilleas?............

There's plenty of Grevilleas that grow in the tropics subjected to high rainfall and humidity. Some even grow well standing in water.

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amazondk

Cairns is a great climate, but not so good for flowering trees...same with Singapore. Most flowering tropical trees need an extended dry period or cool period to induce flowering. That is why they do great in the subtropics and dry tropics. Palms seem to look nice in Townsville, especially the trunks which tend to be cleaner and bleached, whereas in Cairns and wetter climates they get moss, lichen etc and go black.

Daryl

Daryl,

Here in our forest I do notice that most trees flower during or after the dry season, which is from 3 to 5 months depending on the year. Of cours all the trees flower. But, many of them have flowers which you have to look for to see. Since there is such a high species count per hectare there are rarely groups of trees flowering. It is a great sight to see a yellow tabebuia in full flower stretching above the canopy. There are a lot of flowering trees in the secondary forest, called capoeira here. My place in the country has a few. And, I don´t even know what they are. This one is very common and a great sight in the dry season. I do need to figure out with it is. As the dry season kicks in full force the afternoons are getting pretty hot. But, there are still some nice clouds around and the sunsets are great. Maybe someone has seen this tree. It is native to the banks of the Negro River. I do not remember seeing it elsewhere.

dk

purpleflowertree.jpg

IMG_3580.jpg

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Tyrone

Don, that's a beautiful tree. I bet most plants in the Amazon haven't even been introduced into horticulture yet.

The UV is starting to increase in the southern hemisphere now. The Index cutoff lines are all moving south again. Only a few more weeks and we're back to noticably warmer weather. :D

Best regards

Tyrone

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Daryl

I forgot the sunblock on Sunday and my face got pretty badly burnt as the UV is getting stronger again. Just got to somehow stop all of the heat loss each night!

Daryl

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ariscott

I have to go to Darwin with my University in September, so will I be in time for the build up? Oh yeah and I'll have to take you up on that offer..hehe

Make sure you come at the beginning of Sept. Otherwise you will melt!!!

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ariscott

purpleflowertree.jpg

IMG_3580.jpg

Whoa.... seeds, Don?? Sorry... can't help myself with flowering trees that look like that!!!

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Laisla87

I've heard many people say that about Cairns, but that is where I used to live, and believe me it wasn't as easy as you may think. Then again, I haven't gardened in Darwin so it could be easier than there, I don't know. Cairns is a great producer of tropical plants - but not so great to buy as the local market is too small. They get shipped off to other places for a reason (i.e. more buyers). I found the rain a huge problem in Cairns - it is rainforest territory so it rains incessantly, and will often shower in the dry season. Of course, this means is that you can forget about growing many flowering plants; they grow leggy and do poorly. Some things in Cairns will surprise you - I was amazed that despite the heat, rain and humidity, my alpinia purpurea refused to thrive. And with all that rain, everything just rots away - many tropical fruit trees in particular.

I find the Australian subtropics a little bizzare - cold, frosty mornings but warmish days. Plants must be super hardy to tolerate that.

Ari, I'd be curious to know what thrives in Darwin compared to Brisbane.

Cheers

Sounds like you weren't living in the Cairns I know.....or were you trying to grow roses or grevilleas?............I used to live in Cairns and Alpinia purpurata grew like a weed......it grows well here but slows right down in winter......with my tropical plants I had no problems with rot whatsoever, no raised beds.....my garden had the red basaltic clay and was built on an ex cane paddock.

As for the subtropics having cold, frosty mornings.......yes some low lying or inland parts can be like that but I can assure you that there is no frost within cooee of where I live......even where my parents live in Brisbane there isn't ever any frost....nights can sometimes be cool due to the fact that in the subtropics cloudy or rainy nights are nowhere near as common during winter as they are in temperate areas like Sydney.

I had a backyard which flooded with every rain, as did many in my street. Cairns is in a severely flood prone area. I tried to grow many flowering plants from warm places but they didn't thrive due to the extended wet and cloudy conditions. Cairns was far from the gardener's paradise people assume it was (at least in my experience). The below article is just one that I could find online outlining the problem - before I left in mid-2010 there were others I read in the print media:

http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2010/09/21/127671_local-news.html

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Laisla87

I have to go to Darwin with my University in September, so will I be in time for the build up? Oh yeah and I'll have to take you up on that offer..hehe

Make sure you come at the beginning of Sept. Otherwise you will melt!!!

I used to sleep through 30 degree nights with 90% humidity with no air conditioner:), so I have good preparation at hand...

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amazondk

purpleflowertree.jpg

IMG_3580.jpg

Whoa.... seeds, Don?? Sorry... can't help myself with flowering trees that look like that!!!

Ari,

I will see what I can do about that. The trees start to flower soon. I will also try to find out what species it is.

DK

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ariscott

I had a backyard which flooded with every rain, as did many in my street. Cairns is in a severely flood prone area. I tried to grow many flowering plants from warm places but they didn't thrive due to the extended wet and cloudy conditions. Cairns was far from the gardener's paradise people assume it was (at least in my experience). The below article is just one that I could find online outlining the problem - before I left in mid-2010 there were others I read in the print media:

http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2010/09/21/127671_local-news.html

Like anywhere... the key to gardening is good drainage. It was unfortunately that you lived in a flood prone area. It took me ages to find this property that drains well... Most of Darwin rural area is flat, thus prone to be waterlogged in the wet season.

BTW, the maximum at my place in Sept is 37deg. Just let me know when you are in town....

Regards, Ari :)

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Tyrone

Blue skies at the moment, then some thunderstorms coming through late morning and rain for about a week. The good news is very mild July weather for the forseeable future. Nothing below 8C at night and 18-20C during the day for the next week at least. Then it's August. The last winter month. :)

Best regards

Tyrone

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Tyrone

Raining now. Nice and steady. No wind. The UV zones have all of a sudden started moving south strongly. Strong Zone 3 at the moment here. Long range forecast puts us in the SW with 28 days of rain. Maybe this is our turn to get sick of rain. Everyone else in the country has had opportunity to get sick of the stuff. :D

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ariscott

Enjoy Tyrone.... and hand the rain back in a month or so....

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