Saturday, 15 November 2008


Today didn't go as planned but they rarely do these days. It was going to be a day of what Americans call yard work, what the British call gardening and what I call working in the sweat-bucket. I hate labouring in mid-80s temperatures and 80% humidity. I just don't see how this is fun yet many people do.

Anyway, I'd planned to work the morning in the yard trying to figure out what needs to be done after the year we've had here - I described a bit of the problem in "Dust bowl". After that I'd drive to Hilo to see what Home Depot had that might help and then end the day weed whacking the yard. I got the last thing done, but not completely.

The problem was that I woke up earlier than usual and in a mood to take photographs, and the plan went tits-up after that. So the morning was spent taking a few photos, watching college football and then realising I was out of toilet paper and propane - oh, and food for the next week. So after showering off I went to the shops and by the time I got back there was just enough time to get the weed whacker out and do a really quick hack job on the property. Not one of my better pieces of work either, but the smell of freshly cut moss made up for it...

Now for the picture show - despite my garden having a hell of a time in the last few months from flooding and extreme drought, some things have survived. Here they are during my tri-annual exercise of trying to remember or work out what all the plants are called:

A pink hibiscus, and if you look closely, a welcome visitor inside.

A red hibiscus which aren't quite as common in my yard, but there are a few still around. Unfortunately, I don't have any yellow hibiscus flowers which is the State's flower, but apparently they're quite rare these days.

A yellow flower. I have no idea what it is - allamanda?

They grow on vines which is why I thought of allamanda, but I really don't know. Here's me looking as if I know something about flowers, and I only know the name allamanda because I found it in a book this evening...

No need to look this one up in a book, it's an orchid. This island is also known as the Orchid Isle so no intellect needed from me to work it out. It's way out of season though.

This is soul-destroying, it's the front yard. A year ago this was a lawn, now it's dirt, exposed roots, a bit of grass and some plants that managed to live through the floods and drought. This is where I plan to turn things around in the next few months - if only I had some idea of what to do. I'm not sure I should bring in new soil yet because if we get rains like last winter, and the long range forecast is that we might in the new year, then it'll all get washed away again.

One part of the yard that's been thriving is the part fronting the road, although thanks to the subdivision authorities' decision to re-surface the road, my little bit of lawn out there has disappeared under gravel. The result is that when I try and weed whack the stuff that is growing through the surface it turns into a tornado of grass, weeds and stones - my shin is full of cuts and bruises this evening! The debris from my work today can be seen on the road.

Finally, a picture taken this morning, before those weeds were removed, of the mystery fruit tree described in "Your starter for ten". The pink/purple stuff belongs to something else growing in the same place, a crimson bougainvillea I believe, and yes, I had to look that up as well. I'm hoping this might help Hilary of "The Smitten Image" who was kind enough to try and help identify my mystery fruit (Hilary's blog is superb and well worth a read!). We're both still at a bit of a loss though.

Oh, and as usual I forgot the toilet paper.


Keera Ann Fox said...

When I lived in the desert, all our gardens were rock gardens. You can't get more drought-resistent than that! (Of course, they featured aloes and cacti.)

I'd suggest a Japanese zen thingy with gravel, but I suspect the gravel would get washed away.

Maybe just lay out a redwood deck. ;-)

And why does no one talk about El Niño any more?

Zuzana said...

It is amazing to see hibiscus growing in the wild, I only ever get to see it in pots. And only indoors.
Wonderful exotic pictures. Wonderful to see such images when we are approaching the long never-ending winter here in the north.

Hilary said...

Those flowers are beautiful and I'm glad your floods and droughts have not affected their growth. It must be a dreadful feeling to see the yard in such sad shape though. Hopefully you can remedy that before too long. And the project will make a fine blog post. ;)

Thanks kindly for the shout out and linkage. Much appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the hibiscus flowers.The red hibiscus is quite common over here and it is our national flower in Malaysia.

I like all hibiscus species.

Tom said...

Keera - several houses here do use gravel but to be honest I think it's a bit ugly, especially around here! Here we still talk about El Niño because it does have quite a dramatic effect on the islands' weather.

Protege - given climate change it might not be too long before you also have wild hibiscus gowing in your garden during the winter!

Hilary - I have some time off in Feburary and I plan to start working on the problem then, but only if the weather allows!

Chris - hello and welcome to my blog! I have an old friend who lives in Malaysia and I had no idea the red hibiscus was Malaysia's national flower, so next time I look at them it will remind me of my friend - thank you!