What a summer we have had here! 2012, in July, August, September and October we had 21mm of rain. November 72mm and in December just 31mm. This was certainly the longest dry we have experienced here on the Sunshine Coast in the 14 years we have been here. Water for nursery plants was ok but we were not able to keep sufficient to the 400 or so plants in the gardens. The ones under part shade fared well enough, but others dropped leaves, looked poor and failed to put on any new spring and summer growth.
This was of some concern when we started taking cuttings in December – many plants did not have quality material for cuttings and as a result, we will be short of some varieties in 2014.
Then it rained and blew as the tail end of cyclone Oswald came down the coast – from 24 January we had at least 500mm in 5 days and so far in February (it’s 24th today) we have had another 270mm. We are expecting more today if the reports turn true. So, where we had dry brown grass, now we can’t mow it quickly enough – plants that had dropped leaves are putting on new growth – somewhat unseasonally – but the plants will do what they need to do at the right time for them. The early sasanquas, particularly Mikuni-ko, are flowering with spot flowers on Bonanza, Sparkling Burgundy and flower buds are sucking up that moisture ready to burst out over the coming weeks.
Japonicas that failed to put on new spring growth are now showing 20 and 30cm of new growth – and budding up on the old wood at the same time. With this amount of moisture in the ground now, we should have a good showing over the next 6 months.
During the ‘ex-cyclone’ event, we lost power for 3 days. Apart from some inconvenience in the home, our concern was that the cuttings we had taken in December were not getting the constant misting that give them the best chance of callousing and putting on roots. Whereas we have had some leaf drop, we are hopefully confident that out strike rate will pick up.
As we start the flowering season, we have had many gardeners calling in to purchase camellias for their gardens. We will start our open days over the weekend 13 and 14 April and then each weekend in April. We will also open in May, June and July. Watch this for dates.
Dates to remember
30 June – Queensland Camellia Society display – Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens – Randall Studio. We will have plants to sell.
5, 6, 7 July – Queensland Garden Expo – Nambour – best show in the country – see us at stall #291. www.qldgardenexpo.com.au
We are also happy to do mail order for those who cannot visit us – east coast Australia at this stage. Email us..