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Great Weather


Today is Christmas Day, but this post is not about Christmas Day – other than the fact that the day is actually Christmas Day. It is about the weather we are having on this particular day, that just happens to be Christmas Day.

In recent times the weather here has been very hot and we have been experiencing a drought. Yesterday the temperature was very hot, there was a dry, hot wind blowing and it was very draining. The watercourses around the area were drying up and had very little in the way of water left in them – apart from the main river of course.

Today the temperature is much cooler, with a wonderful cool breeze blowing and it is currently raining. In fact there is a thunderstorm, but not a violent one. It is the type of storm that just seems to slowly roll by with a small amount of lightning and thunder, yet has a lot of steady, soaking rain in it. 

This rain is a major blessing and should be enough to allow some colour to return to our lawns (other than brown) and save the various plants under my care at work. Many of our plants have been greatly stressed because of a lack of water, so this truly is a great blessing. Very thankful for the rain.

Rocky Crossing – Enjoying a Dip


This photo was taken at Rocky Crossing near the New South Wales town of Gloucester, in Australia. I’m cooling down after a hot day one Australian summer on a causeway.

At Rocky Crossing

Australia: Northern Territory – Kakadu National Park


Kakadu National ParkGunlom Falls

This photo was taken during my first major trip around Australia in 1998. This photo was taken from near the plunge pool at Gunlom Falls. The plunge pool is a great place to relax and cool down on a hot summer’s day. It is also a safe place as far as crocodiles go.

Australia: Northern Territory – Kakadu National Park


Kakadu National ParkGunlom Falls

This photo was taken during my first major trip around Australia in 1998. This photo was taken from near the plunge pool at Gunlom Falls. The plunge pool is a great place to relax and cool down on a hot summer’s day. It is also a safe place as far as crocodiles go.

Gloucester River Falls: Above the falls


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This picture is of the Gloucester River above the falls pictured in the last two posts.

There are a series of falls along this stretch of the river, including a section I have been unable to reach because of the drop. One day I hope to trace the river upstream and locate the last section of the falls and get some photos.

The area photographed includes some great little spots for a dip on a hot day.

The Beaches of Newcastle


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It has often been said that Newcastle has some of the world’s best beaches. I wouldn’t know about that – I haven’t visited all of them.

What I do know is that having travelled around a lot of Australia, Newcastle is certainly up there with the best that Australia has to offer.

It is hard, in my view, to define just what makes the best beach. I imagine that someone who surfs would have certain criteria that differs from someone like me, who likes the natural beauty of a place more than anything else when it comes to liking a beach.

I think the beaches around the West Australia town of Esperance are simply stunning and I currently rate these as the best beaches in Australia that I have seen. There may well be better beaches, but in my opinion, those of Esperance are better than Newcastle’s beaches. But that opinion includes criteria such as seclusion, natural beauty, etc. For recreational use, access, etc, Newcastle has some brilliant beaches that the locals adore. They are certainly good for a walk along when it isn’t too hot and they aren’t too crowded.

Indian Hawthorns are in Full Bloom


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Another sign that spring is here is that the Indian Hawthorns (Rhaphiolepis indica) are in full bloom and looking spectacular in the Tea Gardens Grange gardens. We have a large number of these plants with some planted in mass plantings and others in hedges.

The Indian Hawthorn is an evergreen shrub that usually grows 2-3m tall x 2m wide. There are several cultivars, with one having completely pink flowers. The flowers are generally followed by a black to blue berry. Flowers appear mainly in spring, though there can be some flowers at other times. There is a slight perfume, but I barely notice it.

Indian Hawthorns can be used as specimen plants, tub plants, hedges, in drifts and in coastal areas (salt tolerant).

Indian Hawthorns are best grown in full sun (though they tolerate semi-shaded positions in hot climates) with reasonably fertile, well-drained soil. They will respond well to regular shaping, including the use of hedging machinery.

Plants can be propagated by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.

For more Indian Hawthorn pictures visit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157622203247845/