November in a tropical garden

This article is extracted from Yuruga Newsletter
Vol 10 No 4 (November 2002)

The sights and sounds of November in a tropical garden …..
…… splashes of brilliant red, black, yellow,
……. and a raucous cacophony of bird sound.

As you drive around, you can’t miss the fantastic Flame Trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) in gardens and in the rainforest everywhere.

Equally as stunning is the gem of the tropics, the Tree Waratah (Alloxylon flammeum), which is also in flower in November. As the common name implies, this beautiful plant is closely related to the well-known waratahs of southern Australia, and has huge red flowers. The flowers are borne on the ends of the branches and so a tree in flower makes a very showy display. In the wild, the natural distribution of the Tree Waratah is centred in and around (but not restricted to) the rainforests of the Eacham Shire and this spectacular tree has been adopted as the fitting official emblem of the shire.

Cassia sp Paluma Range

Native cassias are a blaze of yellow in November. In our Yuruga gardens we have Cassia sp Paluma Range and Cassia tomentella absolutely dripping with huge racemes of bright yellow – the native cassias are so lovely, and at least the equal of the common exotic cassias (or better, if you’re unashamedly biased like us!).

Black Cockatoo

The Black Cockatoos are providing a fantastic flash of shiny black and red as they move en masse from tree to tree, ripping and smashing at all the seed pods they can find. They are having a field day with the heavy crop of eucalypt seeds weighing down the gum trees, and they are also active almost at ground level feasting on the large woody pods of the local bush hakea Hakea persiehana.

November means noise in a tropical garden – Black Cockatoos with their mournful screech, Channel-billed Cuckoos (they sound like a model-T ford trying to start, don’t you think?), Koels trying desperately to make it rain, Spangled Drongos bossing everyone around, Blue-winged Kookaburras who were absent the day they gave laughing lessons … there’s nothing very delicate or melodious about the sounds of November!

With a bit of luck it will rain soon!