In the Top End of the Northern Territory the monsoon comes in bursts, sometimes only a few days, sometimes weeks when the sun is rarely, if at all, seen. In the mid to late wet season as these rainy periods pause, the flowers of Patersonia macrantha come out to greet the sun. In places these brilliant spots of mauve dot the ground cover throughout forests on sandy soils of the Arnhem Plateau. The stingless native bees (Tetragonula and Austroplebeia) are quick to find the flowers.

Top photo: Jan Cooke.

The Swamp Bloodwood (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa) flowers during the wet season, literally bursting into flower as the caps are pushed off the seed capsules and the brilliant blossoms that range from a deep hot pink to dark crimson emerge. The tree grows to 12m with a spreading crown and is associated with permanent freshwater springs and stream in both lowland and escarpment country. Indigenous artist George Garrawun told me that the best black colour used for painting on bark is made from the charcoal of E. ptychocarpa. The charcoal is gathered in lumps and then rubbed on a stone palette as water is added.

The Monsoon turned up to celebrate the New Year. It’s been raining steadily for about 18 hours and if we’re lucky we’ll have monsoon conditions cooling down the town for the next week. It has been a long and horrid period of “buildup”, temperatures in the mid 30s all day, barely dropping into the 20s at night and humidity full on. Today has been beautiful and great to watch the rain running off the corrugated iron roof to start 2015. May your 2015 bring you many blessings, and most of all peace and good health.