Wakey, wakey little garden. Well, that's what I've been whispering in its ear for the last week or so, and I think it can hear me now. Spring is stirring early, as it always does here in the mild coastal zone in which I live. Several plants are on the rise, forming flower buds, sending out new leaves, offering promise of some old razzle dazzle in just a couple of weeks. First up, the Scadoxus are sending up their remarkable torches, which I am hoping will burst into a blaze of colour before August 22.
Here they are this morning (I'll do the weeding on the weekend – promise). Four weeks ago they were just bulbs poking out of the ground, then whoosh! Up they come. I'm hoping for flowers by August 22, because that's when our great mate Amanda is coming up for a visit from Kyneton in Victoria. She's as nuts about gardening as we are, and so it would be nice to have something in bloom when she gets here.
I can only hope this year's lot will look as good as these Scadoxus flowers did, when I photographed and blogged about them last year. It would be especially appropriate to have them in bloom for her visit, as Amanda is originally from the same country as the Scadoxus, whose common name is the Natal paintbrush. Amanda's not from Natal, but she is from South Africa.
If I can't persuade the scadoxus to bloom for Amanda, hopefully these Cymbidium orchids will oblige. These are lovely big pinky-white ones, and once they start blooming they'll keep on looking gorgeous for weeks.
OK, so these aren't blooms, but they are cute and the first signs of true happiness with the nardoo, the native floating fern, in my potted goldfish pond. The nardoo has grown and spread since I radically cut it back in May, but the leaves have taken on a coppery hue over the chills of winter. So I'm hoping these little nardoo heads herald a return to a more grassy green covering for the goldfish to hide beneath.
While I'm down at the goldfish pond there are excellent signs of life from my Louisiana iris as well. All the long, strappy leaves went yellow and died back during June and July, but a few weeks ago stacks of new leaves just erupted from the surface. The books tell me that I should expect to see blue iris flowers on tall 75cm high stalks in October. Whoever said waiting isn't exciting obviously isn't a gardener.
And so there are glimmerings of spring everywhere at the moment, without a lot of truly colourful action yet. Driving around the streets of Sydney the many deciduous magnolias (which can be found in virtually every street here) are in full bloom now (mostly the pinky-white soulangeanas). When I see those magnolias I always think to myself "spring is four weeks away". Hope I'm wrong. Hope it's sooner!