It has been quite a lovely spring, but the honeymoon is over, and there are many ways every gardener in Sydney knows that. For starters, there was yesterday... if being billed as 'December 1, first day of summer' wasn't enough, the weather gods threw us a stinker of a hot, humid day with temperatures approaching the old century made worse, much worse, by stifling, muggy air. However, my sense that the honeymoon of spring had well and truly ended was with me before then. The finks have arrived in numbers.
When you see ants farming aphids, you know the honeymoon is over and the hard work of gardening in this mostly beautiful climate has begun.
Who has the perfect climate for gardening? No-one. Sydney is a wonderful place to grow so many plants. It's so mild here where I am, fairly close to the coast, that we never get frosts in winter. Rainfall is pretty steady, year-round, and a quick glance out the back door any day of the year and all you see is lush greenery.
So my complaints about the honeymoon being over are merely an annual regret. Spring is such an energising, enjoyable time in the garden. Everything grows like mad, the pests only come in dribs and drabs, and most of the gardening stories are happy ones.
What lies ahead in summer is still a lot of fun, but all plants now have uncertain futures (just like us). Pests and diseases are always on the agenda, bad summer storms can end a plant's career in 10 minutes, and so gardening becomes a bit more of a battle, yet I'm happy enough to get out there and do my bit.
Instead of finishing on that lamentable note, I really should keep things in balance by saying that almost everything is still happy and thriving. New flowers are appearing, the first flush of spring crops has already been harvested and the second set is up and growing, and the revamped succulent patch is getting into stride very nicely. So here are a few happy images of the kids in the backyard to finish.
|Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' had a rough winter; I actually|
fell into the bush at one stage during garden renovations, and so
I had to cut it back very heavily, but now it's starting to do what it
usually does for most of the year – flower its head off.
|At the base of the plectranthus, a row of little gomphrenas|
(little annual flowers) are matching the bigger plant behind
for enthusiasm in putting on a pinky-purple show.
|Next door to the plectrantus is a potted|
Tibouchina 'Groovy Baby' doing a purple thing.
|And in a sunny spot these daisies are beaming innocent cheer.|
OK, summer, bring it on! We're ready for whatever you have in store. (How about lots of sunshine with rain on Monday and Thursday nights? Too much to ask? Thought so).