Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Petty jealousies

It was a comment from Jo in Melbourne, complaining gently about her fair city's recent lack of rain, that got me thinking about this next, not very serious, post. We're a jealous lot, we gardeners. Talk about "the other one's grass is always greener"! There's always someone else who we gardeners can envy in a very green way. Usually it's for their idealised climate. So often I wish I could do some gardening in another climate zone, just for a year or three. Where else would you like to do some gardening, if you had your wish come true?

Jo's comment arrived on the same weekend that a friend showed me a photo of her wonderful crop of fresh quinces from her backyard tree. No, that's not her quinces in this photo above. They're some I bought in our local 'Banana Joe's' fruit and vegie supermarket here in Marrickville. At least the quinces are in season now and I guess that's what really counts. But I would love to be able to grow my own. 

And so, here's my list of petty jealousies, in no particular order. 

1. I am jealous of those in cool climate gardens who can grow what I can't grow here in Sydney, in particular quinces, raspberries, cherries, Seville oranges, Cox's Orange Pippin apples, plums and pears. 

2. I am jealous of those in tropical climate gardens who can grow what I can't grow here in Sydney, in particular great mangoes, mangosteens, rambutans and pineapples. And cardamoms and nutmeg trees, too. And zillions of orchids, and flowering gingers...

3. And woe is me for residing in a place with humid, clammy summers, instead of somewhere nice and hot and dry and Mediterranean in summer (like Perth, Adelaide, or California or South Africa, or Greece or Spain) where I could much more easily grow pomegranates, olives, grapes, caperberries and huge drifts of lovely lavender. 

Before everyone leaps in and says "you can grow mangoes in Sydney, pineapples too" and "we grow olives, figs and grapes here in Sydney town too." I know, I know. But it's such a lottery when you garden in the wrong climate. Some seasons it all works fine, others are disasters. Besides, all the tropicals grow too slowly down here, and the Mediterraneans cark it in a really humid Sydney summer. In the ideal climate zones for all these crops, most seasons are good ones. Trying to grow these crops in the "wrong" climate zone, out of sheer bloody-minded "I'll show them" gardening envy, is utterly normal for gardeners, but a tragedy waiting to happen, as it does again and again. 

So this is a not-very-serious griping post for me, and I'm not really jealous of others, either. It's just sometimes I feel a little fleeting pang of garden envy, comforted only by knowing that someone else, somewhere else, is envious of lucky little Jamie and Pam in evergreen, lush, easy-grow, warm-temperate, cuddly Sydney. 

However... if I was a rich man, I would definitely buy a property in all the climate zones that I'm currently jealous of, and flit between them cultivating all the forbidden fruits I can't really grow all that well in Sydney. That's a sensible plan for a jealous man. Shame I'm poor...


Jo said...

Well, I'm glad to provide some inspiration (although I wish it arose from a more positive sentiment :)). Having lived and veggie gardened in Sydney (Marrickville!), Melbourne and Brisbane, I have been disabused of most of my climate-related 'grass is greener' assumptions. In Sydney, I could never get on top of the downy mildew and longed for a colder climate to grow my favourite fruits. In Brisbane, I was totally stymied by fruit fly and soil bacteria until I realised that I had to reverse most of my assumptions about seasonal planting, but holding off the possums and birds while making use of the latter's predating capabilities was a losing battle. Melbourne has proven the easiest (current lack of rain notwithstanding), but I still think fondly of the longer growing seasons further north when I am watching my eggplants limp to fruition.But the truth is, any climate and environment is a challenge and the wonder of gardening for me is the learning and experimentation that goes along with working with the place I'm in at any given time.

Jamie said...

Everything you've said is right, Jo. No matter where you are, it has its problems, and that's half the fun.

Padaek said...

I'm jealous of those quinces that you have. I hope that Pam is painting them, if so, I can't wait to see them. :) Who needs many gardens when you have Banana Joe's so close by, especially when it's air-conditioned in there too. Best wishes! :)

Sue O said...

I often chuckle when I see locals here wrapping their banana trees with bubble-wrap in the winter. But I have killed my fair share of lemon trees and other tender plants, here in the Pacific Northwest. My sister and her husband live in a little town on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. They have a lovely little microclimate where they grow citrus and feijoas and all manner of fruit and veggies and tropical succulents, which i adore. So I guess that would be my choice. And then i would get to enjoy my sister's company all the time, instead of for just a few days every couple of years.
You might enjoy my last blog post of our spring glories.

Diana Studer said...

zone denial in our mediterranean climate? Yes, guilty as charged. I've done in fynbos proteas and ericas - too hot. Ferns, summer rainfall, sub-tropicals from the wrong side of our country - too dry. Sometimes I envy northern gardeneners the downtime in winter.
Today is cool, foggy and green!