It was that period in the vernal quarter when we may suppose the Dryads to be waking for the season. The vegetable world begins to move and swell and the saps to rise, till in the completest silence of lone gardens and trackless plantations, where everything seems helpless and still after the bond and slavery of frost, there are bustlings, strainings, united thrusts and pulls-all-together, in comparison with which the powerful tugs of cranes and pulleys in a noisy city are but pigmy efforts. THOMAS HARDY ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’
SPRING IN MY BLUE MOUNTAINS NEST
I have several rhododendrons in my Blackheath garden called ‘Volcano’ and they are aptly named. As spring arrives, fissures are appearing in their buds, revealing deep red flowers that seem ready to erupt – like Mount Vesuvius.
THE DARLING BUDS OF…..SEPTEMBER!
All my previous gardens were in Sydney, where winter slides into summer before spring gets a look in. Since moving to the Mountains I am acutely aware of the garden stirring and swelling around me. The cinnamon and cream buds of the Michelia are so delightful I can’t resist stealing some. Now that we no longer need a wood fire I can put a vase of them on the stove.
I ordered two cubic metres of rotted cow dung recently , and noticed that internal combustion had raised the temperature of the pile. The manure was steaming in the cool air, and I stepped back fearing the whole pile might ‘blow’.
It’s such an exciting time of year. Shrivelled leaves on the maples are being forced off by new growth. Azaleas and ajuga begin to flower. ‘Dead’ sticks are showing signs of life, and long forgotten bulbs are appearing everywhere. The garden looks fantastic, though I say it myself!
Of course, the news is not all good. I spent the winter ruthlessly destroying montbretia bulbs, but they are coming back to life. I watch with horror as they emerge from crevices in dry-stone walls and lift flagstones. They remind me of Dracula, pushing aside the lid of his coffin.
The bowerbirds are stealing all my blue flowers, even though I generously supply them with bottle tops.
Meanwhile, cuckoos call, and sneakily lay their eggs in other folks’ nests.
Grey fantails are unnerved by the sudden surge of growth. They constantly spin on their perches, as though afraid of being seized from behind by twining clematis, or an errant hardenbergia vine.
I really have been seized; not by vines but by manic energy. Like the fantails, I cannot sit still for a moment. Friends watch in awe as I attack giant agapanthus clumps with a crowbar. My mattock wielding has been described as frenzied. When I visited the doctor for what I thought was a routine check-up he took my blood pressure and ordered me to rest. I think he fears I have spring fever and that, like the manure pile, my temperature may skyrocket, with disastrous results.
My associate Editor Des is rarely energized, but he does haul out his picnic basket when the azaleas and camellias bloom.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT SPRING? DO LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, BUT REMEMBER TO COMPLETE THE LITTE ANTI-SPAM SUM BEFORE PRESSING ‘SUBMIT’.
For another story about the Blue Mountains, click HERE