Hobart is in the grip of a chaotic spring. While the ugly winds have blown themselves away, the temperatures, rain and sunlight levels continue to see-saw confusingly. For example, a couple of weeks ago we had a run of four blissful days, each getting hotter and brighter (and marvellously coinciding with the weekend!), climaxing at a hot-for-Hobart 28. A day or two later, one of my oft-checked weather websites flagged that the temperature was 10 - but it felt like 8.
We've had gloomy, wet and yes, cold days; I have not yet mothballed my woollen scarves or drycleaned my coats because I am still wearing them. But we've had teases, as described above; flashes of shorts-and-t shirt weather requiring a hasty retrieval of lightweight clothing from its napthaleney winter hibernation.
What does this mean for my vegie patch? Overall, it has still been too winter-like, because nothing seems to have moved since my last garden share report. In fact, my basil-in-the-ground appears to be going backwards, because it's had too much rain and not enough heat. The peas, beans, tomatoes, passionfruit, lettuce - they don't know what's happening, so they are sitting tight and not progressing at all.
So if you don't mind, I'll show you around my flower garden instead, which in contrast to the vegies, is flourishing. While the mild winter and wet spring combo is one reason for this showiness, earlier in the year I spread around a couple of bags of sheep manure that dad got for me, then a layer of sugar cane mulch. This fed and protected the soil for a few months; once it started getting a bit dingy, I spread about bags of wood chips that I also got from dad (by-products of the January fires; all the damaged trees were chipped and left in piles around the district for everyone to help themselves to).
So the soil is the best it's been and the plants are proof: everything is at that perfect moment right now, which seems all too brief; it looks lush and colourful and gloriously pretty, not yet gone-to-seed or overcome by the heat.
My lavenders - mum and I furrow our brows in forgetfulness; French or English? Small flowers with that pungent, almost-bitter aroma we both prefer. I love their appearance here, right on the verge of being out. They remind me of those fibre optic light decorations so popular in the seventies; I'm giving my age away.
Now these I love: phacaelias (I pronounce them in my head as 'fah-see-lia', but have no idea if that is correct). Like all blue flowers, they attract the bees like nobody's business - a good thing! I have them in my vegie patch as well, and I love watching bees clamber across their soft tufty surface.
Let's get to the roses. Mention the word 'roses' to anyone here and they're sure to reply, 'oh! It's a good year for roses this year!' or 'the roses are good everywhere this year!'. Because they are. The mild winter followed by this crackers spring weather is turning suburban streets decadent with blowsy, vibrant colour. Mine are looking fabulous, too. This pretty, ballerina-pink-tutu of a rose - the bush is heavy with bunches at the moment - makes for a sweet display on the table at my front door:
That rose was here when I moved in, and we are not sure of its exact name; if you have any guesses please let mum and I know. Last year I bought two new ones to ramble across my front wall and disguise the grey subrurban brick. I planned two different shades of pink for a dappled effect. The first is Zepherine Drouhin, a hot lipstick pink with a glorious heady fragrance. The other is Pierre de Ronsard. I love its fat cabbagey blossoms and the pale green and white at each flower's base. Blushingly ultra-feminine! I can't wait till they are fulfilling their brief and obscuring the walls (google-image the roses' names to see the effect I'm hoping for; take a deep breath while you're there), but in the meantime, they still give me much pleasure.
I'm even enjoying my neighbours' choices. This banksia tree overhangs our shared backyard fence, and with its brilliant scarlet heads, I do not mind one bit [correction: it's a bottlebrush not a banksia! Or more correctly, a callistemon.Thank you Linda!].
Finally, let's go out with a magnificent snapdragon that is actually growing in a garden bed. As opposed to growing in a crack in the driveway or a pile of gravel I haven't yet flattened or under the birch trees where I don't really want a pink snappy. Snappies must have some fiercely independent, travelling hippy gene, because they'll turn up wherever they want to, thank you very much, not where you would love to see them. But how can I get too cranky when they are this showy?
So I hope you don't mind that I have cheated on the Garden Share Collective. In all honestly, if you would like to see what my vegie garden looks like right now, please take a look at November's post - as I said, it doesn't seem to have budged a bit.
To do this coming month? Hope we get some consistently warm weather. It would be nice to pack away my winter woollies, and it would be fantastic to see something happen in the vegie garden.
Don't forget to see others in the Garden Share. Click on the logo in the column at right to see more green thumbs.