Whilst I have made a promise to myself not to mention the mundane in my ramblings to you, I must tell you the spider’s web just above my desk that has been distracting me for some weeks (she lies) has just been devoured by the vacuum. The simplest of tasks done and dusted. I can now sit here with a clear conscious, with just the big window at my shoulder to offer a distraction. Far more interesting than the cobwebs. Why do we delay the ordinary tasks that niggle at us all the same?
I have made a promise to myself this week, full of promises I am, to take a wheelbarrow load of weeds up to the chooks every morning, first thing. There are thistles enough here to warrant a Scotsman piping us in for dinner, as well as a successful crop of whatever mulch has been spread out by the trailer loads; barley and oats I should think. All easy to pull out and the girls are loving the pickings, they are starting to lay again as a thank you. It is an unrecognised fact that hens are extremely polite creatures, hens and bees alike.
I am really enjoying the quietness that descends upon the garden as the bareness of winter takes hold; there is such beauty in its starkness and the stillness. Most days I am pruning something as I go about my rounds, revealing anew the colour and patterns of bark and branches and buds swelling with the promise of spring. I almost feel we should speak in hushed tones as we trundle around, instead of shrieking to someone that they are needed on the telephone.
The Crepe Myrtles, Lagerstroemias, continue to thrill in their wintry dress. You will all know by now how I champion them; they are such a great little tree for this region. Their bark reminds me of oil in water, a swirling of silvers and russet, so smooth and inviting you cannot help but run your hands over it. The dried seed pods are excellent in a sparse winter arrangement, it’s all about sticks and stems here. The more layers I bundle on myself in winter, the less I seem to bundle into vases. This too marks the changes in the season.
The last of the Apricot and Peach leaves have fallen, so now it is only the Claret Ash and the Celtis that are hanging onto their colour still. The Celtis is glowing yellow and if you are underneath when the breeze lifts, it is like a shower of fine leaves; the stuff of fairy tales and gardens.
I am planting out some more broccoli and cabbages this week, I think the last batch as the spring heat will blow in and they will bolt in no time. Even the last week of warmer weather has sent some of the broccoli into flower…soup, soup, soup. Winter vegetables have such a short time out here to hearten up or bust. The peas are delicious though, and we are picking them every day though I notice none are making it onto our plates.
Once again, this week the generosity of gardeners has thrilled me: a parcel in the mail with an arty card and a little bag, Liberty of London no less, of hollyhock seeds. All from Mrs. Green who, amongst talents many and varied, is a true gardener: imaginative, knowledgeable and creative. I hope she won’t mind my quoting her card, as her description of these flowers made me swoon: “They were a joy to behold this year, great arching stems of cream and green waving in the wind, giving respite to my honeyeaters and wrens and pleasure to us all.”
Honestly, that was almost enough to make me want to roll on into summer, something unheard of around here. I have Mrs. Brown’s poppies popping up in the garden as well, thanks to her envelope of seeds in April, so even though we are all so far away, we are together in our gardens. I can hear the chatter now.
I hope you can have a cup of tea in your garden this week with a friend,
The Moble Gardener