My garden here is full of friends, I can chat to them as I stroll around, exclaim to them how they have grown, without offending. Our gardens are also filled with memories and a parcel from Mrs. Green on Friday’s mail has created a rather special one for us all to share and treasure here. You will remember Mrs. Green, she of the hollyhocks. Not to be confused with Mrs. Brown of the poppy and grapevine and roses. I have such colourful friends.
Anyway, a brown paper bag revealed a bundle of snowdrops. A note explained they were flowering in her beautiful Ararat garden when Brian’s father died last year, and she thought we would like some bulbs of the same. You see, dear readers, these are the gifts in your life that create a true garden. A sweeping gravel drive may deliver largesse to impress but that little plot of snowdrops nodding in the August freeze will bring us such joy and remind us of what and who really matter. Strong of heart with a gentle soul, Mrs. Green is undoubtably a woman of the west.
Interestingly, in the language of flowers, snowdrops represent rebirth, hope and sympathy. Three powerful words, all wrapped up in that ethereal little flower. I love the line from Corinthians, these three things remain: faith, hope and love. Another trio of powerful words to hold tight; I think of them now when I see our country blooming with wildflowers.
Brian’s sister (Angela’s Rose) told me once her grandmother grew snowdrops in the Old Garden here, under a mulberry tree underplanted with violets. Now there is a vision worth conjuring and after a summer of fiddling in the Old Garden, I can imagine violets would flourish in the deep soil there. They are less inclined to flourish in the gibber stone on this side of the creek, despite my best efforts. Something to work towards though and the snowdrops will be planted with great care.
As I write to you this morning, the sky is quite overcast and the early morning air crisp enough to make my eyes water; the joy of a damp autumn has no bounds. We have been out and about mustering various this week, cattle one day, sheep the next. We have fat stock, green feed and mud to play in so, taking it one day at a time, great days indeed. I love this time of year, suddenly the sticks and brambles you smash over on your bike become alluring kindling and I find it hard not to stop and gather it up, the first fire won’t be far away. Totally impractical of course, when you are hours from home on a bike, but the urge is there all the same. That and to drive headlong into any patch of mud in the blind belief that your four-wheel drive will get you through. Mr. Moble and I have been a happy tandem of pushing and pulling our bikes out of mud all week.
So, from the big garden beyond to my little patch of scratchings here on the creek, I am watching out for the first hint of autumn in the leaves and instead have noted the first hint of caterpillars eating leaves. The downside of all those butterflies no doubt. The Chinese Tallow tree, Sapium chinensis, a great little autumn show piece is looking very ragged around the edges alas. Oh well, that is the price we pay for the green and all that butterfly bling. I have not spotted the soldier/army grubs much in the news of late, though am not certain what they would look like. The reports suggest regiments marching down from the North in manner of grub garrisons or similar. I am hoping they find us too stony, too sparse and too far away, like the railway and the NBN.
The rose bed has been taken over by a carpet of cosmos and looks incredible. Waist high and swaying in the breeze, a sudden bust of pink and white with the seeds from early summer. They are popping up all through the garden too, little surprises to thrill. How we love the generosity and tenacity of the self-seeder.
Lastly, chatting about friends in the gardens reminds me of a wonderful garden book Down to Earth, written by Beatrice Bligh, a renowned Australian gardener from the Goulburn district in New South Wales and mother of the noted Australian landscape architect Michael Bligh from the same. In it she writes about the special plants she has received from dear friends and how, if given something that becomes somewhat of a weed, you look upon that person with renewed suspicion. She writes with great experience, honesty and humour and this book was a constant on my bedside table for years. We visited her inspiring garden at Pejar Park, in the company of Michael, which was both entertaining and informative. It was as described, a simply beautiful Australian country garden, created by the hands of an inspired and artistic gardener. If you can find the book, read it. I am going to visit it again and then pass it on to the Impatient Gardener,
I wish you all a safe and happy Easter in the garden,
The Moble Gardener.