I am wearing the scent of gidgee this morning like an old comfortable cloak; we have had some lovely rain (is there any other sort) and the air this morning is thick with it. When I walked outside, I waved to the trees and they gently nodded back; or was it the gentle breeze? Soon they will be heavy with blossom, and when they nod, they will shower me in gold. Who could ask for more?
Last week, Mother and I went for a walk through the hills south of the house. We were testing out a track that Mr. Moble and I had picked out on motor bikes back in the heat of February, and he had subsequently graded with feather light hand. The ground works were completed in time to benefit from the rains we had in March; the track now settled and already enjoying the cover of the autumn response.
The day was clear and bright with a cool southerly to blow the flies away when walking into the wind, which we did for most of the morning. Mother refused the offer of a mid-walk thermos, so our knapsacks were light as were our spirits and, as always when walking with Mother, we set off at a clipping pace.
The initial climb is short and sharp and suddenly, you are on top of the world. In this flat channel country, you don’t need much height to give the illusion of grandeur and we paused at a rocky outcrop to view the 180 degree expanse beyond: a vision of silver, green and blue merging into distant mauve. And we both took a deep breath.
Now this is not an awe- inspiring view. It does not erupt in front of you and leave you gasping. Nor does it dazzle and overwhelm with intense colour and extraordinary geological formations. It does, however, reach out and enfold you even while it rolls out into the beyond. It makes you pause, absorb and breath it all in. Quietly. Well, it did for us, and we are not known for our united silence.
Onwards then around the top of the tableland, through groves of Bloodwoods, Corymbia teminalis, all budding up with bunches of soft green nuts. Later in the year, they will be dripping in flower, manna for bees and birds alike. We walked on to the Enchanted Tree, a veritable old Eucalyptus papuana, its massive base the perfect cubby house for a child, or tree fairies. Two galahs screeched at us from on high, we were obviously disturbing their cubby house and disrupting their morning plans. Theirs is most certainly a room with a view.
From there we hiked along at an easy pace, the undulating gentle slopes covered in red gibber, shining in the morning sun like sprinkled jewels in and amongst a cover of wildflowers. There were drifts of purple foxtails, green pussytail, and silvertails I longed to dig up and carry home with me. Patches of another great favourite of mine, the Crimson Foxtail, just perfect for the Impatient Gardener’s new grove garden. More blues and purples with cornflowers, bluebells, and the purple Minnie daisy. Squeezes of lemon appeared throughout with billybuttons and yellowtop. Some of these were so delicate it is hard to fathom how they flourish in the hard, stony soil. Yet flourish they do.
We stopped for a drink at Ruth’s Rockhole, still holding some water and filled with blue and yellow lilies. Once again, hard to imagine how quickly these plants return; in February, this was dry, with only the remnants of a few clumps of desperate bulrushes struggling on. Now, a little green oasis. This country’s response to a change in season is so rapid, its flora and fauna so resilient and enduring. Rather like its human inhabitants, luckily, we are blessed with long memories.
The box trees were a shimmering string of emeralds strung through the Grey Range crown, a glimmer of bright green winding along in the gullies, heading for the flat, channel floodplains. Before we reached our last look out point, a little patch of white caught our eye; I think it was Pretty Polly? The wildflower names on this track are surely born from a children’s poetry book, so evocative are they of nursery rhymes; foxtails, lambstails, billy buttons, bluebells, and pretty polly. They make you want to skip along and sing.
Any pause in our mother-daughter conversation revealed the surround-sound chatter of the birds, everywhere. We saw and heard quarrions, budgies, the endearing squeak of finches everywhere, galahs, Major Mitchells, Hall’s Warblers and quite a few glimpses of parrots various. This included the distinctive warble and a flash of olive and blue; I think the Blue Winged parrot? I have now spotted these birds twice here in the last couple of months and have been enthralled by their chit chat. Once heard, never forgotten. Of course, the Willy wagtails were with us all the way along, I am uncertain where they thought they were leading us but lead us they did.
A final glance at the big sky before we dropped down onto the creek flats and trees and wound our way along to our meeting point and homewards for lunch. Thank you, Mother, for joining me on that morning stretch, how special to share the Big Garden with you,
The Moble Gardener.
The Big Garden May 2020
Bloodwood Corymbia terminalis
Box Tree Eucalyptus populnea
Purple foxtails Ptilotus leucocoma
Green lambstail Ptilotus macrocephalus
Silvertail Ptilotus obovatus
Crimson Foxtail Ptilotus sessilifolius
Billybuttons Rutidosis helichrysoides
Cornflowers Brunonia australis
Bluebells Wahlenbergia gracilis
Purple Minnie daisy Minuria leptophulla
Yellowtop Othnna gregorii
Pretty Polly Polycarpaea corymbosa