Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Posts tagged ‘seasonal changes’

Spring digs her toes into the earth

I was going to say that my garden has been waking from her slumber over the last few weeks, but if she slept at all, she really had only the briefest of cat-naps.

One of my Japanese maples just starting to unfurl its first new leaves.

In winters past I would have said that nothing much happens from July to August, but now that I’m actually paying attention I can see that nothing stops around here, it just changes gears. And right now spring is notching up through the gears at a rapid pace.

Just a few photos of early spring to share this time round, winter coughs and colds have been playing havoc at our house, so changes in the garden are thanks to the efforts of spring digging her toes in, not me digging my fingers in the earth. I just hope I can get back out there before she turns her attention more fully to the weeds!

Sweet smelling hyacinth

Dutch crocus

This is the first year I’ve tried growing Dutch crocus, they are very pretty, but I made the mistake of planting them in my lawn and they are so tiny that they look quite lost. I might try transferring them to some pots for next year.

I love this time of year for the pansies and violas cheering up the garden.

Tiny tete-a-tete are having a great year.




Winter Solstice – Who Feels The Warmth of The Sun Today?

At last! It’s here! The shortest day of the year!

Those who read my earlier post whining about the days closing in will know that I’m not so excited because today is such a short day, but because tomorrow will be longer. It may be imperceptible, but I will know it is true in my heart of hearts!

So, here in the Gippy Garden I am celebrating my own little Winter Solstice Festival.

As the sun reaches its ‘lowest high point’ for the year today I thought it might be a good chance to see what manages to get a little sun on its face, to help me judge planting positions better for the coming year. I’ll have to try to remember to do the same at the summer solstice for comparison’s sake.

What is thriving in your garden at the solstice, be it summer or winter?

Melvin the cat demonstrating just where the midday sun falls, a cat is always a reliable measure!

Uh oh, didn't realise that the sun does not hit the ground at all during the shortest days in the butterfly and bee garden.

Beetroot just making it into a bit of sun. The sticks are to stop the cats snoozing on them.

I've sown a few peas here...I think I'll sow some more in a sunnier spot...

...but they are starting to emerge!

Coriander experiencing a total eclipse thanks to 'Possum'. No wonder they look a little flat!

Apart from looking at what is – and what isn’t – getting a little sun, let’s have a look at a few things that are doing well at this time of year. While lots of things slow down and have a bit of a sleep, there is never a time when everything stops and you can’t find something growing around here.

Lovely lemons!

My daughter's 'paperwhites' about to flower

Lorraine Lee rose peeking out from behind the Feijoa

A Grevillea. Lots of Australian native plants flower at this time of year - so I need more!

An 'Early Pearly' bloom looking sadly upon her lost petal.

'Debbie' camellia peeking over the fence and just starting to bloom, promising more colour to the winter garden.

Cheer Up Charlie!

I have to admit that I’m a little fed up with myself lately. I’m in a fug. Feeling flat and uninspired. Knowing that I have no good reason to be unhappy doesn’t help. Just makes me a little grumpier.  Grrr.

And I have had that song from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ going around in my head for the last three days. That’s hardly fair.

I don’t mind so much that it’s cold or that it’s wet. In fact, I’m quite taken by the fact that we have a patch of real mud in the back yard.

Look! Real mud! It's quite the novelty after a looooong drought.

But I hate that it’s dark so early. I am not excited about coming home from work to see the last light slipping out of my garden. Not excited at all. I think it just shows how much energy I have been getting from being able to get out into the garden and get my hands in the dirt. I really miss those long warm evenings of ‘daylight savings’ time.

The Gippy Garden at 6pm, about half an hour after getting home from work.

...and again without the camera flash on!

But it will all be OK soon. The ‘shortest’ day in my part of the world is on the 21st of June, just three weeks away. Yes, I am counting down. It’s bizarre, but as soon as I pass the Winter Solstice I cheer up. The next day might only provide an extra 0.00001 seconds of daylight, and the next two months are going to be colder and wetter as winter settles herself in, but I know the days are starting to stretch out again and I feel happy.

There. Even talking about it cheers me up!

Just to show you that there is beauty in my garden, and I really have no right to complain!

Of course, all those way up in the Northern Hemisphere (or even those in cooler parts of Australia 😉 ) can feel free to throw virtual snowballs at me for even thinking of complaining. I know that we don’t have what you might recognise as a ‘proper’ dead of winter, or even a proper winter as far as some are concerned!

It is in fact a ‘balmy’ 11 degrees centigrade (51.8 F) outside at the moment…and nights below freezing point aren’t all that common. Snow is a seven-year novelty that doesn’t settle on the ground in my valley (although the near by Mountains do get a reasonable blanket most winters) and I don’t have to face a spring thaw wondering if any of my plants have survived  (as many in the Northern Hemisphere did not so long ago). I can in fact, still grow some things.

My beautiful Japanese maples are still putting on a colourful show. Everything else that is deciduous is already bare.

This is why I love my maples so much!

So it’s time for me to stop complaining and go try a bit of night gardening 😀 Where’s that head torch?

How cute is this? A tiny self sown Japanese maple seedling changing colour just like Mum does at this time of year!

Autumn Embracing the Garden

The nights are turning quite chilly in the Gippy Garden now and the days are a much cooler 14 to 16 degrees celsius. The evenings are drawing in quickly and the time between getting home from work and dusk falling is getting ever shorter.

The good news is that we are getting the occasional clear cool blue day amongst days of lovely soaking rain.

There is a little autumn colour in the garden, but not a big show…just glimpses here and there…

Oak leaves changing... I'm not sure which type of oak it is.

The last of the golden autumn leaves of the river birch.

The only problem now is that my lack of planning for some colour in the garden beyond the brief autumn show is becoming quickly apparent. There are only a few spots of brightness to be found here and there. But bright and cheerful they are and I delight in visiting them whenever I can.

'Hocus Pocus' Pansy catching the last rays of the setting sun.

I’m growing a few pansies and violas from seed, but as they are still tiny, I  haven’t been able to resist buying some older seedlings to brighten the place up a bit. ‘Hocus Pocus’ is a new variety (here at least) this year and so is ‘Pink Fizz’ which I will show you soon when the buds open a bit more.

Bright and cheery little 'Yellow Buttons'

I’m very proud of my Yellow Buttons plant (Helichrysum ramosissimum). It’s as ‘common as muck’ and said to thrive on neglect. The seedling was all but dead when I bought it, so clearly I have been able to provide it with just the right measure of neglect 😉

It is a larval food plant for the Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi) and a few of our skippers, as is the Golden Everlasting below. I haven’t spotted any eggs or caterpillars on either yet, but as there have been a few butterflies fluttering about both plants I think I should probably look a little harder.

Greenish Grass Darts (Ocybadistes walkeri) on the Golden Everlasting (Bracteantha bracteata).

I keep thinking that I’ve seen just about the last of the butterflies for the year, but then we get another sunny day and there are a few more fluttering about the butterfly garden making the most of the remaining blooms. I’ll be enjoying both blooms and butterflies for as long as they last!