Spring time is upon us, and so I ask you please
Do not blame the wattle if you sniffle or you sneeze -
(It's more likely that spring grasses are the culprit when you wheeze,
Or wind-blown ''pine dust'' ,and the pollen from the weeds.)
Please don't plant tomatoes yet, or the poor things will freeze:
(These balmy days are simply nature's plan to tease.
Tomorrow it may go down to minus three degrees).
But do plant lots of salvias now for nectar for the bees,
Plant spuds, too, asparagus, and don't forget the peas,
And do clean off all ''mummied'' fruit clinging to the trees -
Those pear and apple corpses simply spread disease.
And if your local possum thinks your pergola's a trapeze,
Make sure a backyard blue gum is the first thing that he sees,
Or he'll eat your poor sad rose bushes right down to their knees.
Remember that a garden's cheaper than those gymnasium fees -
You'll also get tomatoes, and plums for the deep freeze,
And now the leaves are all unfurling in their reverse strip tease
You don't need to be a gardener, and need no expertise
To see spring happiness and blossom, in the glory of the trees.
This week I am:
- Writing excruciatingly bad verse - all the pollen in the air can make even sensible people frisky.
- Still looking for the first asparagus spear of spring. I suspect the asparagus is waiting for some water before it decides to get active, but it won't get it unless it rains.
- Counting the wombat pouches that obviously have babies in them. A large number of baby wombats at this time of year usually means there will be enough grass for them in summer, and thunderstorms even in this drought. Unfortunately though, wombats only predict the weather for their own territory, so this prediction is valid only for the north end of the Araluen Valley.
- Sadly farewelling the last of the camellias, and greeting the first roses. The white banksia is in bloom all over the wood shed and what were once a male and female juniper trees are now just props for a vast rambling rose bush. If you want juniper berries, the traditional flavouring for gin, you need both male and female juniper trees, or the female's tiny and insignificant flowers don't get pollinated. They are tall but narrow trees, and if you plant a male and female in the same hole they'll only take up a single tree's worth of space, plus you can be fairly sure you'll get good germination and a plentiful supply of berries after five years or so.
- Wondering what fruit trees to give everyone this Christmas. There is a new red-fleshed native lime available now, which will grow almost anywhere, including pots on a patio, the garden equivalent of the Sahara Desert, and they give flush after flush of fruit all through the warm weather. They also survive drought and neglect and don't take up much space, important attributes to consider when giving plants as gifts.
- But on the other hand, it is impossible to have too many home-grown apricots, because the ones you buy in shops are floury and have almost no taste or juice at all (A good apricot should squish, and fruit sellers are not fond of fruit that squishes). If you do not have an apricot tree, run, do not walk (or walk, do not drive) to your nearest garden centre to buy yourself one quick smart.
- Watching the hand of bananas ripening in the laundry, and feeling extremely smug (and grateful to nature, who did all the work, not me) that we sometimes have a crop of bananas in this climate.