Are you a phenologist? Either casually, or formally, meticulously recording your findings?
If you have a garden of any kind, I suspect you are a phenologist. I am (though I did not realise it) and my mother definitely is, though I suspect she was unaware too.
Phenology, I learnt recently, is the science of keeping track of seasonal changes – the first frost, the last of the pink nerines to flower, the first green leafbud to appear on bare deciduous trees.
About a month ago, mum said the first of her jonquils were already appearing. Not just the greenery poking thru, but actual buds and blossoms. Winter had barely begun, but here was one of spring’s perfumed blooms already nodding its ruffled, fragrant buds – and earlier, it seems, than usual.
In fact, on a recent visit to mum and dad's, I saw many pale yellow swathes of jonquils (probably the aptly-named 'erlicheer' variety) blooming across Dunalley and Boomer Bay - pretty reminders of gardens past, the bulbs safely buried beneath the ground, escaping the fires and now gloriously, triumphantly proclaiming their survival.
Meanwhile, my jonquils remained mysteriously hidden. They say a 'watched pot never boils' and perhaps there is a gardening equivalent; a scrutinised bulb never emerges? So I ignored them for a while. And then last weekend, in a most unexpected place - cold, shady - I found my first jonquil bud; fat, green, but promising.
So now - depsite many more months of gloom and cold ahead - I say to myself: Spring is almost here. It's just around the corner.
Have a lovely weekend.