14 Jun 2013

spring is almost here

(She says optimistically)
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. 


  1. I'm so glad I can picture Dunalley with jonquils! Your parents must be so happy. Is there green grass again as well? How is your dad's vegie garden coming along? Waiting for more pics!

  2. Ah! I am going down next week Jo, perhaps you would like a photo update?
    Their garden thought looks fabulous, I must say - it seems nature can take a great big kick and it regenerates wonderfully. Mum and I actaully joke (black humour here) that mabe I should torch my garden to make it come back so much greener. Dad's vegie garden is a bit negelected simply because he's had to work on the rest of the property, but i'm hoping to get in and help next weekend.
    I shall pass on your thoughts, they are always amazed and touched people ask after them thru my blog.
    Have a nice weekend Jo!

  3. Hi E,

    I didn't realise I was a Phenologist. A really big one! I am constantly watching for seasonal changes to my garden and the lovely surprises that occur at different times - forever changing.

    Yes...it is so exciting to see the first buds, they are like babies. I recently mentioned my Japanese maple tree and the way it expresses itself throughout the seasons. So precious!

    My property was blessed with a super large Pine tree. It inspired me to create a European style back garden and is the reason I bought the property. Weird I know! It is a charming gent and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to hug him.

    I also like to hide things in the garden. Little surprises for my visitors to find.

    I take it by Jo's comment that your parents were affected by the fires. I am happy to learn their garden is bouncing back.

    Mother Nature can be so cruel and also forgiving at the same time.

    Enjoy the promise of Spring!

    1. i can't remember the last time i hugged a tree, SB. certainly admired them and felt their trunks if the bark was interesting, but not hugged them. maybe i need to.
      and your maple would be like my birch trees - which are currently bare of leaves but it shows off their white trunks so much better. so every season is a chance to see a different side of its beauty.

  4. While I can tell you endlessly about everything kitchen related, the garden is not my thing. Though I had a plot once, and it gave me a lot of veggies, it doesn´t motivate me as much. I´d much rather stop by your house and pick up the produce...jaja

    1. paula, you're welcome to pop in anytime you're in the neighbourhood :-)

  5. I mark the seasons by the state of my peony bushes. At the moment they are in full bud and just starting to creak open - my husband has been watching the veg garden like a hawk but you'll always find me loitering at the back with my peonies. I love the word phenology now, thank you for adding it to my lexicon!

  6. hi hannah! it's great to learn something new, isn't it? i love the idea of your peonies 'creaking' open. now i'll be imagining what noises other flowers and plants make!

  7. Anonymous17 June, 2013

    Patience "young" grasshopper. Winter can also have its wonderful moments :-)


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