Friday, April 2, 2010


It's Easter. In the northern hemisphere, Easter means spring; here it's autumn. Not that my plum tree knows it. Confused by the hailstorms and the unexpected rain and after clinging to life through thirteen years of drought, the poor thing has reverted to its northern hemisphere instincts and is trying desperately to put out new leaves and blossoms, when the rest of the non-indigenous plants in my garden are just beginning to turn gold and crimson.

I love autumn leaves. In Australia, only the exotic species have autumn colour, most of the native plants  remain grey-green throughout the year, and only the new growth on the gum trees is crimson. I remember a glorious autumn in Scotland the year we lived there when I was 8, and I ran about catching coloured leaves as they fell -- I'd read in a story that to catch a leaf meant a day of good luck, so I wanted 365 leaves to give to my mother. I got them, too. I expect it gave Mum one day of good luck at least -- a child fully occupied the entire day and exhausted at the end of it.
One day I'll be in eastern North America to experience the full glory of deciduous Fall. But it won't be this year.

For me, Easter means barbecues in the bush, in particular the north east of Victoria, where we lived before we started moving every couple of years. The foothills of the Snowy Mountains.  I wrote about it here once. No barbecues this year, alas. I'm working through the Easter break. Everything is very quiet - most of my neighbours have gone away because it's the last break before winter.

And I'm not buying chocolate eggs -- I'm buying bulbs instead. Lilies, hoop petticoats, tulips, more freesias -- can you ever have too many freesias? I have them drifting across the front garden, naturalized in the grass and spread by seed. The fragrance is divine -- one of my favorites, and I've decided to have more in the back garden and hope they fill the lawn one day.

Buying bulbs on line is not quite as much fun as driving up to the bulb farms in the Dandenong Mountains, an hour's drive from here, but still, such a pleasure to plant papery brown things or small waxy lumps and a few months later a tentative gorgeous spike or two of green and then... flowers.

Have a fabulous Easter.