A Year in the Garden

It’s been a good year to watch the garden. Day by day. Season by season.

Summer

Summer’s drought, fires, smoke, and hail depleted garden crops.

I left the meagre ‘Maypole’ crab apple crop on the tree and let the crimson rosellas enjoy a modest feast. In years past, the fruit had morphed into an annual supply of ruby red jelly.

Heat and smoke affected the Jardins de Bagatelle roses, too. Blooms came and went in a day.

Autumn

There were still some pomegranates on the tree in early Autumn. I made Barley and Pomegranate Salad, and ate it for days. No one else in the house seemed much interested. The response to Belinda Jeffery’s Pistachio and Lime Syrup Cake was rather more positive. It disappeared quickly.

Through the kitchen window, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum dissectum) coloured my days.

Winter

From June to August, there was plenty of frost, but not much produce. Only the lettuce, sheltering under the eaves, was unstoppable.

Mostly, I watched the grevillea (I think a lavandulacea).

For several weeks, I was captivated by the plant’s ‘spider’ flowers, as was a new visitor to the garden – an eastern spinebill, arriving daily at lunchtime. I never managed a photo that wasn’t blurred by the bird’s hovering habit. J J Harrison had more luck (as well as rather more skill and, I’ll warrant, a superior camera).

Eastern spinebill, Australian National Botanic Gardens. Photographer: J J Harrison

Spring

The ‘Maypole’ crab apple was first to announce Spring’s arrival in the garden. Then came the ‘Flamenco’ Ballerina apple and the ‘Trixzie’ pear (cv. Pyvert).

The lime tree offered up its annual crop, and the kitchen became a production zone for cordial and chutney.

Summer … again

Zucchinis proliferate, snow peas tumble from raised beds, apples cluster along branches, and the pomegranate conveniently decorates itself for Christmas.

The zucchinis don’t care who won the US Presidential election, the snow peas are blissfully unaware that we ever had a toilet paper shortage, the apples refuse to stay in ‘iso’, and the pomegranate is brazen in its unmasked glory.

New seasons lie ahead. There will be new presidents and, in all likelihood, new pandemics. As I tend and watch my small patch of garden, I continue to keep in mind the land on which it grows: always was, always will be…

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