It is finally starting to feel like spring around here. The daffodils have been and gone but they are optimists and usually start showing up while there are still frosty mornings and sensible people are still wearing their winter underwear. The rest of the bulbs apart from the grape hyacinths were content to wait till we had a few sunny days before making an appearance.
Most of my spring bulbs are in containers this year. I’ve had grape hyacinths, star flowers which are still going, the tulips have just started to flower and a couple of hyacinths are teasing me with lots of leaves but no flowers as are a couple of other pots of assorted bulbs such as the Sparaxis which has started to flower this week. The English lavender and Federation daisies I potted in the autumn have made a good come back as have two bargain box rose bushes that I bought around the same time. The pelargonium sadly didn’t make it. I’m not sure why. The polyanthuses and pansy seedlings I planted have come up a treat too except for the ones in the bottom of the bird bath/ planter. I had my doubts about those though, it seemed rather a shallow planter to support anything much.
My lovely apple tree has started to show some green leaves and the Japanese Maple some red ones. I had been watching the new deciduous trees closely for weeks. This was their first winter and although I know they are meant to be dormant they just looked like dead sticks in the ground. The Gleditsia did not even have any branches to speak of but over the past week little shoots have burst out all over it so although it’s still rather stick like at least I know it’s alive. Around the side of the house the Weeping Japanese Maple has also started to show some foliage. I bought it on the recommendation of Jason, one of my “garden guys” who has one in his garden. It was bare when I got it and by far the most expensive tree I’ve bought so far. David would have had a fit I’m sure, he’d have seen more sense in ten fifteen dollar trees than one that cost a hundred and fifty but it’s supposed to be a very spectacular tree. I liked the weeping habit, that’s what I really bought it for but the foliage is a very unusual colour as well.
I have been out taking my annual picture of the Photinia hedge too. Despite the fact that I lost one tree over the summer it’s really starting to look like a hedge now and I do love the colour of the new growth. Pretty soon I will be getting the outside of the house painted and I’m thinking about doing the balustrades and front door in a red to match the hedge. There are a lot of red plants in both the front and back gardens, it is my favourite colour after all. There are red roses, down one side between me and the neighbours and the plants in the border at the back have red flowers, the Australian native Callistemon and the South African Leucadendron. Neither of those two are showing a spring growth spurt yet but I’m hoping they will shoot up a bit over the next few months.
Here is the hedge now, this time last year and when it was first planted.
The birds are back too. I’ve started to notice more varieties visiting the garden as well as the sparrows and blackbirds I get throughout the year. I haven’t managed to capture any pictures yet because at the moment they seem most active first thing in the morning. I’ve been getting a visits from swallow like birds with black backs. I think they are “Welcome Swallows”; they fly in and perch on the wire that carries a power line from the house to the shed. I’ve seen a few finches, the Green Rosellas that visited a few weeks ago and this morning a pair of Superb Fairy Wrens. I often see the males who are bright blue and black and easy to spot, the females are a more modest brown. I read that juvenile males can also be brown but as it is the start of the breeding season I think this mornings pair were honeymooners checking out the real estate. The apple tree was very popular as a bird apartment block last summer and remained so until it was practically bare.
I started writing this post a week or so ago before we had another round of extremely wet weather. I had to wait for a dry day to take the last couple of photos and it is amazing how much things have grown in just a week. The maples and the apple tree have a lot more leaves on them now and the apple tree even has a few flower buds. The Sparaxis started to flower, I had just about given up on it. I also have some gladioli bulbs coming up ready for summer. I’m quite excited to have so many flowers this year as I haven’t really had much success growing flowers in the past. That’s why I usually stick to daffodils and other flowers that don’t require a lot of skill to grow. When we lived in South Australia the climate was much too hot and dry in summer to grow much and our garden was primarily limestone and required a lot of effort to dig. We had things like Oleander and Gazanias although I did manage to grow some bearded Iris’s which were very pretty. I like the Tasmanian climate much better though because I can have the English flowers I love as well as Australian and South African native plants in the drier parts of the garden.