I chose to have deciduous trees in my garden because although they are bare in winter they are so pretty in autumn and it is always a treat to see the first new leaves in spring. I especially appreciate it after last summer when it was so hot and dry. I was quite worried about my garden while I was evacuated for two weeks. I mean I was worried that my house might burn down but I was also worried that my plants would die from lack of water but they all made it.
The apple tree has a nice lot of blossoms. I thought I would lose the lot before I could really enjoy them as it is windy here in spring but I didn’t. The tree looks untidy because it wasn’t pruned when it should have been.
My Japanese Maple acquired a bit of a lean in its first year and still looks a bit tipsy but the leaves are nice. I think that it must be different from what is known as a Japanese Maple in the USA because this one has red leaves all the time. This was planted in 2015. The lovely, light green Gleditsia has also had its issues. After the first year the leaves at top of the tree stopped growing so when last winter came I decided to snip the top of the tree off. I hope that it will encourage it to grow better. This was also planted in 2015.
When I came back home after the fires this Japanese Weeping Maple did not look good, leaves were dropping and the remaining ones had turned rather dark. I wasn’t sure if it was because autumn was approaching or it was struggling in the dry weather. Anyway, it’s back. Not very tall but a lovely shape and colour. It’s 3 years old now.
I did look up the name of this plant once but I have forgotten it. When we moved in it was a small and rather straggly tree. A branch broke off and David had our neighbour chainsaw it almost to extinction but it is a stubborn plant and came back. It is more shrub-like now and the former garden guys used to prune it into a more attractive shape. Most of the time it is not very pretty but for a few weeks in spring, it gets these wonderful flowers.
In the southern hemisphere spring is making an appearance. The first jonquils bravely flowered in June and as we rolled into July and August there were more early bulbs. We’ve had the daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinths and now the tulips. My apple tree is showing a hint of green and my Japanese and Weeping maples a touch of pink as their red leaves appear.
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.
The Japanese Maple is starting to show some colour too.
The apple tree is starting to show some green.
The first apple blossom.
This tree has a lovely shape.
Here are the leaf buds, an unusual colour.
The Gleditsia awakes from its winter sleep.
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.
New Photinia hedge. Now, just add water.
Almost a year after planting.
Here is the Photinia hedge which is now two years old.
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.
Marilyn’s Serendipity Photo Story this week was about autumn. Mine is about spring.
While folk in New England are wondering what happened to their Fall colours spring is in full swing in Tasmania. She teased us with a few beautiful days towards the end of August but even in September there was some backsliding into rain and snow. The daffodils came and went. Lambs were born and some sadly didn’t make it through the freezing weather. I’ve often wondered why lambs are born in late winter and early spring when there is a risk of them dying in the cold. Maybe a farming person can enlighten me as to why they couldn’t breed the ewes a month or so later.
Tulips are at their best in October in Tasmania and the cherry trees are showing blossom from within their netted enclaves. Our best cherries go to the Asian export market so the growers are very careful to protect the crop. Even then an unseasonable storm in November or December can ruin their hopes for another season. Who would be an orchardist? The apple trees are blossoming too, we still have a lot of orchards around the Huon Valley, even the apple tree in our garden which was bare just a few weeks ago has new green leaves and a pale pink blossoms. The apple tree got a severe pruning a couple of months ago and while I admired the shape of the bare branches I was a little anxious in case it didn’t recover. It remains to be seen if it will bear fruit this coming autumn.
It’s delightful to see all the flowering street trees planted by the local council as well as those in gardens. I don’t know all the names but weeping cherry trees seem popular as street trees. My favourite flowering tree has to be the tulip magnolia. I had never seen these before moving to Tasmania and fell in love with them at once. I’m determined that I will get one for my own front garden if not this year then next year for sure when we have finished landscaping the back.
Golden wattle has been with us right through the winter, a cheerful patch of yellow in the gloomy days. We used to have a couple in our garden at our old house but took them out because of trouble with blocked drains and an allergic neighbour. Now I’m thinking I’d like another.
Spring is not through playing games with us though. Now that she’s tired of tormenting us with frost and fog she’s trying wind and heat. All of the southern part of Australia had temperatures that were well above the October average for a couple of days this week. Luckily for us in Tasmania that means temperatures of around thirty degrees Celsius but on the mainland states it’s been much hotter. There have already been bushfires. The season seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
I am enjoying the bird activity too. I quite frequently hear kookaburras laughing and occasionally spot them perched on the power lines. I haven’t seen a Rosella in the garden since the day a very surprised one landed on the washing line. He must have wondered where the old shed and trees had gone. The apple tree is the only tree left now but I hope that the birds will like the new trees we are getting as I chose most of them with birds in mind. There certainly seem to be a lot of smaller birds paying visits to our garden today, must be that new lawn seed. One pair have been flying in and out of the garage and I suspect they may be planning a nest up in the roof space. We’ve had nests there before. Little blue wrens visit us too. We used to also see robins and the larger native hens when we first moved here but I haven’t seen either of those in a long time. Spring definitely seems to have sprung at last.
What a topsy-turvy week of weather we’ve had. Torrential rain, snow, frost, fog and then on Saturday a warm sunny day that felt a lot like spring. The first jonquils and daffodils are starting to appear. Here are some in my garden.