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.
I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.
Trees by Joyce Kilmer
I haven’t managed to join in any of Cee’s Challenges for a couple of weeks. I never seem to be ready with a post in time but this week I am determined even if it has to be photos from the archives like this one of my beloved apple tree.
One of the bus drivers that used to drive the Dover to Hobart bus used to say “When you see the wattle you will see the snow. ” Well the wattle is blooming and snow is forecast for parts of Tasmania tomorrow. I don’t think we will get any but more elevated areas probably will.
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.
Today was a pleasant sunny day and the garden guys came by to cut the lawns. I thought that as it is summer solstice it would be a good time to take some summer pictures of the back garden. The new lawn has grown terrifically. I am just amazed at how quickly it grows back after being cut. The new trees are all surviving except for one bottlebrush that the guys accidentally cut off because it was lost in long grass. It had a spreading rather than upright habit so it wasn’t really their fault. We got a bit out of sync with mowing during October/November. The apple tree looks fabulous and has lots of fruit which will be ready around the end of February.
The bench at the bottom of the garden is the one that used to sit outside the back door. David used to sit there a lot. I decided to move it so that I could enjoy the view of the garden from a different angle and not have to look at the neighbour’s houses. It was nice to sit outside and listen the wind rustling through the tree and the faint chime from the windchime that I hung on a branch. A flock of cockatoos added a bit of a raucous note but there was twittering (not the phone kind) from other little birds like blackbirds and swallows. The new path has hardened nicely and it’s time to think about putting some more flowers about. I had a gift voucher that David got me last Christmas from the local hardware store which I hadn’t used yet so I decided to buy perennials, English lavender, daisies and pelargoniums and plant them in containers. Later I’ll get some French Lavender and other perennials and maybe some roses.
Autumn is coming to an end here in Tasmania. It has been a very pleasant one with lots of dry, sunny days. I seem to have spent a lot of it riding the bus to Hobart and back and the beautiful colours have really cheered me up a lot. As much as I love spring I think autumn may be my favourite season. Spring comes and goes so quickly and is often wet and windy. Autumn has lingered this year as if it didn’t want to go.
I’ve seen the cycle of the apple trees as they ripened and were harvested. Now the trees have turned yellow and the leaves have fallen as if they are exhausted from the effort of producing their crop. The cherries are long finished and so are the grapes. The poplars have turned from green to gold and now some of them are bare.
I would have loved to have been able to jump off the bus some days and photograph the things I’ve seen; driveways lined with ornamental trees that have turned red, Japanese Maples in gardens, roadside foliage. If I did jump off the bus though I’d have to wait hours for another so I store these scenes in my memory instead.
I have been to a few places where I could take pictures though. The Botanical Gardens are lovely in autumn and so is New Norfolk where we went the other week.
Recently my sister and I, after fighting the crowds at Salamanca Market on a Saturday morning, escaped to sit in nearby St David’s Park and we talked about why we like autumn so much. We are from England so our childhood memories are of the type of autumn we have here in Tasmania. We agreed that it is the variety of shapes and colours that we like. It’s nice to have the evergreens, the pines and eucalypts but we love the oaks, elms and other deciduous trees. As children we liked to collect acorns from a big old oak tree in our street. Acorns are beautiful and I appreciate them just as much now as I did when I was six or seven.
The days are getting shorter now and the piles of leaves are bigger. Children and some adults play with them in the parks but in the street they are starting to look a little sad and unwanted. The mornings are cold and sometimes foggy. I don’t mind too much. I like winter here too. It’s not too harsh. We get just enough snow to get excited about seeing it but not so much that it makes our lives difficult. I always hope to see a good snowfall at least once every winter but haven’t managed to photograph any for a few years. Maybe this year I will and later I’ll write a post about how much I like winter.