Today is the first official day of spring in Australia. Everywhere I look on the internet I see “Spring Has Sprung!” talk, yet in my subtropical area of the country I have hardly seen the sun at all today.
The temperature today reached 21 degrees Celsius, so 5 degrees lower than yesterday. I know the heat will return though, so I’m happy to enjoy the cooler weather while it’s here – first day of spring or not!
During the past week I have noticed buds springing from winter-dormant plants all over the garden. I’ve taken several photos and thought today would be the ideal day to share them. That plan has worked out well, as even though I have made a commitment to share a photo of the changing view of Mount Warning each day, I haven’t seen the mountain today! The valley has remained hidden by a layer of misty haze, so hardly inspires an image of the perfect spring day. This is how the mountain, or lack thereof, looks today. It just doesn’t seem right to post a dismal photo today of all days!
During the last few weeks I have planted a few new plants in my garden. The pretty pink tibouchina flower, above, is the first flower on one of my new plants. It’s only about eighteen inches in height now, but it will eventually become a small tree. Can you imaging the beautiful sight of a tree covered in these flowers?
“White Puffs” is not the official name of this flower, it’s the name I have given to a plant I can’t recall the name of! The flowers are so delicate and pretty, and so photogenic that they need to be shared.
My roses are growing incredibly well this year, and the season has only just begun! I am really looking forward to seeing more of my rose bushes in bloom over the next few weeks and I will be sure to take plenty of photos to share. My husband sneezes easily when around fragrant flowers, but even he loves the roses. He draws the line at having jasmine in the garden though. In the early years of our marriage I planted a beautiful jasmine which grew and flowered prolifically over our front patio. I loved the scent and would go into the garden especially to take deep breaths of the gorgeous fragrance! My husband spent the whole jasmine flowering season sneezing.
I absolutely adore fuchsias! My subtropical climate, however, is not kind to these beauties when planted out in the garden during summer. The solution? I have a fuchsia in a large pot on my front veranda, where it gets just the right amount of morning sun and is shaded and protected from the harsh midday and afternoon sun during the hottest days of summer. This lovely plant has now survived two subtropical summers, and this year has sprouted more new buds than ever before.
Port wine magnolia is another favourite and grows incredibly well in my climate. A few of the buds on the tree near my front door have popped open now, and the fragrance at dusk is amazing! Surprisingly, the fragrance doesn’t bother my husband, well, not too much anyway. 😉
Call me old fashioned – many have! – but to me, a garden just isn’t homely enough without a hydrangea plant or two. During summer I water the hydrangeas every day, remove leaves looking anything but pristine perfection immediately (to prevent any possibility of disease) and prune the old flowers to promote a longer flowering season. I also feed my hydrangeas, as well as several other flowering plants, with a regular dose of seaweed solution which I find improves the health of all plants, either decorative or edible. The start of my first hydrangea bloom only appeared a couple of days ago and I’m keeping a close eye on it to watch its development.
The Prince of Orange (Ixora) is another plant which thrives in the subtropics. The buds have just begun and I expect any day now to see the lovely tiny segments open up in full bloom.
Over the years it’s been a lot of trial an error in my subtropical garden. While there are less “errors” these days, it’s still a “trial” every time I introduce a new variety of plant. It is so rewarding to see so many of my old faithfuls, as well as my new plants, all in bloom even before spring begins this year. 🙂