Saturday, 29 May 2010

autumn in melbourne

Autumn in Melbourne confuses me.  I'm used to autumn and winter being distinct seasons.  The leaves are meant to turn around September/October (March/April in this hemisphere) and by December (June here) it's officially winter and then the winter solstice.  But because it's warmer in Melbourne than anywhere else I've lived, everything's just a bit off.  Sure you get some "cold" days in March and April, but it's the end of May and the leaves are only now reaching their peak of colour because we've only just had a few weeks of nights around 8 or 10 degrees.  So to me it only now properly feels like autumn, but it's almost winter.  It won't get much colder than this all winter long, and in a month it'll be the solstice and the days will start to get long again.  And I kid you not, in a month or two we'll get the first spring flowers.  When there are still some autumn leaves.  So in one way proper "winter" feels very short because autumn and spring crowd it out ... but on the other hand it feels very long because the temperatures stay in the range of 8ish to 17ish quite steadily for 4 or 5 months. 

That's enough waxing philosophical.  Now for some autumn colour!  Sadly no grape vine this year, I had to cut back the neighbour's vine because it was making the fence lean.  But the birch trees this year are lovely.  The last few years they were stressed and looked more dead than autumnal, I really thought they were going to die.  This year they just look amazing.
Under the birch trees are quite a few mushrooms.  No idea what kind they are but I thought they looked pretty autumnal.
And though I'd never think of the fig tree as being a very autumnal tree, it does look pretty nice whilst it loses its leaves.  It doesn't really turn and then drop them, it's more like the ones on the inside turn yellow and fall, then the middle ones, before the last outside ones take their turn.
I'll post more pictures as a few more plants in the garden take their turns.  In the meantime, autumn also means changing over the flowers by the front door to my favourite winter flowers: violas!
And autumn also means it's time to tidy up some summer-flowering plants.  I had a go at the front corner bed near the bird bath.  I thought I had a "before" photo of this corner but only now realise my last photo was from back in January!
So use your imagination.  The African blue basil in front of the bird bath was covered with spent flower spikes and overgrowing the path it was so lush.  The blue saliva on either side of the bath was doing exactly what I'd hoped - it had grown nice and tall (almost twice as tall as it is now) and has been covered in blue flowers the entire summer. But they both needed a good haircut so that they can spring back again in ... well, spring.  Oh and I also got a bit over-zealous and lopped off the top of the magnolia there on the left.  It never got watered before I moved in and was quite leggy and the middle bits didn't have any leaves at all.  So I chopped off the top two branches to encourage it to get more bushy. It just might take a few years to reach that same height again ... ah well, I'm thinking long-term here!


Mari said...

Hey, send me the Genus/species on the blue salvia and the African basil thingy you have in your birdbath garden. They look perfect for the garden I'm dreaming up in my yard!