The seasons have turned, and it’s now secondspring. I do enjoy this season. The ducklings look a little like gawky teenagers, still fluffy but quite large. The wildflowers that most characterise the state are finishing up, at least around Perth, except where we’ve carefully gardened them to extend their season. The red and green kangaroo paw hangs its head in a spidery string of drying flowers and the wattles are beginning to loose their incandescence and become just a dry yellow instead of gold. There are new wildflowers sneaking out – I think of the purple fringe lilies and the shy slender black Haemodorums as being the poster children of this season. I haven’t seen any yet, but I know they’ll be here soon. Normally I wait for them to show before calling the season. But it’s too clear the season’s swung.
We’ve had nights warm enough to leave a window or two open. The sun’s rousing us before seven and it actually feels like morning, not just something that had some glow paint brushed on. The days have started being warm and not just temperate, so I have to pay attention to managing the kids with heat and not just sunburn. The afternoons are long and bright, so that I can walk out into the garden after dinner and know the kids have another hour of good playtime before mosquitoes force us in. In that same hour, the neighbours are hanging out on their back patio with a beer and “Highway to Hell” cranked up loud. The Cape Daisy is still flowering but it’s more seed than petal now. I’m looking at the grass thinking that this might be the point where if I mow it it’ll finally stay mowed (I can’t wait). I’m not the only one – the radio is running ads with blokes saying their missus is onto them to get the back yard cleaned up. Almost all the grasses have made seed, even though they’re still green. My brother calls this antheresis I think he said – the point when the grasses have finished growing and are putting all their energy into making grain. His job at the moment is counting barley. Or something like that, it can occasionally be difficult to get the details from him.
“Why do you count barley?”
“So I know how many barleys I have.”
“What if one bit of barley should accidentally fall?”
“Then I’ll have one less barley sitting on the bench.”
Secondspring will have some more unpleasant weather than this – we’ll have some more rain, and the traditional grey, overcast, humid and sticky days of November are part of it too. But these days make me feel like it’s worth getting out and working hard. At least for the times of day not between 11 am and 2 pm. And I have plenty of work to do. My first job is to finish any soil building I was in the middle of and get everything mulched. I’m way behind despite having deliberately started a little early, so goodness knows how well I’m going to do with that, but that’s the plan. I was also going to put in a new garden bed but I don’t think that’ll happen now. Maybe autumn instead. I do need to start my summer seedlings too – all the melons and cucumbers, the tomatoes I want to try and grow again, and definitely rosella. I should have already started my corn and rosella but I had some issues with seedlings this last month so I need to restart my firstspring ones – in particular, the corn, rosella, Mexican marigolds, chia and clove basil. My next job is to finish reconditioning the kids pot plant garden so it can survive the long summer, which I started weeks ago but which is still in progress. I may get that done today. Now that we’re in secondspring I’ll have to begin watering it once or twice a week, so I’m more likely to get reminded of what I need to do with it.
The last job is, as the radio says, to clear up the back yard. It’s snake season now, and we’re between a creek and a swimming pool that I know the tiger snakes like to visit when water sources start getting important. So its time to reduce the amount of snake habitat and ensure we can walk around the garden safely. Also time to teach the kids snake protocol again.
Edit to add: we also didn’t officially make dew point overnight, that’s another season indicator. So I do have dew in certain parts of my garden with a microclimate that tends towards it, but all the dry areas are, well, dry. That’s something to think about for next year’s gardenworks – dew capture and moisture capture strategies for these early- and late-season days that are a bit on the boundary. Oh, and the air smells of fire again today, as it did yesterday. That’s another seasonal indicator.