Monday, October 11, 2010

Spring Is Sprung! - Anna Campbell

by Anna Campbell

I'd hoped to put this up last month but my scanner died so I couldn't share the pictures which really are the whole point of this blog!

As my Northern Hemisphere friends edge towards winter, spring broke out in a big way here in late August. Since then, we've had a few cold days, but basically the Aussie year is on its way to its hotter part.

Summer where I live (on Queensland's Sunshine Coast about an hour north of Brisbane) is awful. Hot, sticky, humid, exhausting. But spring is lovely. Clear days and crisp nights.

Because we've had a wet winter, my garden burst into flower in a big way with arrival of the warmer weather. And it all seemed to happen overnight. I thought you might like to see some of the photos I took!

Look at these two spectacular azaleas! They definitely appreciated both the arrival of spring and the recent wet weather. I love the massing of color. They spend most of their time looking really scraggy so it was lovely to get a good showing this year.

The native shrubs have gone wild too. Where I live, grevilleas do really well. It's something about the sandy soil, I think.

I'm sure a lot of people overseas wouldn't be familiar with these beautiful plants but I just love them. The flowers are delicate and spidery and come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. They scent the air with a sweet honey fragrance and the birds go crazy for the nectar.

I love to sit in my office and watch the parrots and the wattle birds fight over the blossoms which come in an extravagant array of colors from creamy white through to brilliant red.

It's extremely colorful to watch the red, green and yellow lorikeets or the more subtly colored rosellas fluttering around these lovely flowers. And with the hotter weather, the nectar ferments - so you can see where the phrase "p*ssed as a parrot" comes from in vivid detail!

Oh, and parrots drinking the hard stuff are amazingly noisy!!!

By the way, check out the lovely blue skies in these shots! Wouldn't you love to come to Australia right now? It really is lovely!

It's also wattle season so the air is heavy with the sweet scent of yellow flowers. They're our national flower and they grow pretty much everywhere. Well, not in my garden, but on road verges and in the bush, they're omnipresent.

A shrub of mine that has never been particularly spectacular has decided to show off this year. This beautiful red calistemon is usually cut back so harshly, it doesn't get the chance to flower. But this year, because I've been away so much and neglecting my pruning, it's finally shown me how beautiful it is.

The red is so strong, it almost burns your eyes! This is a plant where I often find my friends the bearded dragons.

It's not quite warm enough yet for them to appear but it won't be long. They always make me smile, these lovely little miniature dinosaurs. We have generations of them living in the yard. They're quite shy and you don't always see them but they're definitely around. I've got photos of the hearded dragons on my Facebook page if you want to check them out:

If you go to the Facebook page, you'll also see some shots of my backyard. All these flowering bushes are in the front yard.

By the way, if you're on Facebook, why not join my Fan Page?

So what's happening in your neck of the woods right now?


Annie West said...

Ah, Anna, don't you love spring?Actually, that looks like the gardens down here. Lots of azaleas, bottlebrushes and wattle in bloom. The last few weeks whenever I stepped out the door I smelled spring!

Of course the weeds are king right now. I'm sure some are growing inches per day. I looked outside on the weekend to find a rosella strolling about on the grass, eating the new seeds - this the grass that had been cut 5 days ago... There are baby birds in the trees and I've still got orchids in flower plus some bulbs and brand new roses. I think though it's the native Aussie flowers that really show up best at this time of year.

Thanks for sharing the photos!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Wow, Anna! Those azaleas are amazing! Love the wattles too. Are the bearded dragons out in force this spring?

I don't have much of a garden, unfortunately. That'll be our next project when we get our house reno out of the way. But we do have big plans! Sorry to say our avocado tree is going to get the chop.

Bloomin' good post, Anna!

Sharon Archer said...

Oh, your garden is GORGEOUS, Anna! You'll have to neglect that callistemon more often - it obviously loves it!

In our neck of the woods, I've been out in the vegetable patch - my mother-in-law is here and she's a very keen gardener.... actually tonight, I'm afraid she's broken me. Maybe that anti-inflammatory will kick in soon and I feel quite such an old crock! LOL But it was quite exciting because the asparagus is shooting fantastically! I've been blanching the spears and they are so delicious cold!

And we've shared a punnet of zucchinis and another of leeks with the neighbours so in a couple of months I have high hopes of having vegetables to share.

I do love picking things to eat out of the garden so it keeps me pattering and trying out the not-so-green thumb!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Anna, your azaleas are magnificent! Spring really is the most wonderful time in the garden and yours is in full bloom!
My fruit trees have been beautiful this year-blissful blossom wherever I look, with abundant fruit to follow I hope...

Christina Hollis said...

Fantastic pictures, Anna. Here in the UK Grevilleas are usually a pot plant! And you're right about azaleas - for 11 months of the year you wonder why you give them houseroom, and then...pow!
At the moment it's autumn here, so our potted collection of 8 blueberry bushes are putting on a really fiery display.

Helen said...

Love those pictures Anna and here in my yard the bottle brushes are blooming and the crepe myrtle is starting to bud and next door have a couple of apple trees in their back yard that had the best blossoms this year and of course the grass is growing quicker every day LOL I am not a green thumb my garden has to look after itself I have too many books to read !!

Have Fun

Sarah Morgan said...

Gorgeous Anna. At the moment I'm looking at a holly bush covered in red berries, all of which will have been eaten by Christmas. It's very autumnal here so lovely to see your Azaleas.

Anne McAllister said...

The garden in beautiful, Anna. What's happening here? The opposite. Beautiful autumn trees of gold and orange and red with lots of leaves falling. Time to think about bundling up and turning on the heat. But not yet, it's still a gorgeous Indian summer day!

Mary said...

Beautiful pictures. Sometimes I wish I had a backyard where I could plant things and have pretty flowers.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Annie, it sounds lovely down your way. It's beautiful here - flowering trees wherever you look. And as you say, all the birds are as happy as pigs in mud! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Bloomin' good, huh? Snicker, Vanessa!

Have you still got your lovely white standard roses out the front? It's ages since I've been to your place. I pruned my roses back so they're a mass of new growth right now. Look forward to the flowers. The bearded dragons have started making an appearance. In fact, last week I needed traffic lights! I had a blue tongue going one way and a bearded d going the other! They cast each other MOST scornful looks!

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon, you've revived the vegie garden? Good on you! We used to have one when we lived on the farm and a few people around here have set up vegie gardens. But the soil's so awful here (basically sand), they're a lot of work in this neck of the woods. You're right about neglect being the right treatment for the calistemon. It's spectacular this year! Hope the anti-inflammatory kicks in soon!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I think blossom trees are my favorite. I was in England for blossom season in 2004 and it was like being in heaven. Good luck for all the fruit!

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, I'm hoping to visit the UK next autumn (YOUR autumn!). The leaves don't really change colour here. I think where I live must be wonderful for grevilleas - they're everywhere and they grow like weeds.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, I have to laugh. All this spectacular growth is completely the result of neglect! I've been away so much lately and clearly the plants have taken the opportunity to surge when I'm not cutting them back all the time. Love the sound of your apple blossom. I LOVE blossom trees. We don't get many up here - it's too hot and humid and there's no frost. Blossom trees like a bit of frost in the winter.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Sarah. As Christina said, most of the year, you wonder why you bother and then wham, bam, they're just a cascade of brilliant colour! Enjoy your autumn. Hope to see you for the next one!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Anne, your Indian summer sounds beautiful! Thanks for swinging by and checking out the photos! They were so pretty, I just had to share them!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Mary! I'm actually not much of a gardener and most of this stuff really just looks after itself. But it's lovely having the nice green view from my office!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Oh, please show us a picture of the lizard traffic jam, Anna!

The standard rose is still standing. Amazing, since it's been through a lot! There are dozens of buds waiting to bloom.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, how lovely about the roses! Had to giggle at the lizard traffic jam. Didn't have my camera, sadly.

Okie said...

Beautiful, Anna! My second favorite time of year is Spring. I love to watch everything come to life, so to speak :)

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, in the Northern Hemisphere, I adore spring. That explosion of life after the grey and dark of winter. I was hoping to be there for spring next year but it's not going to be because of other commitments. Sigh. Next time! Thanks for checking out the pics!

Okie said...

That's too bad :( As we continue to say, next time. lol! When do you plan on visiting the U.S again?

Pat Cochran said...

Here in Houston we don't see as
grand an autumnal color show as
is seen in other parts of the
country. Mostly we're seeing a
lot of dry, brown leaves drifting
down to the ground. Especially
catalpa leaves from a tree grown
so tall the leaves drift over the
house into the front yard! Guess
what we'll be doing this week!!
BTW, Anna, I visited your bearded
dragon album to view the minis!
Left a comment...


Anna Campbell said...

Okie, think I'm giving RWA a miss this year so it will be the RWA in Anaheim in 2012.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pat, cool on checking out my bearded dragons! They're still a bit sleepy after their winter hibernation so it's a good time to take their photo now. I'll get some more shots up! We don't actually get a huge variation in the seasons here - it's too subtropical - but there's definitely a lot of flowers around in spring.

Estella said...

The weather is cooler, the leaves are changing and we get an occasional rain shower.

Anna Campbell said...

Estella, I gave a hollow laugh at your occasional rain shower. We've had really wild weather here in the last week. Major flooding! Inches and inches of wet stuff tumbling from the skies and winds strong enough to blow me to America!

Okie said...

OMYWORD! I'm literally jumping up and down!! WE have to meet up, Anaheim is a stone toss away from where I live, well not a stone toss away but Super close! Anna, I'm beyond Thrilled!!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Okie, that's brilliant! Definitely we'll have to get together. I'm usually in a bit before conference so we should have plenty of time to catch up. Are you going to come to the conference? At the very least, you'll have to come to the huge literacy signing. By the way, dinner's on me when we meet!

Okie said...

Yes, I'll def be there for the conference! I can't wait till summer 2012 :D And breakfast will be on me ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, that's kinda tit for tatting! I'll tut if you tit for tat! Seriously, you've been so fabulous supportive, din dins is the least I can do!

Okie said...

lol! Well, I can't wait :)