It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Ahh, it’s Autumn.  My favourite time of year.  The air has a slight nip in it, the haze of humidity is gone leaving clear, crisp days, the sky is a gorgeous cyan blue that seems to go on forever, sunrise and sunset are a blast of spectacular colour and the light changes to this beautiful gold hue that makes everything glow.

For those living in the northern hemisphere, or even those living south of the Queensland border, you might not get my love of all things Autumn.  Autumn in tropical Queensland is brief, there are a few short weeks where the nights get cool and the air gets dry and the leaves change colour.  We don’t have a long, drawn out change from Summer to Winter, nor do we get much of a Spring, but there is just something about Autumn that revitalises me.

It is the middle of May, the last month of Autumn, but we are now only just feeling it’s effects.  Up until now we have had really warm days and cool nights.  In fact, last night is the first time I put on flannelette pyjamas and yesterday was our coldest day yet.  Currently, at 3:30am, it is 9℃ with an expected top of 22℃, cool but not cold.

There is something about Autumn that makes me happy.  The heat and humidity of Summer drag me down, but as soon as the humidity abates and there is that slight freshness in the air, I seem to come alive.  I find I become more active, and decide it is time to plant a garden.  I know that logically gardens should be planted in Spring, but I don’t get the urge in Spring.  I think that every garden I have ever attempted to create has happened in Autumn.  Let me just say that I am not into gardening; I like the idea of it, I like the fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers, I would LOVE to love gardening, but I don’t, so I strike while the iron is hot.

My garden

This is the current incarnation of my garden.  We have moved four times in the last four years, so container gardening is where it is at for me.  I have a few more that are not in this photo and I get a small thrill from seeing them everyday.  I’m not sure how long it will last, but I enjoy it while it does.

The other thing I love about Autumn is cooking.  In Summer, cooking is a chore trying to deal with the 38℃ heat and 90% humidity.  Baking is pretty much out of the question due to how the high humidity effects flour, sugar, yeast and other raising agents.  Trying to make cookies is painful, they never get that crispy/chewy ratio that makes them so delicious.  But in Autumn, when the humidity is low and the air is crisp, cooking and baking become a joy.

One of the best things about Autumn is the light.  It becomes this delicious golden colour and sunrises and sunsets look like someone has thrown paint into the sky.  Every morning I see the sky change colour and I am in awe.  Such beauty that is definitely worth waking up to see.  And at night, the day is bookended with another spectacular light show as the sun bids us farewell.  In our current house we live across the road from the water with a north facing view.  The sunsets here rival any I have seen elsewhere and I can’t help but stop whatever it is I am doing and just stare at it.  Here in the southern hemisphere we don’t have long drawn out twilights, so sunsets are brief, but they are spectacular.

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These are some of the spectacular sunrises that I see from work20150407_075615931_iOS 





And this is one of the amazing sunsets that I see every night from my house



Extreme Gardening – survival of the fittest

I love gardens. I love plants and flowers and perfect garden beds arranged just so, but I hate gardening.  I don’t know if this stems from some trauma from my childhood (possibly that my mother, who has the greenest thumb I know, forced me to garden with her when I was young and impressionable) or maybe that I am just not a nurturer.  Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that I struggle to keep plants alive.

I don’t go out of my way to kill them, they just seem to die.  I always start out with the best intentions; I have a vivid vision of what I want to achieve, I buy all the plants, I spend the day planting, I stand back and admire them patting myself on the back for a job well done and then a month later it has all gone to wrack and ruin.

People have tried to help me.  They give me advice, buy me pot plants, give me books but all to no avail.  If a plant is going to survive under my care, then it must be strong.  I have come to the realisation that my garden is a test for all plant-kind…only the toughest survive!

I often daydream of having a whimsical cottage garden with bright blooms and sweet fragrance or perhaps a self-sufficient vegetable garden free from pesticides and vine-ripened.  I see myself with a wide brimmed hat and a wicker basket, pruning shears in gloved hand picking and plucking and harvesting.  It is such a realistic and beautiful image…ah

It doesn’t take long for that delightful dream to turn into a disaster…

But alas! All is not lost! I have discovered that I don’t kill everything!

Here is my latest attempt and developing a green thumb-

My freshly planted seedlings

My freshly planted seedlings

The green pot I bought specially.  I even bought special soil for herbs.  I planted them on a nice cool rainy day, gave them a good drink and left them to their own devices.

The terracotta pot was a pot that was sitting in the garden with a previously deceased plant in it, old soil and nothing going for it.  I had some seedling left over, so what the hell, I planted them in it!

Six weeks later…

Six weeks later

My herbs a mere six weeks later

The green pot is doing ok but the terracotta pot…wow that coriander is a machine!

So, the whole point of this post?  Well, I suppose one point is persistance pays off and secondly if you have a brown-thumb like me just think of it as doing the world a favour by ridding the species of the weakest link…extreme gardening…only the fittest survive