Monday, 4 March 2013


Two months of dry have torched and scorched the garden, the bush, the land (south of the Black Stump); but tangerine tiger lilies thrust up sturdy stems, flung open petals, and laughed at the weather. These bulbs were from my (botanist and gardener) mother’s garden but (conservationist) J doesn’t like their spreading habit arising partly from the tiresome production of little black bulbils up and down the stems. Tenacity is their middle name: I’ve tried to dig them out and no doubt will do again – but just now they are so very nice and it comes to me that they are the equivalent of the mid-winter flower to most people (those with a normal internal thermostat, who enjoy summery days over 25 degrees when I hide and huddle in misery); and I look out my window at dry lawn, buttery leaves cascading gently, constantly, from the Robinia; and sparse herbage with leaves like parchment; and the spirit does a little skip seeing that not all the garden is beaten into submission, disheartened, or rather, hibernating (we hope). Autumn weather will come. Blessed rain will come. And like hellebores (“winter roses”) they can be my least favourite colour; at this season I just say thanks for anything. (The colour of fire is least welcome this bushfire season but conversely this over-bright orange is good at waving about and saying here I am with a grin on its clown face.)
Now it’s late afternoon and the lilies are in shade; the cool (the `coolth’ I like to think as I luxuriate in the welcome balm) has enticed some wildlife into the garden: a honeyeater, primrose-cravated, seeks nectar amongst the blooms. So I will wait another week before the axe falls on these questionable beauties.

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