It really, truly is spring. Wattles are flaring gold against the green (those Olympian colours) flagging spring throughout bushland and my home of the Dandenong Ranges; it's gold riches, promises of sunshine warmth.
Daffodils are nodding and tossing wilful sulphur heads in the garden.
Culinary garden plants are moving again: purple peas, crimson-flowering broad beans, broccoli (purple, chartreuse), kale; and those edible flowers: calendulas (pot marigolds or, as I knew and grew them as a child, African marigolds (my first garden: collecting the moon-shaped seeds and forever re-sowing and growing the plants, with the cheerful yellow and orange daisy-like flowers)), pansies and nasturtiums. Rocket has flowered, brightest-spring-sunshine-yellow. Peas are mainly purple, a few fruiting, odd to see; with glorious pink-and-purple flowers (below). `Are they sweet peas?' I'm asked.
Hens are starting to lay again and take dust baths in the sun.There's fairy-floss-blossom on dwarf fruit trees near the kitchen, pink and white bells on correas, and delicious fragrance from the white daphne, too small as yet for cutting for a vase. But I've been picking Narcissus for vases for several weeks (mostly perfumed `Erlicheer' - what a great cultivar).
I glance amongst my pots and there's a nicely aged terracotta pot bursting with special hoop-petticoat daffodils (Narcissus bulbcodium obesus) from a friend (above - with my latest bit of fun. By the way, these shoes are too tiny to wear - even for me. (Thank you St Vinnies.) The succulents are a reminder of Attila Kapitany's interesting garden (bought not stolen) from the weekend).
Most exciting of all, is the tree peony from Mum's old garden, a 2m monster heaved, really, as a side branch from Mum's large plant when Dad left the house, and popped vertically into a large pot with a large dose of optimism. It lives! It grows leaves! It has 9 fat buds (below)! Back to earth...
There's even a leaf coming up from the crown of my dwarf waterlily in the water garden.
Now that's warmth.
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)