Spring, shoots, Sydney and blossoms

Now, suddenly it’s as if winter never existed (except of course in the $400 electricity bill of heating and clothes-drying that landed yesterday) as the clocks jumped forward an hour last weekend, and the onset of lush late afternoons of brilliant sunshine, dinners eaten in broad daylight, and little children wondering why they have to go to bed while it’s still playtime…

We gave a mostly rainy welcome to Daylight Savings, but it was a warm, moist and muggy one, followed by some gorgeous sunny, heat prickling days – the perfect recipe for explosions of garden-green, the trees and plants and flowers and bugs all bursting with life and joy (well perhaps not the snails, alas they burst underfoot on my late-night trip out to find Charlie… less life and joy, more death and snot). Everything has exploded into life, so beautiful! Our trusty lemon tree has bloomed – it’s such a pity to be so far away at the back of the garden as the blossoms are so amazingly aromatic and Jasmine-like: exquisitely perfumed, heady and tropical.

Just driving along next to the racecourse yesterday I was hit with such verdant brilliance it felt like I was on some crazy hallucinogenic drugs (which I wasn’t),  the scene of trees, grass and sunshine was so bright and crystal-clear… Centennial Park was jumping with joggers, walkers, horse-riders, dog-walkers, stroller-runners – it really does feel great to be alive when everything around you is teeming with life and pulsating heart-beat, and joy!

When I open the kitchen door in the early-morning haze of sleep, the waking dawn smell of Sydney is one that hits me full in the face and takes me right back to being a kid at my grandparents in Carlingford, … although their house was right on the busiest road in the area, the block was deep and surrounded by mature trees, thriving banana palms and passionfruit vines… the particular smell is of sun warming dew-wet leaves, the sub-tropical Sydney flowers awaking, the hungover humid air… and then it goes, replaced by cut lawns, truck fumes, tradies’ smokes, burning toast.

Yet again this year I’ve neglected to prepare the nectarines from fruit-fly onslaught… The boughs of the tree are now beginning their slow sag, weighed down with the promising fruit. Last year we had hundreds and hundreds of juicy nectarines ripen beautifully: unsuspectingly I went to bit into one freshly picked from the tree, then at the last minute thought better to wash it – and cutting it in half was freaked to find two fresh halves of squirming maggot… luckily we had the chooks to enjoy the fruit & buggie bounty but this year will have to dispose of all the nectarines lest the maggot eggs infest the soil. Bugger!

I miss the chickens – discarding all the uneaten bowls of lovingly prepared children’s meals into the compost just isn’t the same… and as well as the wormy nectarines I think we let them run wild in the crab apples & bitter, mean persimmons too… In reality though, the stress of keeping safe someone else’s livestock is something I can live without, with the landlord’s advice ringing in our ears, “Whatever you do, do NOT leave the chickens unlocked at night, or they will DIE!!!”

So now to throw down some more snail bait, pick the seeding tops from the rocket, and hide the ripening strawberries from impatient fingers… and of course breathe in the juicy morning spring air, stretch arms out wide and look ahead to summer, beachy days & sizzled sausages… aaaah Sydney!

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