Turning to Spring Again!

An early morning rain brings life to the garden and it has been very dry lately. We heard the frogs two nights ago, canoodling in next door’s goldfish pond so the weather has warmed up enough for them to start moving back to the ponds and waterways they were born in. I love their soft voices, these frogs are only small and you have to strain a little to hear their low croaks. We had some in the long grass one year* and occasionally I startle one clearing away rotting leaves away from new shoots. We leave quite a lot of the leaves and debris lying around during the winter in the beds and round the shrubs to provide a little shelter for them but at some point we have to start clearing it so that we can weed, take out plants that haven’t made it through the winter, and so on.

The family apple tree is festooned with dangling drops and the newly emerging bulbs and shrubs are cupping small spheres. Once I look at the photos on the computer I see detail that I couldn’t see when I was taking the photos, even tinier droplets tangent to bigger curves;  it’s strange to think a little machine can record in binary code what I can’t really see with my own eyes. If I think about it too hard I disappear.

 If the sun is shining as here, the garden glistens and shimmers with fragile light till the wind or a visiting jackdaw flips the raindrops away, and the show is over once more.

This is our composter, it takes all our fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells and most things that will decompose without attracting too many rats. Brown paper waste too goes in there and a small quantity of shredded paper. We are not experts but we are rewarded a few times a year with a quantity of reasonable compost that we can dig back into the garden.

Here is  the top chamber of this three part com poster, called an Earthmaker. 

One of the oldest plants in this youngish garden (we have planted everything in it) is the fatsia japonica that lived in a pot in the back yard of my old house. It flowers late in the year and then fruits and seeds around now. I am very fond of it though it is huge compared to when I first bought it.

Another plant that arrived here was a house warming gift from Hellie and Pete, again it sat sulking in a pot for a few years as we didn’t know what to do with it as camellias (not azalea! oops apparently they flower later) like acid soil and our soil definitely wasn’t that. However we dug out one of our tiny beds and filled it with ericaceous compost and we only water it with rain water and both the blueberry bush and this red flowered camellia have done well in it so far. This year we have more buds than ever before!

The self sown leeks are the only vegetables in the raised bed surviving till now, plus a couple of little pots of parsley. The wood pigeons have chewed the remains of the chard into a mess and the perpetual spinach dissolved into a gooey morass after a week of frosts. Celia will be pleased to know that there are fennel seedlings everywhere though – brave little things!

Here is a seemingly gratuitous photo of a slice of light caraway rye, included because I made it with the handful of caraway seeds that I collected from the caraway plants that I tried growing a while ago. They weren’t too keen on our weather, so I won’t grow them again but it was fun to try.

There are seedlings growing indoors and I hope in the cold frame too… time will tell.

P.S. Here is our best froggie picture from a few years back

19 thoughts on “Turning to Spring Again!

  1. teawithhazel

    fancy having frogs in your garden jo..they are such beautiful creatures and rarely even heard in urban melbourne..i get quite excited if i pass a waterway and hear the familiar croak croak..

    happy spring! x jane

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am heading to bed, but I thought ‘wot no frog pictures’ and I have been and found one of Brian’s and added it for you Jane :D

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Kari! I have been reading about all the preserves being made lately on Australian blogs at the height of the end of summer/autumn and the lemons being harvested in Sicily at the same time as I read blog posts here about ‘the hungry gap’. I hope you have a lovely autumn :)

  2. julienoreen

    I loved the frogs, we have plenty in the pond and I hear them each night when I go to bed. I was scared by one the other day sitting on a clivia leaf was just staring at me.
    It made me feel like draging in a chair and sharing the green leafy secret place of my garden alongside my green friend without a care in the world.
    regds Julie

    1. Joanna Post author

      HI Julie! They do make me jump too sometimes but then once I recognise what they are I calm down again. I hope you enjoy sitting in your chair in your garden – sounds beautiful and relaxing :)

  3. hotlyspiced

    That’s a great frog photo. It’s always so exciting to see the arrival of Spring. Interesting you say it’s been very dry where you are – we’ve had nothing but rain, rain, rain. So tired of it.

    1. Joanna Post author

      We have had a bit more rain than most pf the country, but when I remember first moving here it seemed to rain all the time through the winter months and now it is much reduced. We are not in drought officially here, unlike parts of the South and East (yet). I have some rain butts and my ittle beds are thickly mulched with chip bark – I need to top them up – and that helps reduce evaporation from the soil too.

  4. heidi

    Love all the pictures- especially the raindrops! They look so fresh !
    Spring is quite beautiful in England. Spring is beautiful everywhere- but I like the damp and softly green you have there.
    Thanks for sharing your photos!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I always think of you and Celia both when I talke garden photos – I’m so glad you like them, I worry a bit that I take photos of the same things each year and try to post different plants. Wish you could all come over and bring cake and cookies and enjoy the damp smells of early blossom with us :)

  5. Debra Kolkka

    What a beautiful post. We are seeing a few signs of spring here is in Italy, later than last year. I never hear frogs here. There must be frogs, but I don’t see them or hear them. We need some rain, the river is as low as I have ever seen it.
    Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of my arrival in Bagni di Lucca so to celebrate I planted pansies on my balcony.

    1. Joanna Post author

      HI Debra! That is a great anniversary! Congratulations :) I hope you get some Spring rain soon. Our frogs ‘sing’ quite late at night, around 11 pm they seem to start up.I I have always loved your pansy photos and your wonderful Bagni di Lucca blog!

  6. Sincerely, Emily

    Thanks for the nice little walk around your garden. We have things starting to bloom here, but it is neat to see what is happening for you. AND THE FROGS! NICE NICE PHOTO ! I am keeping an eye out for my toads. Might be a bit too early yet. Don’t really know. And the tadpoles in my two water gardens are getting bigger and bigger. They just hung out all winter and are finally starting to show some signs of getting bigger. Thanks for the great photos.

  7. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I AM pleased there are brave fennel seedlings everywhere, you’re so right! I thought of you just this morning – we have a broccoli plant growing in a crack between the bricks. I keep thinking it’s not going to make it, there’s not enough soil and nutrients, but it keeps hanging in there. Can’t wait to see if it flowers!

    I think we might finally have a frog in the pond, but we can’t find it, and we only hear the odd croak at night. Fingers crossed though. We certainly haven’t had any mosquitoes, which is amazing given there aren’t any fish in the pond. I can’t wait to see what your gorgeous multi-apple tree produces, ours have been very sad this season – not sure Sydney is the right climate for them. And I love all the lush green, raindrop soaked photos – your leeks are so impressive! Amazing they’re so grown to such a size self-sown! :)

    Thanks for a glorious post, dearheart! xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks darling! :) The frogs will be in the garden during the day and maybe only in the pond at night. They hide in damp vegetation and in piles of wood and under stones and jump out when you are least expecting them. We always walk over the grass and look for them before we cut it.

      I am going to broadcast some English creeping thyme seeds into the cracks this Spring, I love thyme and as all our pointing is falling apart I thought I might give in and sow something I want. Sorry to hear about your apples! I am going to try and grow fennel with bulbs this year, not just the one with the leaves and the flowers too.

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