Friday, September 01, 2006

Spring has arrived in this part of the world, and it is a beautiful day here on Norfolk Island. Although a little of the winter crispness lingers in the air, especially in the evenings, there is no doubt that we are entering the time of year when nature responds joyfully to the lengthening days and the warmer air.
There are new calves on the Common and in the paddocks, and the shrubs in the garden are full of buds and new shoots. They are showing the benefit of our lovely winter rains.
The bees are busy, too.
Funny thing about bees. Whenever I see them buzzing around the blossoms...they just love the lavender and pineapple sage in the bed in front of our house....I always get the feeling "all's right with the world."

Living in a sub-tropical zone, perhaps we are not so conscious of the seasonal variations here on Norfolk Island as in the temperate and cooler zones. Many of your lovely bulbs and cottage garden plants yearn for a colder winter, so they can bury themselves and go to sleep while the frost covers the ground. We are compensated by the rich foliage colours and showy flowers of the tropical plants around us

But that does not stop us trying to emulate our gardening friends from Europe and North America!
Take these daffodils, grown and arranged by our friend Edie Mack. When Edie planted her bulbs some years ago, we told her that she could only expect to get a year or two out of them here in this climate.
But we forgot to tell the daffodils, and year by year, not only have they emerged in their glorious gold formation each year in Edie's garden, but they have multiplied magnificently. I don't know if it is the care and loving attention, or if Edie is talking to them in just the right way, but they are always magnificent at this time of year. This particular arrangement was the prize for the lucky winner of the raffle at the White Oak Club last week.
I have just a few of Edie's bulbs in my garden. I see that several of the green spikes have poked through the ground without me even noticing. They are partly hidden among the untidy cluster of opium poppy seedlings that faithfully appear each year and provide me with a brief, but very welcome show of pink blooms each Spring.
Any day now, I hope I will be able to pick my own little bunch of daffodils. Then I will know that Spring has truly arrived here at Devon.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Mary, thanks for this glimpse into your life and lovely home. As one islander to another, there is nothing like gardening to bring the world together. Your posting about the daffodils brought it home to me, more than anything else, how interconnected our world is these days.

It is eye opening to note, that while were are approaching our harvest celebrations here in the northern hemisphere, you Norfolk folk are awaiting the arrival of your first spring daffodils! Isn’t that amazing! And what better tribute to the power of the Creator for renewal and new hope.

Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Tim. Sara and I do our gardening on Gabriola Island, one of the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. We have two children, June (otherwise known as Hedgehog) and Jim, ten and eight respectively.

Please visit our blogsite. We too started blogging this year, and find it very rewarding to connect with people from all parts of the world. Special greetings to you on the occasion of your Sesquicentenary! 150 years of history! I’m afraid I’m not too conversant with dates and events in your part of the world.

You have a direct ancestral link to the Bounty mutineers! Sara’s family hails from New Zealand, but I’m afraid the price of travel has prohibited me from visiting that part of the world. My mother-in-law used to visit us, because it was less expensive for her to come here, rather than us going there.

As I’ve mentioned, we’re starting to harvest our vegetables here. Our Bush Crop Cucumbers are ready for fresh salads, and they’re succulent and delicious. They’re ideal for gardens with limited space. Some Pumpkins are also growing, on account of the pumpkin seeds in the compost from last Halloween.

We grow Green Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, several different varieties of Lettuce, different types of Herbs, like Basil and Cilantro, and lots of Garlic. My background is Hungarian, so I use lots of Onions and Garlic in my recipes. I musn’t forget the Scarlet Runner Beans.

It is a tradition in our household to build a Bean House out of bamboo each year and have the beans totally cover it by the beginning of August, in order to create a shady spot where Sara used to read to Hedgehog, when she was younger.

If you visit out blogsite, you can see the wonderful flowers grown and cared for by Sara. She grows different varieties of Hybrid Tea Roses, Calendula, Windflower, Double Decker Cone Flower, Daisies, Passion Flower, Gladioli, Black Eyed Susan, Cupid’s Dart, Campanula, Marigolds, Phlox, Geraniums, Petunias, Malva, Clamatis, and a Border Beauty Butterfly Bush.

We believe in providing our plants with 100% organic nutrients made by a Canadian company, Advanced Nutrients. Our primary organic fertilizer is Iguana Juice, Grow and Bloom, but we also use Scorpion Juice to help immunize our plants against certain insects and pathogens, as well as some root zone enhancers like Piranha and Tarantula, made by the same company. They do distribute in Australia, by the way.

We have nothing but praise for the miraculous growth that has resulted in our use of these products. Both our flowers and our vegetables have benefited from our use of them. I don’t mean to sound like a testimonial, but I’m constantly amazed by the quality and number of our flowers, as well as by the vegetables bursting with life.

Your spring Book Festival sounds very interesting, indeed. If we chance to win the lottery between now and October, it would be wonderful to fly off to the South Pacific for a well-deserved holiday! To meet some interesting people and take part in some enlightening discussions.

Devon House sounds just like the estate to which Sara and I would love to retire some day. May your spring be filled with wonders and may you continue posting inspiring messages for many more years to come.

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