Weather here in southern Australia can be unpredictable – four seasons in one day can be the norm for months on end.
There have been times when I’ve deliberately sought out the sight of northern hemisphere trees losing their leaves to remind myself it really is autumn. In recent years our climate has been changing – spring seems to last right up till Christmas then it suddenly gets blazing hot and stays that way well into April, even May.
In the bush the marking of the summer season is subtle. As the heat continues to build the ground dries out and the grasses yellow. When it gets really hot eucalypts conserve water by dropping leaves. The heat also makes seed pods crack open.
Red wattle seeds on the ground – February
By April these seeds on the ground have dried out along with the native grass –
Rather than the blaze of colour that autumn brings to the northern hemisphere parts of the bush become almost monochromatic during the autumn months.
The winter rains green everything up really quickly. The grasses underfoot are soft and lush. Sounds and colours are muted in the damp atmosphere.
In August the wattle flowers signify there is only another month or so of true wintery weather to come –
The temperature warms slightly as spring begins but, once again, it usually the sight of blossom on trees from the Northern Hemisphere that alerts me that spring has really arrived. One spring I came across a strange hybrid mix of European forget-me-not flowers and Australian native trees. I was in an area where farmland had been regenerated with indigenous plants. Those forget-me-nots were certainly living up to their name.
In places where the native plants have been left untouched the bush just continues to continue. The marking of the seasons is subtle. The flowering of particular plants indicates which time of year it is. Unless you are particularly observant or know a certain area really well you might not even notice these changes. The bush is the bush is the bush …