Thursday, 8 September 2011

Australian Spring

Ah September, the most wonderful time of the year, when children head back to school all bright-eyed and full of summer stories, there is a slight chill in the air heralding the arrival of Fall, glorious colours abound, gardens are being put to bed, we dream of hot apple-crisp with vanilla ice-cream, cozy sweaters, and... STOP THE PRESSES!

Down under in Melbourne, we are coming out of winter, such as it is in Australia.  Children have been in school for 8 months now and are anticipating Spring Break (ok we call it Spring half-term here).  There is warmth in the air heralding the arrival of Summer, trees are budding, our gardens are waking up, Spring flowers are blooming furiously, and we are delightedly shedding our cozy sweaters.

It feels so unnatural to think of Spring in September just as I imagine it will feel terribly odd to decorate our Christmas tree when it's 30c degrees outside and the air-conditioning is cranked up.  Aussies don't do Christmas turkey either, it's shrimp on the barbie all the way mate!

But I digress, back to Spring.  As a Canadian girl, I had never experienced the tropics except briefly on holiday.  The tropics are exotic, not-quite-real places to where us pathetic northerners occasionally hop a chartered Air Canada flight in order to temporarily escape the miseries of howling winds and freezing temperatures.  Real people don't actually live in the tropics do they?

They do now!  Despite the fact that, barring the island of Tasmania, Melbourne is the southernmost and therefore, coldest region in Australia, this is still a place where lemons, limes, and oranges grow madly in winter, olive groves and vineyards abound, there are palm trees, birds of paradise, bromeliads, jasmine, camelias, cacti, yuka, and azaleas pushing wildly on every corner.

I covet the lemon trees groaning with fruit the size of small footballs in the backgardens of all my friends who laugh sympathetically when I confess to having to buy lemons at the grocery store.  During my late evening walks with Murphy, I practically float into the air following the wafting fragrances of jasmine, frangiapane, citrus oil, boronia, and wild freesia.  It's an incredibly heady experience!

Well  hello there little Lorikeet, I see you under the Palm fronds!


Jen said...

Oh thanks. As we head into fall and things start to brown up, I read your heady descriptions of smells and sights and I covet.

But how lovely! I always wondered how the seasons played out in Melbourne, and now I know!

We did Christmas in Horsham many years ago with a 1/2 Canadian family and they did a turkey for us and pavlova for dessert!

Melissa Miller said...

Way cool! How is summer (winter 2012) looking???

Anonymous said...

They says that lemons can become as sweet as oranges if left to mature on the trees long enough... Let me know if it's true! Your pictures are so beautiful - feel like hoping on a plane for a Surprise! visit... But alas! I am still in the beginning of the semester, already looking forward Christmas... Big hug!
Lyne Marie

Jawahara said...

These are seriously beautiful! I can't wait to visit.