It feels kind of lame to be writing about an observation that will have no impact without also explaining the problem to which it pertains. It’s a bit like trying to explain a joke. The best you can hope for is a quizzical expression during the explanation, with a dismissive and joyless ‘Oh yeah, I get it now’ when the story and the punch-line eventually clarify.
But I press on bravely, nevertheless.
When you garden in a climate like mine you can’t help get it into your head that nothing grows over the winter. You can’t, for instance, plant winter veggies in winter, or anywhere near winter. They’ll just sit immobilized and emit a thankfully inaudible whimper until sometime in September. Perennials are dormant, and anything woody just huddles down like a husky in a blizzard, not lifting its head until well into spring.
So when I was planting my little plants into my stone wall back in autumn, I didn’t really expect any movement until spring. I was convinced that it would make no difference when between April and September they went into the ground – that the result would be the same in spring, other than perhaps a bit of root establishment (the ultimate benefit of which can’t be underestimated, but isn’t likely to show up until stressful weather arrives).
Turns out I was wrong. No one in Melbourne or anywhere warmer than Melbourne will be surprised at this. But from my past experience I am surprised. Maybe we can put the growth down to climate change.
Or maybe – and this is rather more likely – I’m just nowhere near as observant as my camera is, and that I really need to take pics and keep records in order to know the truth of these things.
I’m forever taking pics of clients gardens, and when they look at them months or years later, they’ve invariably forgotten just how small those plants were when they went in.
I wish I’d remember to take pics of everything. I tend to only take what I think will make a good pic, so I didn’t, for instance, take a pic of the freshly planted candytuft, as it looked so pathetic. But look at it now (above) after nothing but months of hostile, gruesome weather. Incredible. Guaranteed if I didn’t have its cousin still in a pot (top), I’d have totally forgotten how bad it looked when it went in. The real contrast would have been lost.
The take-home message to the 1.5 readers who live in a climate as cold or colder than mine: Loads of stuff still does grow over winter, even if it’s like trying to detect the movement of the hour-hand of a clock.
The take-home message to everyone else (which I just thought of, and possibly saves this from being a total waste of time in the reading): take pics of everything in your garden, all the time. You’ll never, ever be sorry you did.