This being August, it’s still winter. Yet there’s plenty of flowers: the wattle is out, the jonquils are in full bloom and the first daffodil has opened to the spring-like warmth of the sun.
Unfortunately it’s woken up the snakes too, as I have seen my first black snake — sunning itself on very short grass in the orchard where I had gone to give the citrus an overdue dose of seaweed spray. They didn’t get it; I’ll try again in the morning when it’s too cool for sunbaking — I hope.
I’ve also seen the first Welcome Swallow dashing about in the sky over my clearing, although I don’t yet know where they’re going to nest this year.
But even before this warm spell of weather, one of my young camellias has been putting out glorious red buds amongst its dark green and glossy foliage – so unlike the bush behind it. Grown from cuttings taken from camellia trees that were higher than the old house that they surrounded, this red one has done best of all here, even in this unimproved soil where most plants turn yellow.
It’s especially valued by me because it’s an old variety, and because as the buds unfurl they look like roses before they fully open to show their central stamen cluster. And to have roses is rare here because the possums eat them, buds and leaves and thorns and all.
I’m almost afraid to say that they don’t eat camellias — in case I jinx such a glorious gift and they start munching on my beautiful winter roses.
If only they had a scent I’d pull out all the poor twisted twigs that the possums made of my rose bushes, and give up hope of a bloom in summer.