Winter gold flourishes in the Wollombi Valley as I drive through on a dull day. Wattle, acacia, mimosa — our national flowering tree has many names and many species.
Not all have blooms as richly yellow as these soft powderpuff clusters, but most are hardy and quick-growing, if short-lived.
Where land has been disturbed they colonise thickly. I pass what seems to be a plantation of wattles on a flat creekside paddock, fenced and tidily contained in rows.
Then I see it is actually a takeover of what was once some city hobby farmer’s dream vineyard. It is small, not commercial — would have produced just a few dozen bottles to share with friends, to show off his own label.
The grapevines are still there, but the wattles have shot way past them and have claimed it for their own, re-labelled it Wattle Flat.
I am a little sad, wondering what happened to the dream.