Celebrating seven days of Spring

Spring in Victoria is a weird concept. It definitely doesn’t start on 1 September – the days may be getting slightly longer and some plants may start showing very small signs of growth, but it is way too cold to call it Spring. And once it starts, it’s not as if it is one season that lasts – you may have one or two warm sunny days and then the cold Southerly wind and cloudy skies creep in again. In fact, I think Spring in Victoria is a small collection of about seven days spread out over October and November. But with all the new growth and much to do, it is nonetheless a joyful season of rejuvenation!

Gariwerd calendar

It’s funny how these coincidences happen… just as I was contemplating this topic about our late-starting  Spring, J Pegler posted a blog on the Nyoongar seasons on the Petit Paradis blog. His post made me research the topic a bit further.

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Mulberry loaded with young berries

Locally in our area, the Gariwerd calendar is probably the most relevant that I could find for our area – I couldn’t locate a specific calendar for the Wathaurung peoples. The Djapwurrong and Jardwadjali peoples are custodians for the Grampians/Gariwerd region and they have used the following calendar for their area:

Gariwerd calender

I quite identify with their two stages of summer, especially what they call late summer when it gets so incredibly dry in our area.

However, they also were under the impression that Spring starts in September, and of course, with all the wattles in full bloom it stands to some reason… It may also be that in the times that these calendars were devised based on hundreds and hundreds of years’ of observation, the seasons may have been quite different to what they are now.

Patricia’s diligent winter planting paying off

Five seasons

Interestingly, Dr Tim Entwisle, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and the author of ‘Sprinter and Sprummer‘, have proposed five seasons for Australia, I presume greatly influenced by him working in the Melbourne area for quite a period:

  • Sprinter (August and September), the early Australian spring, starts my seasonal year. It’s when the bushland and our gardens burst into flower. It’s also when that quintessential Australian plant, the wattle, is in peak flowering across Australia.
  • Sprummer (October and November) is the changeable season, bringing a second wave of flowering.
  • Summer (December to March) should be four months long, extending beyond February, when there are still plenty of fine warm days.
  • Autumn (April and May) barely registers in Sydney, but further south we get good autumn colour on exotic trees, as well as peak fungal fruiting.
  • Winter (June and July) is a short burst of cold weather and a time when the plant world is preparing for the sprinter ahead.

Various youn fruit trees bursting out

It is interesting that his two versions of Spring (Sprinter and Sprummer) overlap quite closely with the Gariwerd seasons of Pre-spring and Spring. However, I don’t agree with his statement that Winter is a short burst of two months. It’s more like a 5-month marathon!

New adjusted version

So, combining all these thoughts, here is how I see our seasons:

  • Spring (October and November).
  • Summer (December to April), with the two distinct phases as on the Gariwerd calender.
  • Autumn (May).
  • Winter (June to September) with a bit of the Pre-spring growth of the Gariwerd calender happening towards the end of September.

Herbs in full bloom

Of course these are just random ramblings and interesting titbits, only used as an excuse to publish some photos from our garden at Homeland on a real Spring day!

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Artichokes in abundance

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