A few months ago, I did the writer-thing and set a short story about universes next door in my own backyard. The big fan palm in the corner was a prominent presence in that.
Now, while the northern hemisphere slides into winter, Australia is heading toward spring. Or, more accurately, where I live in North Queensland, north of Capricorn, we are reaching the end of the Dry, and looking thirstily for the pre-Christmas storms that, in a good year, will open the Wet. In September-October, not merely my backyard but my whole garden is in the throes of “spring.”
On the one hand, what counts for a lawn is as brown and dusty as the country beyond the town’s continually sprinkled parks and median strips, or non-ecologically minded yards. And the deciduous imported trees like my fiddlewoods, African mahogany and river cherries, planted for speedy shade when I came here ten years ago, are shedding like autumn in Vallombrosa.
At the same time, many trees and plants are rousing with the increased daylight and bursting into flower, natives and imports alike. On my footpath, the everlasting tababuia is covered with blossom right next to the native bottlebrush.
On other streets, the yellow tababuias are flowering as madly as the native kapok trees out in the bush.
In my back yard, the balsams, or impatiens, have just recovered from a virus and come back into flower.
In the front yard, my red lilies are producing their once a year flower spikes.
The white “spider-lilies” that grow both in gardens and the bush won’t flower till after a good rain,
but the native crowsnest ferns are putting out new leaves,
while the sun jewels next to the purple and carnation-pink native parakeelia are full of red and gold flowers.
Just round the corner, the plants we call ground orchids have their bloom spikes up,
while at my front gate, the creeping begonia is blooming and growing new leaves.
And round the other corner, the caladiums are coming back from winter hibernation, like a tropical version of daffodils. Spring in the tropics is its own little floral fest among the falling leaves and dust.