Monday, 31 January 2011

About this weather

They promised 40 degrees for yesterday, and it only reached 38, for which I was pathetically thankful. They promised 39 degrees for today, and it only reached 37 before plummeting rapidly to 27, and I was grateful again. Right now the sun is slipping behind the airconditioning unit on the roof of the house across the road and it is stiiilllllll 27 degrees but so humid I feel like I've just finished my shift in the dumpling kitchen, crossed the laneway to my nightjob in the Korean bathhouse, and been asked to steam some towels above a big steamy towel-steaming vat. No dumplings, though, and not many laneways or Korean bathhouses. The humidity was my point. It's the sort of weather about which I'll cheerfully whinge.

I've been buttonholing wedding guests everywhere I go this Summer and telling them how cool and glorious this water-water-everywhere Summer has been. The floods are awful (I've said), in the awesome way of nature going slam and killing people and ripping animals out of their paddocks and ruining crops and sinking houses and giving rise to locust plagues, but (let us speak not of these matters, or of what it means that the Pacific ocean is evaporating a thousand swimming pools a second, or of the cyclone bearing down on Queensland right now) the rain! the rain! Melbourne's reservoirs are now 53.9% full (pathetically grateful), and, here at the Lalorium, we have planted peaches and a nectarine, an apple, tomatoes, beans, corn, mint, oregano, lemon balm, lemon grass, a lemon tree, a lime, roses, and honesty, chives, nasturtiums, lamb's ear, rosemary, garlics, and echium, cat mint, harebells, cosmos, a persimmon, a wee little Adriatic white fig, daisies, English box, a buddleja, pinks, lychnis, statice, lavender, kangaroo paws, gaura, pineapple guavas, sunflowers, brachycome, a bilbergia, rhubarb, crepe myrtle, thyme, sea holly, Vietnamese mint, and cotinas, and everything has survived, on rain and the odd slosh of pre-loved bathwater. Even the stupid grass, which hasn't had the luxury of sloshes of pre-loved bathwater, is green and sproingy like the grasses of my childhood oop north. The only things that have died - an alpine daisy, a fifteen centimetre high giant feather grass and a $5 flea market rose of uncertain parentage - died of too much water and/or of being sat on by cats.

So, as I say, I'm whinging cheerfully, because everything's coming up dandelions (here), and this sudden onset of swimming-around-in-a-big-pond-of-warm-elderberry-soup is nothing to the hot-and-deathly of two years ago.

I've gone a little potty over being able to grow things. Saw a giant fat thistle on my walk to the shops the other week, and managed, with the assistance of ye google, to diagnose it as a cardoon. My resourceful mum pointed me to a two fat ladies' recipe for cardoons, and I promptly inveigled the sidekick to accompany me on a cardoon-pilfering expedition by dark of night. We severed a few roots trying to dig it up, and it's now hovering on the brink of existence, between two slowly decomposing piles of horse poo, which poo is further evidence of my garden pottiness. There's a personage 30km up the road giving out free faeces, see. She's struck up a monthly appointment with me and I'm now her official manure-remover. I look forward to many conversations like this one:

Fellow garden enthusiast: Duuuude. This is seriously good shit, dude.
Me: Totally, dude. Like, shit.

Which is to say, got any spare poo, or veggie seeds, or raspberry canes, I'm your man.

18 comments:

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

It's very easy to imagine you and sidekick pilfering cardoons by dead of night. Good call. The price of fruit and veg is about to go through the roof in your part of the world, if today's Age is anything to go by.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Even by dead of night, it's hard to look inconspicuous walking down High St with a shovel and a big sack.I hope people thought we were off doing something relatively innocuous, like graverobbing. The cardoon is out the back because Tim was worried the neighbours would leave horses' heads on our doorstep if they caught us planting thistles.

Re the price of fruit and veg, yes indeed. And who knows if or when it'll go down again.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ahh, should be fine as long as you catch the seeds in a bag or something.

Your garden is going to be GORGEOUS in a few years.

Ignorant question: what is honesty (in a plant context)?

Mitzi G Burger said...

Ampersand Duck, 'honesty' is a plant-flower bequeathed to the Baron(ess) from me by way of a housewarming gift. It was sometimes called the money plant because you can see the seeds through transparent leaves when it grows up and dries out; called honesty because the leaves become transparent. A friend gave the seeds to me; I planted them and have given out seedlings since.

Awesome bit of hortiness, Baronlex. Enjoy the manuring!

Mindy said...

If there is a cunning way to get raspberry canes to Melbourne from Yass then I'm your girl. I have to hack mine back because they are intent on taking over the world.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Thanks, &Duck. It will look gorgeous, I think, once everything's grown a bit. Right now it's being hammered by desert wind. We'll see what's still standing by nightfall.

What Mitzi said about the honesty (for which, thank you thank you thank you, MGB - it's doing well, despite feline flattening attempts). When the seedpods dry they look like translucent silver coins, which I'm sure you will have seen in your travels, &Duck.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Ach, Mindy, I would love (LOVE) to deplete your raspberry cane supply, but I guess I'd need to be passing through Yass sometime between late Autumn and the end of Winter, yes? Is not likely. Thanks, though.

TimT said...

Hey, I think the cats are offering lots of useful help in the garden. Those plants won't sit on themselves, you know. Next time let's purchase some extremely rare and endangered species of plant. With Harriet and Bea sitting on it night and day, it'll soon be flourishing!

TimT said...

I wonder which of them sat on the rose. Considering the habitual thorniness of the rose, they would have been saying 'me-OWWWWWW!' for days afterwards.

Anon chicken hearted said...

Love, love, love the fecundity of things after the rain. Loathe and detest the humidity but if things continue to thrive it is probably worth it. How do you stop the honesty taking over? In our drought they thrived when everything else looked sorry for itself, and I grieved for the losses.

TimT said...

If the honesty gets uppity we'll just get the cats to sit on the other plants in compensation.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Will the honesty take over, Anon-Chicken? Ours are still fairly little. They'll bump into the chives and roses if they try to get too far out of line. I'm sort of looking forward to a rambly entanglement, in which the most rampaging plant wins.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

And/or the most impervious-to-being-sat-on plant wins.

chicken hearted said...

We planted one honesty about five years ago. We now have five hundred trillion - most of which I leave be. They don't seem to mind what the weather is or what the soil is - a very forgiving sort of plant. Which, given the weather we have been blessed with is wonderful. Is Canberra more feasible than Yass? Our raspberry canes are behaving like triffids.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Oh, oh! Thank you for offering! I have a friend in Canberra, and she has been speaking about us meeting halfway between the Can and my ma's house in Bright - which I suppose implies a reunion next to the Holbrook submarine. And maybe, just possibly, I could impose on you as a raspberry cane supplier, and her as a raspberry cane ferrier, although maybe that would be testing the friendship (with her) and the barely initiated acquaintance (with you). Here's an email address for me - ale2is.har2ley@gmail.com (minus the 2s, which I've included to thwart spamulators etc).

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Except that there's an x in my name: ale2xis.har2ley, less the 2s. These raspberries are making trouble already.

chicken hearted said...

Email on its way. Perhaps the sorting of two problems, my excess of the glorious fruit and yr absence of same. A friend gave me a fridge magnet saying that 'if you have a garden and a library you have all you need.' Sounds right to me.

Ampersand Duck said...

My goodness, you don't sound very chicken-hearted to me! What lovely gardening shenanigans we all get up to.