Winter can be a very drab time in a seasonal garden. Here in Sydney's outer west, we get quite cold winters with some late frost. I know, it's not as bad as snow and freezing conditions, but it can be our undoing when we plant tender and sub tropical treasures that grow well the rest of the year.
I love the seasonal garden from the soft and pretty spring, to the often harsh and hot summer where our perrenial's flourish. Autumn is my favourite season. The heat is gone leaving gentle days, warm soils giving their last generous burst of flower before the leaves start to turn and drop. Then before your ever really ready for it, winter is here! The trees are bare, the roses are now just leggy sticks, the wisteria leaves have made a massive mess around the verandah and everything has lost colour, lushness and interest.
But wait.... through the dropped leaves of all my deciduous trees the bulbs are poking up. They awaken every year and delight me with their bold heads full of fragrance. The jonquils flower first - a very heady scent if bought inside, then towards the end of winter the daffodils take centre stage. It is always exciting when you first see the bright green tips of hyacinth and tulip foliage emerge from cold soils, and it usually heralds the beginning of other forgotten bulbs emerging through frost. Tiny crocus around a sleeping Japanese maple, freesia, ranunculus, babiana and anemone. All these little treasures I had forgotten were there and yet they present themselves proudly every year to remind me that winter is not as bleak as I thought.
I might just go out and see what else is making itself known - it's just like a treasure hunt. The hardest part is waiting oh so slowly to see what colours will emerge this year.