Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Spring Week on the Farm

Spring has arrived, and along with it the unpredictable spring weather.  But all is forgiven because spring is the season that brings the incredible transformation in the landscape from the quietness of winter to an explosion of life and colour.  We've already experienced the highs and lows of spring with days of summer-like heat and spring snow, wind-swept days and still, misty days.  And throughout it all the spring flowering plants produce their vibrant colours and make us happy.

The Road to Swallows Nest - a misty spring day
Spring snow on the driveway at Swallows Nest Farm
Spring afternoon sunlight among the Leucadendrons
This week on the farm I've been picking a variety of spring flowering plants.  Leucadendron Gandogeri are a cheery yellow leuco that are flowering now.  We planted our first Gandogeri 3 years ago and are just starting to get good quantities of really lovely blooms.  Leucadendrons are such a diverse group of plants.  These Gandogeri have almost a daisy-like appearance when flowering.

Leucadendron Gandogeri
I've also been picking Waratah this week.  They were already beginning to bloom when the snow hit last week and some of them have a little discolouration damage, which is a pity.  They have definitely exceeded my expectations though and I'm pretty happy with them considering what they've been through!

Waratah waiting to go in the cold room
The other thing I've picked this week has been the Berzelia or Button Bush.  This is a gorgeous South African plant that's not a protea but has similar growing requirements.  I just love it - such a special plant!  We grow Berzelia Lanuginosa a Swallows Nest.  It has little clusters of balls of flowers on the end of sturdy stems.  The little balls begin green and as they get closer to flowering become creamy white until the tiny flowers burst out and make the little balls appear like fluffy white pompoms.  They are a great flower for weddings, and I have a couple coming up so they'll be put to good use.

Berzelia Lanuginosa
The Richea Dracophylla has been so busy producing flowers this year, and it takes the spring snow in its stride.  It's native habitat is the slopes of Mt Wellington and similar mountain slopes in Tasmania.  It is well adapted to coping with the extremes of the Tasmanian spring weather.  There are so many buds on some of the plants and I've been picking them early, trying to find the optimal time to pick that gives them the longest flowering time off the bush.

Richea Dracophylla
Today marks the spring or vernal equinox, when the day and the night are equal in length.  From now on, there will be more day than night, until just before Christmas and the summer solstice. Its a busy time on the farm with all the spring and early summer flowering plants, and the busyness of calendar events too.  Its lovely to have the longer days and the lengthy twilight.  They make me feel relaxed, as if I have all the time in the world.

Well, that's my spring week on the farm.  I'll leave you with a photo of tonights equinox sunset!


  1. I keep saying it but you live in the most magical place! I love how reading your blog has opened my mind to flowers/plants I wasn't especially aware of before. My fiance gave me a bunch of leucadendron and silver dollar gum last week which made me instantly think of your beautiful farm.

    1. Thanks Prue. Tasmania is a very pretty place. Thanks for your lovely comments! I hope you enjoyed your flowers.

  2. Your photographs are breathtaking. The Road to Swallows Nest is one of my favorites; pictures of paths always present such possibilities. The spring snow, sunset, and, of course, all of the flowers are also amazing.