Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

The bright side of Spring

SONY DSCThere’s so much to celebrate when spring arrives. Plants that have been dormant over winter burst into life and others that have shown little enthusiasm for growth positively thrum with renewed vigour.SONY DSC

Now that I’ve switched focus from the shady courtyard at the back to the potentially sunny patch at the front I find there’s a bit of vim in my step too.

It pained me to do it but the camellia had a radical haircut. It’s the kind of cut that would make most people vow never to go back to that particular hairdresser but I don’t claim to have any skill in that department. Brute force and a sharp saw did the job.SONY DSC

The result has let more light into the front garden, so with luck the newly transplanted blueberry bushes will thrive and there’s even a chance I could grow something more exciting than shade-tolerant cabbage.SONY DSC

The growing space is small, barely a metre and a half square, so I put in a couple of lines of beetroot and rocket, with peas against the fence in the hope they’ll climb.SONY DSC

Let’s ignore the broad beans. My jubilant celebration of their leafy growth and abundant flowers turned out to be premature.

This is what they looked like a couple of weeks ago.SONY DSC

And the photograph below was taken this afternoon.


It’s not good, I know. After only a day or two tucked out of sight down the side of the house (oh all right, maybe I did leave them there for a week) while Matt and his mate worked on the fence, something ate them – all of them. If it was slugs or snails I marvel at their speed and wonder at their size. It makes me hesitate to go out at night alone.

SONY DSCIt’s been a week of action. A sharp brush and frenzied scrubbing with hot water, washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda sorted out the outdoor table and chairs. Picked up cheaply on eBay they’d weathered to a dark silver grey, which I quite liked until spots of mould took hold over winter and turned weathered elegance into drab and dirty neglect.

Now look at them. Amazing what a bit of effort can do. Thanks Clyde and Heath for helping!

Good as new and a lot cheaper

Good as new and a lot cheaper too

Removing the mould might help the climbing rose that grows next to the bench, which last year suffered a shocking attack of black spot. It’s been cut back, treated with lime sulphur and a dose of fertilizer and it’s looking much happier.

Me too. The trip to Tassie went well, the ladies of the CWA were as gorgeous as they always are and I sold heaps of books. So never mind that I’m not the world’s best pruner and who cares that something ate the broad beans, the main thing is to get in, have a go and don’t be timid. Throw away plants that aren’t thriving, or at the very least cut them back, and keep planting new ones.


The same is true of writing. If it’s not working chuck it out or cut it out, and keep trying something new.

I’m on the attack!

10 comments on “The bright side of Spring

  1. monsoonwendy
    September 10, 2015

    Hello gorgeous! Would you believe Spring and living in my own home has got me out in the garden too! I am attempting to channel my two guru gardeners, DebHunt and Kate Llewellyn. I have planted Vietnamese mint, coriander, spinach and rocket. And have been digging up Vinca until every muscle ached. Our garden abounds in wattle and crimson rosellas and i feel like the Missing in Action phase may be ending! Love reading about your inspiring adventures! And Deb….the ACT equivalent of the tip shop had a great outdoor chair for $5!!!! How cool is that?


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      September 11, 2015

      Hello back you beautiful woman. So glad to hear you’re back in action and I’m tempted to visit to see what your new ACT tip shop is like – and to explore that beautiful garden of yours. Feel honoured to be mentioned in the same sentence as Kate Llewellyn!


  2. Gaye Priestley
    September 10, 2015

    Hello Deb,
    Berry gardens are looking good at the moment. The Berry open gardens is on from the 8th-11th Oct. some in town some out of town.
    Kate Llewellyn is my favourite author, she was the one who started my interest in gardening, just by reading her books. Have you read The Waterlily, Dear You, and The Mountain?
    Loving my time in the garden, I just want to be with the irises, lavenders, rhododendrons and the snails.
    Happy gardening,


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      September 11, 2015

      Hi Gaye, good to hear from you! We’re in Berry on Monday, talking at The Arbour and inspecting a house…another one, yes, still looking 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation for more books to read by Kate Llewellyn, I’ll be down the library quick smart as I’ve run out of steam with the current book I’m reading. Hope your garden is thriving, you need some chooks for those snails! I’ll knock on your door if we get time and you’re always welcome to knock on ours 🙂


  3. nantubre
    September 10, 2015

    love love love this post! On this side of the world we are going into the fall garden season. I’m not doing one this year, maybe next. But seeing your springtime in progress and reading the other posts – I feel refreshed!


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      September 11, 2015

      Hope there’s a spring in your step Nan as you continue to recover. Fall is such a beautiful season but I must admit I’m glad to see the back of winter!


  4. Eliza Waters
    September 10, 2015

    Sounds like you are on a roll! 🙂


  5. candidkay
    September 14, 2015

    As your spring arrives, my autumn does. I am a great spring and fall gardener because it is cool. Summer, not so much. Enjoy the gentle breezes and sunshine as I pull out the jackets.


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      September 15, 2015

      Only seems like yesterday when we were heading into autumn and you were welcoming spring. The world keeps turning, thankfully!


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This entry was posted on September 10, 2015 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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