Friday, 24 July 2009


koala drinking I know just how the plants in my vegetable garden are feeling, because I feel the same! It was a long, hot and dry summer after several other similar years and the drought was beginning to show significantly throughout Adelaide and South Australia. Big trees have been dying, animals like koalas which normally survive on eucalypt leaves alone were found dead next to water bowls left out for dogs and there was that great but heart-wrenching photo of a cyclist sharing a bottle of water with a koala, in the middle of the road.

And then it rained....and rained.... all winter it has rained and the wind has blown in from the Antarctic, tearing up the beaches, knocking down stressed trees and sending me scurrying off to look for a coat and scarf and hat to wear on the beach every Thursday. It has been wonderful and no-one is complaining because this is how winter is supposed to be, but hasn't been, for many years.

And the plants that normally would have died back in this cold and wet weather are also flourishing! I have capsicums still regularly ripening, defying everything I would have expected in mid-July here. Cathy has tomatoes still ripening and even flowering! Trees which are normally deciduous are holding their leaves despite the winds and herbaceous perennial herbs are staying awake all winter just for the pure joy of being alive and feeling their roots growing in the rain-soaked soil.

The rain has been a bit patchy and not all of the state or even all of Adelaide, has had as much as is needed. As we huddled together to shelter from a torrential downpour and howling wind gust, on Wednesday at Sally's garden, my mother, only about 20 minutes drive away, was hanging out her washing on the clothes line, lamenting that the forecast rain had not come her way again.

There is nothing more depressing than drought, even for city dwellers. Water restrictions have meant precious plants have died and that is like losing a friend. Some commercial fruit growers have had to leave their trees to die, wasting so many years of hard work and reducing future income even further. So when the rain comes, the mood of the whole country changes and I do wonder if that is partly why Australians have shrugged off the economic recession as if it never happened, defying trends in every other country. The mood is buoyant, people are happy, the hills are green, rainwater tanks are full and we feel resilient and able to conquer anything, so long as we have rain.

No comments: