When I last posted on January 15 for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, many Australian communities were battling terrible bushfires. Here in Brisbane, on a few evenings there was a hint of smoke in the air and a dim pink glow in the evening from fires on Bribie Island.
As recently as a week ago, I was watering the garden regularly trying to keep the plants alive in searing heat. Our wet season was late, and although we'd had a couple of storms that had looked ominous, like the one below from late December, they produced little rain.
But over this long weekend when we traditionally celebrate Australia Day, the heavens opened. The wind and rain was relentless, life and death battles ensued, and as I type, there are still people on rooftops awaiting rescue. It brought to mind Dorothea MacKellar's description of a 'wilful, lavish land' and stanzas from her poem, 'My Country', one of the most loved in Australia:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze. *
Once again, here at Casa Bella, we were blessed. No damage, no flooding, just a tiny leak where I think the wind has forced water under the tiles. We just hunkered down till it started to settle this afternoon. A tree came down opposite my driveway, and I just saw a few of the neighbours head over with a chainsaw to remove it. (I optimistically headed out in the pouring rain late yesterday to try to drag it to the side before it got dark, but to no avail. I apparently need to eat more spinach.)
The water is finally starting to drain away in the backyard, the only really level ground here, but for a while it looked like the Amazon in miniature.
Even though some of the top-heavy trees have toppled when the soil has become too soft to hold them, and there is shredded foliage and twigs everywhere, most of the garden is undamaged, and some of the most delicate and fragile blooms remain.
|Poinciana flowers and the strappy foliage of the Ponytail Palm in the pool.|
|Daylily 'Jordan Verhaert'|
|Daylily 'Douglas Lycett'|
|Daylily 'Double Cranberry Ruffles'|
|Frangipani Plumeria Obtusa|
|This little spider is hunkered down in the cosmos.|
Of course, there are those who take it all in their stride!
For many the worst is yet to come. Many of the rivers have yet to peak, and then the clean-up must begin for inundated homes and businesses. What remains of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald is heading south to wreak havoc on New South Wales. Our thoughts are with all those in its path or already affected.
* You can read all of the poem 'My Country' here.