Clinging to spring

In New Zealand the calendars tell us that spring begins on September 1. So here we are halfway through the month and still getting four seasons in one day – some of those ‘seasons’ including hail and a day in the past week when I was back in full winter dress code. Today has been alternate rain and sun, some quite high temperatures and some very chill wind.

Feel like getting in some early vege? I was amused to read recently that soil scientist ‘John’ Walker, otherwise known as ‘the Prof’ to many gardeners, reckoned the best way to judge if it was warm enough to start planting out was to drop your trews and sit on the ground. If you ended up with a cold seat, then it was still too cold for planting. And apparently he readily demonstrated this! Read an obituary for him here.

My Vege Grower has some of his little darlings under a cloche in the garden and the rest waiting in their trays on the shed windowsill. He’s trying to get a headstart on the tomatoes this year as he reckons they cropped too late this past summer (and so we didn’t get the harvest we should have).

I think I’ve spied a couple of random garlic bulbs shooting up in a flower bed so we’ll see what eventuates there. The main garlic crop is otherwise doing well.

Because of this knockabout weather I thought I’d share some spring images from the recent Van Gogh & The Seasons exhibition in Melbourne. We were there for the second-to-last weekend which was, as you might expect, crowded (the show was extended by a few more days). Thankfully most people kept their good humour as we shuffled around the paintings like a giant conga line – mostly silent and without the high kicks!

How serious we all are! Photo: Sandra Simpson

Riverbank in Springtime, painted in Paris in 1887. Photo: Sandra Simpson

A Patch of Grass, also painted in Paris in 1887. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Tree Trunks in the Grass, painted in St Remy in April 1890. Van Gogh was in the local asylum and it’s thought this is the first painting he made when he was well enough to venture from his room. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Self-portrait 1887, painted in Paris. Suffering from breakdowns, selling nothing in his lifetime and committing suicide, ironically Van Gogh is now considered a ‘master’. Photo: Sandra Simpson