The local Council has given us ten days to prune, weed and generally refurbish our gardens if we want them to take the results away - free, gratis and for nothing. So since yesterday was Pisces's day off, I encouraged him to help me, his hands being fists of steel compared to mine. We now have a pile out the front but much left to do - and there is rain forecast. Not real rain you understand, of the kind that soaks in and bathes the plants' roots in a bath lasting weeks. No, this is more than likely to be a delicate misting that is burned off in a couple of days but at least it will spare us watering with some luck. The drought has us restricted to two ten minute garden watering sessions a week and the city is showing the effects. I drove past Lake Gwelup today and already the lawns surrounding it are dry and yellow and the centre of the lake itself is now an island.
Everywhere verges are being abandoned into miniature dustbowls. My own verge is still relatively green because gazanias self-seeded there about fifteen years ago and, since everything else I have ever planted there (except for the jonquils that appear miraculously every winter to perfume the street) from natives to desert exotics has died, I'm grateful for their dark green leaves, decorative even when heat stress makes them turn their silver-grey undersides out. Then the garden looks like moonlight by day except for a scattering of flowers ranging from bronze touched with rust through amber- gold, the exact colour of the eye of the tiger, and on to clear yellow, bright as a buttercup. I wonder if I held it under my chin as we did when we were children, whether it would tell me if I liked butter too?
The back garden is a different story. I've given up watering the lower garden. It's not visible from the house and water is very precious. I want to pave it, scent it with thymes in between the bricks and edge it with tough and lovely perenials like agapanthus, dianthus (the gorgeously perfumed clove pinks) and have purple hardenbergia garlanding along the back fence. Hardenbergia, kangaroo paws and banksias are very popular now but I remember when I was a child my mother was regarded as a little odd for encouraging these beautiful natives which everyone else in our sub-division ripped out.
The top garden just outside the house is finally being worked on again. The standard roses have had a first flush of blossom but a second is on the way and this evening I noticed a crimson bud opening on the Mr Lincoln bush. There's still some weeding to be done but in a few days I will plant waterfall petunias (and soften their pastels of lavenders and pinks with white and cream as well). They'll replace the nasturtiums that have finally shriveled under the heat and their delicate perfume can mingle with potted herbs outside my door.
I thought the rest could wait until it rains again but I succumbed to the selection of basils and parsleys at the shopping centre and now they sit in their seed boxes waiting to be planted out. Be patient, little ones. Rain is coming.