The only thing making our holiday return bearable (yes, I’m still moaning about it) is that we have come back at my favourite time of year, orchid season.
Firstly I should explain that our garden is a long narrow half an acre, and that I use the term ‘garden’ loosely. In front of the house we have a traditional garden, then immediately out the back door is the grassy standard all the way to the Hills Hoist. After that however, the land starts heading skywards, that half of the block is what we call ‘The Hill’. The Hill is just that, and is populated by gum trees and scrub and much ground level greenery, none of which was arranged by the hand of man or could be even vaguely described as lawn.
One of the lovely things about it is that it is made up of locally native plants, so every time we are wandering around up there and see something weedy that doesn’t belong it is quickly yanked out!
This time of year the Man is not allowed up there with the mower, even when the grasses are getting a bit too long, he just has to bide his time. In amongst those grasses are a selection of small native orchids that I call my babies. He starts up the mower near the back door and I shout out “Don’t you dare go up there mowing my babies!” Sometimes, when the flowers are just coming up and quite hard to see, everyone is banned from walking around up there with their big stompy uncaring feet. It is hard to ban the dog, but she has tiny little feet and I just have to pretend that she isn’t up there at all.
This is the time of year that my camera and I talk walks up on the Hill and everyone knows to stay away. It is also the time when the neighbours probably think I am crazy, walking slowly around looking at the ground, stopping every now and again to take a photograph.
One of the first ones to come up in our garden are the purple Waxlip Orchids, this is the same time the tiny carnivorous plants start flowering too, so there are beautiful purple flowers standing high in the grass and tiny pink ones topping the sundews.
Over the rest of the year different kinds of orchids will come up at different times but the very first ones to come up are the Greenhood orchids. They live in a large patch just over the fence in the corner of the (nice) neighbours block. I have invited them over but they stubbornly remain on the wrong side of the fence. The neighbours don’t mow much so these little guys are safe but their appearance always alerts me to the fact that the mowing activities of the Man need curtailing for a while!