It is spring in Australia; has been, officially, since the first of September – even though the mercury might disagree.
I’ve been asked, from time to time, what the weather is like “Down Under” – I guess by people who haven’t looked at a map or globe recently. After all, the great southern land reaches well into the Tropic of Capricorn and extends chillingly close to Antarctica. So climate zones vary greatly, with the vast, dry centre having seasonal extremes of heat and cold; the tropical north being hot and humid most of the year; and the coastal regions, where most people live, being somewhat more temperate. Most of the country, of course, is also subject to regular fires, droughts and floods.
Canberra, Australia’s capital, is in a temperate zone, and unlike Sydney, where I lived for many years, has four distinct seasons that more closely resemble those I remember from my youth. Canberra turns on the colours in both spring and autumn.
Every year for the last twenty-six, Canberra has celebrated spring with Floriade, billed as the largest floral festival in the Southern Hemisphere. I’ve been to Floriade in the past – the occasion I remember best was the year when classical music played from the flower beds and Chihuly glass installations graced the ponds.
That was many years ago, so we decided to make the trip last weekend and see what the festival had to offer. Originally, Floriade was essentially a spring flower garden display, with beds of exotic bulbs and annuals planted alongside Lake Burley Griffin in Commonwealth Park.
That sure has changed! It is now a full “lifestyle” event with workshops, demonstrations, entertainment, food, and shopping. For the last six years, there has even been a “NightFest”, turning the flower gardens into a ticketed after-dark lighting and performance space.
We returned the next morning to join the crowds admiring and photographing the more-than-one-million blooms in the various flower beds designed to pay tribute to Canberra’s centenary.
We’ve had wild winds and stormy rains alternating with glorious sunny days in our little corner of the country.
I guess it really is spring!
Enjoy the season, whatever it is whereever you are.
Happy rambles!Pictures: 25-29September2013