FRENCH PROVERB – Autumn is the hush before Winter.
Adelaide, South Australia, has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and moderate rainfall. It has hot, dry summers. Adelaide is the driest of the Australian capital cities. The average daily autumn temperatures are max. 22.4°C, min. 12.5ºC. Autumn 2014 (March to May) was the fourth warmest on record in South Australia, and included a record run of 16 consecutive days in May with maximum temperatures over 20ºC within the city and metropolitan area, making it Adelaide’s hottest autumn ever. During the autumn months the Adelaide weather is particularly pleasant and the experience of a walk in the Adelaide hills is most enjoyable for locals and tourists alike. Stirling is one of the prettiest towns in the hills area. Founded in 1888, Stirling grew rapidly as a result of the expansion of apple growing and market gardening to satisfy the demand of the expanding city of Adelaide, whose centre is only 16 kilometres away. Owing to the mild climate, many deciduous trees, particularly the maple, have been imported from Europe and these, with leaves in vibrant tones, are a major tourist attraction in the autumn.
Forming a centrepiece in my Past Garden was a flowering CRABAPPLE . I have memories of the day I purchased it from a specialist tree nursery in the Adelaide hills. It took a degree of manoeuvering to load it into my small car. Apples and crabapples are in the rose family (Rosaceae) in the genus Malus. A crabapple is an apple with fruit smaller than two inches (10 cm) in diameter. The fruit of some species is too sour to eat but is still useful for making jelly and preserves. The crabapple tree creates visual impact during all four seasons. In spring the delicate pastel colours from both the new leaf growth and the emerging buds are a joy to the eye. Unopened buds can be of a much deeper hue than the dainty open flowers. During autumn months, the brilliant rich rustic foliage colours provide a complete change to the landscape. Falling leaves reveal the glorious red or yellow colour of the fruit remaining like jewels after the leaves have fallen. These trees are worthy of the oft-given description ‘jewels of the landscape’.
ORNAMENTAL PEAR (Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’) – Three of these trees create a very worthwhile shade screen (in summer months) for the back of my cottage. Their upright structure makes for an excellent group feature. The trees have a narrow growth habit with shiny green leaves that hang vertically from the branches. The leaves have an attractive curl. The glossy dark green summer foliage changes in autumn to vibrant tones of orange, red and burgundy. As with many other ornamental pears, the Capital flowers heavily in spring. The flowers are white. They are usually the last of the ornamental pears to blossom, but are also usually the last to lose their leaves in autumn.
GLORY VINE – This is featured on a latticed barrier between my cottage and that of my next door neighbour. It is a hardy, essentially non-fruiting vine that has become popular in South Australian gardens as an ornamental over the last 50 years. It is sold under a number of names but is often simply called ‘Glory Vine’. As the leaves change in autumn from green to many shades of red it certainly lives up to its name and is glorious to behold.
There is a harmony in Autumn and a lustre in its sky which through the Summer is not heard or seen
As if it could not be, as if it had not been! Percy Bysshe Shelley