Once we have passed the shortest day of the year, it is quite usual for some plants, associated with spring in cooler parts of the world, to begin to flower. Snowdrops and snowflakes, paper white narcissus, other types of jonquils and some daffodils, come to mind. They begin to flower despite the fact that here in southern Victoria the weather will remain wintry for another couple of months.
Once August hits, we really start to see the emergence of flowers and birds start to nest on a scale that prompts people to rush to announce the beginning of spring. Which it isn’t really. Not yet. It is a transitional season: it carries the hallmarks of spring while still wearing a winter coat. Silver wattle brightens the margins of the creek. By the end of the month, the very worst of the winter weather will be over.
I refer to August as pre-spring. Other people might have other names for it. The Kulin calendar calls it Guling or Orchid season, which follows the wombat season of Waring, our deep winter season and comes in advance of true spring, Poorneet, the tadpole season.
I am fascinated by the subtle changes in light and temperature, the behaviour of animals and the growth of plants, which signal the seasonal shifts. The observation of these deepens our understanding of our environment and gives us a point of connection with indigenous people who have been noticing these changes over thousands of years.