Sunday, June 26, 2011

Groundhog? no, Wattle Day!

Here in the farthest reaches of the universe where everyone hangs upside down, we look to the first wattle to bloom as a promise of Spring. Allegedly there are  at least 365 varieties of wattle (mimosa), ensuring that one of them blooms on any given day in the year. This may be folklore but I believe it, along with fairies, free lunches and the promises made by manufacturers of anti-wrinkle creams!
The earliest and possibly showiest, bloomer is Acacia baileyana, the Cootamundra wattle (Cootamundra being a town way, way out west in the colder regions) beautiful as it is, when it gets to the coast, it goes nuts and becomes a bit of a pest).
Wow what a preamble! The wattle features on the Australian coat of arms and is beloved of bush poets and composers of doggerel. Unfortunately, not many words rhyme with wattle (bottle, throttle) so it is generally referred to as mimosa in poetry.

It's a tricky subject to paint, sharing with many native flowers, a kind of formlessness, but so seductive in real life that it is impossible not to try.  Unfortunately it also heralds the start of the 'sneezin' season'.

Henry Kendal is another of those tragic poets to die young, his most famous poem is 'Bell Birds' which in the days of such torture, was sadly cheapened by the fact that every schoolchild was forced to learn it.

In case anyone is pedantic enough to point it out, the official Wattle Day is now September 1st but like almost everything  familiar and normal , it has been changed arbitrarily from the original day, August 1st. However, dates are irrelevant to when you feel Spring in the air.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Origame,
    Beautiful painting and an interesting post. But we're in the dead cold winter!
    Cheers, Sadami