Summer Verdure                      

      Everywhere you look in the Manning Valley these days, you’ll see the signs of the most luscious growth of many seasons – the culmination of several years of good rains without overheating. The low rolling hills west of the Pacific Highway are full of luxuriant pastures with fat cows and horses. The rivers and streams are fully flowing and oyster farming has started up again. We bought our property on Mitchells Island during the drought. And then we watched our wetland dry out, our lawns growing brown, and most of the planting we did dying off. In the year that we started building our dream home, the rains came, and fortunately hung around. The wet pattern created perfect conditions for the no-dig gardens we built from old newspapers, mulch, and cow poo. The soil became rich and full of worms, and now, the variety of texture, colour, and height of vegetation is dazzling, all in a setting of park-like emerald-green lawns. I’ve heard my Sydney friends complain that it’s summer’s end, and they really never got to enjoy the season because of rains and chilly weather. But, hey, over here it’s another story. Because of the lush, wet conditions, wildlife has proliferated. I’ve never know as much birdlife as we’ve seen this year. Given that this is Australia, and it’s meant to be the driest continent, the good times will end. As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. But, every day living in such verdure is an absolute blessing, a grace, a delight.