Smoke still drifts lazily up from chimneys around the valleys. The weather’s cool, some might say cold. Despite the increase in daylight and the budding flowers that are beginning to emerge, winter can hold you in its tenacious grip a little longer. It’s the wind, though, that really is the mark of spring. Our house is tucked underneath some beautiful mature trees that act as a windbreak. We hear the breeze going through the leaves and the rain against the west-facing windows. Weather like this makes me feel alive. Totally, exhilaratingly alive.
The garden work tends to move indoors for a month or two. Propagation is the name of the game right now. Getting seeds to germinate indoors, so we can plant outdoors when the last threat of frost has abated. Each nook of each corner of Tassie has its own microclimate. I have neighbours who don’t see a frost. But we tend to. Others just a hilltop or two away have a very short growing season, determined by the altitude. Every plot, every garden, is a result of geography, climate and the work put in by the gardener. Italians in Hobart can grow huge, sweet figs. Probably up against a north-facing wall. You can grow bananas in Tassie if you put them in the right spot.
I can’t even keep a lemon tree alive and I’ll blame my location. But my friends and neighbours can. So a little lemon juice in a soup, or my apples in a tart, or some cavolo nero from the garden all add up to the taste of the region on the plate. All that’s required is a spot out of the wind to eat them in.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Crawford. Food preparation by Kate Flower.