T.J. Entwisle
Since 1788, Australia has persisted with four European seasons that make no sense in much of the country. Australians may like them for historical or cultural reasons, or because they are they are (apparently) the same throughout the world, but they tell us nothing, and reflect less, of our natural environment. I argue for a rejection of these seasons and the adoption of a system that brings us more in tune with our plants and animals; a system to help us to notice and respond to climate change. I propose a 5- season model for southern Australia, starting with sprinter (August and September), the early Australian spring. That is when the bushland and our gardens burst into flower. It is also when that quintessential Australian plant, the wattle (Acacia), is in peak flowering across Australia. Next is sprummer (October and November), the changeable season, bringing a second wave of flowering. My proposed summer (December to March) is four months long, extending into March. Autumn (April and May) reflects the brief colouring of leaves on mostly exotic trees, but also peak fungal fruiting. Winter (June and July) is for that short burst of cold weather. I’m not the first to suggest an alternative way to divide up the year. Australia’s Aboriginal communities have watched the world around them over tens of thousands of years, and come up with two to thirteen seasons to suit their local area. I’m also not the first recent immigrant to suggest we need a change. Any system covering such a large area will be a compromise, and I have based mine mostly on what plants do. Whether my new seasons are adopted or not, I hope they encourage people to take better notice the natural world around us and how it changes.
Entwisle, T.J. (2015). SPRINTER AND SPRUMMER: AUSTRALIA'S CHANGING SEASONS. Acta Hortic. 1097, 117-124
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1097.13
seasons, Australia, sprinter, sprummer, summer, autumn, winter, spring, Aboriginal communities

Acta Horticulturae