22 August 2009

Sprinter and sprummer

'George Gershwin would turn in his grave, but if a Sydney botanist gets his way, Australians could find themselves humming "Sprummertime and the living is easy" come October.

Tim Entwisle, executive director of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, wants the traditional four seasons to be abolished. Or rather, he wants to tinker with them and add two new seasons: sprummer and sprinter.

Dr Entwisle believes the model of four three-month seasons, which Australia inherited from Britain, is unsuited to the rhythms of a continent with vastly different weather patterns. If the seasonal calendar was adjusted, he says, people would become more attuned to their environment and better able to observe signs of climate change.

Although spring officially begins on 1 September, for instance, Australia's national flower, the wattle, always starts blooming in August, or even July. "Every year people say spring has come early, but in fact it happens every year," Dr Entwisle said yesterday.

He is advocating that spring be brought forward to August and last only two months, to be followed by a new pre-summer season, spanning October and November. Summer would start in December, as it does at present, but would last four months rather than three. There would be a short autumn in April and May, followed by a brief winter in June and July.

"Sprummer" is Dr Entwisle's light-hearted suggestion for the pre-summer season, while the early spring months, he proposes, could be "sprinter". A competition could be held to decide names, he says'

- Indepedent, 22 August 2009

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