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Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia's Changing Seasons

An interesting and provocative idea, written in an accessible and fun way
Will encourage people to take more notice of the world around them and to think about the way we view the seasonal changes in our natural world
Will get Australians thinking about the country they live in and what makes its climate and natural world interesting
The focus on plants will help address an imbalance in the amount of information available on our living world

By: Timothy J Entwisle (Author)


Paperback | Sep 2014 | #214488 | ISBN-13: 9781486302031
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.95 $29/€27 approx

About this book

Sprinter and Sprummer challenges the traditional four seasons, and encourages us to think about how we view changes in our natural world.

Since 1788, Australia has carried the yoke of four European seasons that make no sense in most parts of the country. We may like them for historical or cultural reasons, or because they are the same throughout the world, but they tell us nothing of our natural environment. It's time to reject those seasons and to adopt a system that brings us more in tune with our plants and animals – a system that helps us to notice and respond to climate change.

Using examples from his 25 years working in botanic gardens, author Timothy Entwisle illustrates how our natural world really responds to seasonal changes in temperature, rainfall and daylight, and why it would be better to divide up the year based on what Australian plants do rather than ancient rites of the Northern Hemisphere.

Sprinter and Sprummer opens with the origins and theory of the traditional seasonal system, and goes on to review the Aboriginal seasonal classifications used across Australia. Entwisle then proposes a new five-season approach, explaining the characteristics of each season, along with the biological changes that define them. Sprinter and Sprummer uses seasons to describe the fascinating triggers in the life of a plant (and plant-like creatures), using charismatic flora such as carnivorous plants, the Wollemi Pine and orchids, as well as often overlooked organisms such as fungi. The final chapter considers climate change and how the seasons are shifting whether we like it or not.


List of illustrations

1. The Vivaldi option
    The seasons we had to have
    The Earth, spinning like a top
    A quick seasonal tour of the world
    Seasons of the sun
    Opinions divided on the need for seasonal change

2. Knock'em down storm and other Indigenous seasons
    From west to north – two to six Australian seasons
    Spotlight on Sydney seasons
    The south-east – anything from three to seven seasons

3. Five very Australian seasons
    If it ain't broke, why fix it?
    Seasonal rumblings in the motherland
    Why I'm right

4. Sprinter, the early spring: August and September
    Celebrating the start of spring
    Wattle Day on the wrong day
    Flowery sprinter
    Animals spring to life in sprinter
    Sprinter, come rain or shine
    Sprinter by any other name
    Botanising in sprinter
    Think global, act local

5. Sprummer, the cranky one: October and November
    Biological cycles
    Sprummer is cranky in London too
    What to do about the mountains
    Sprummer, the Australian fall?

6. The long hot summer: December to March
    Fruit in summer and other seasons
    Life and death in summer
    The endless summer
    An English summer, if you're lucky
    Plants on fire
    Plant survivors

7. Autumn's fat spiders and fungi: April and May
    Stocking up for winter
    The fungal season
    Changeable weather
    Autumnal colour

8. Wakeful winter: June and July
    Budding up
    Chilled out
    A weedy history
    Night-time is party-time for some
    The winter that isn't

9. Changing seasons
    The inexorable creep of spring
    Australia's changing seasons
    Say it with flowers
    Ready for change


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Professor Tim Entwisle is Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. A highly respected scientist and scientific communicator with a broad interest in plants, science and gardens, he was Director of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust for eight years, and spent two years at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew before returning to Australia.

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