Sprinter and Sprummer

Paperback - September 2014 - AU $29.95

eBook - September 2014 - eRetailers

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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. + Full description

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. The book 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.

- Short description


Proceeds from the sale of this book will assist the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne to advance the knowledge, conservation and enjoyment of plants.

Professor Tim Entwisle was presented with the AIH Horticulturist of the Year award for 2014.

Listen to an interview with author Timothy Entwisle titled 'Sprinter and Sprummer: A call for more seasons for Australia' on ABC Radio National – Ockham's Razor.

Watch an interview with author Timothy Entwisle titled 'Fact Sheet: A Change of Seasons' on Gardening Australia.


"Fascinating reading."
Helen Young, Weekend Australian, Sep 2014

"Entwisle is to plants what Nigella Lawson is to food; here's passion, look-you-in-the-eye writing that's light yet rich and smart ... it's not a treatise on plants or climate but a rollick; you're drawn in by Entwisle's writing and his wonder at plants. I dare you not to be more interested in plants after this."
Michael Mobbs, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, Sep 2014

"his musings are interesting, charming and a great excuse for a description of the fascinating climate triggers in the life of plants."
Bill Condie, Cosmos, Nov 2014


Paperback | September 2014 | $ 29.95
ISBN: 9781486302031 | 184 pages | 200 x 130 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Illustrations, Maps

ePDF | September 2014
ISBN: 9781486302048
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • 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


List of illustrations

1. The Vivaldi option
2. Knock'em down storm and other Indigenous seasons
3. Five very Australian seasons
4. Sprinter, the early spring: August and September
5. Sprummer, the cranky one: October and November
6. The long hot summer: December to March
7. Autumn's fat spiders and fungi: April and May
8. Wakeful winter: June and July
9. Changing seasons


View the full table of contents.


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.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will assist the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne to advance the knowledge, conservation and enjoyment of plants.