This small Red Hibiscus has held on and survived being dug up by Maggie, replanted and finally re-located to a Maggie safe area. Now, 2 years later these beautiful coloured flowers appear individually, bloom for a couple of days, then shrivel up. We have to remember to water the plant regularly. A much larger, multi blooming Yellow Hibiscus thrives a few metres away.
exposing bashful foliage
fiery red survivor
time passed slowly
older family memories
never slip away
My wife Jill and her brother Murray now own this house which was originally built by their great great grandfather in the 1860’s. At this time one of the most productive gold mining areas in the world had developed in the area around the house and in surrounding valleys and was known as the Bendigo gold mine fields in Victoria Australia. The house was built by hand from mud bricks sourced from a nearby stream. Three generations of the family grew up here before it was finally leased for a while then left uninhabited until Jill’s family re-discovered it in the late 1960’s. Jill’s family spent hundreds of hours across many years repairing the mud brick walls and interior. We have enjoyed many picnics at the house and explored the flora of the surrounding area . A regional park adjoins the property and we wander out the back and through the remnants of the once bustling, prosperous gold fields observing nature and taking written records and photos..
This solitary Eastern Spinebill, ( a honeyeater) visits our garden annually, arriving in late Autumn and departing back to the mountains in early Spring. He seeks out the indigenous plants flowering in our back yard, Grevillias, and Correas Thirty years ago whole families of these beautiful birds could be seen across our city, but climate change and bird species adaption change now means seeing one is fortunate.
This head of seaweed was peacefully floating beside the Black Rock sea wall on Port Phillip Bay. It could have been torn off the growing plant by strong currents stirred up by a storm a few days earlier. Maggie and I and walk this route often and also get Jill to join us whenever she can. My practice is to carry a camera on these walks as there are many natural treasures waiting to be captured. The camera/lens combinationd can be heavy if I want close ups, especially the telephoto lens. The other challenge is holding Maggie with one hand while photographing with the other. Occasionally I leave the camera at home and of course an exceptional opportunity like a penguin pops up.
Every Summer for the 35 years we have lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham, the call of Male Greengrocer Cicadas as been one of the most memorable sounds of the season. These beautiful gentle insects emerge from the ground under trees after incubating for 7 years. They climb into the foliage, fly from branch to branch, eat , call and reproduce. Every warm evening the males begin to vibrate their hind legs and emit ear splitting calls as loud as motor mowers, as they seek out the females. They only live a few days, the females burying their eggs in the ground at the base of the trees they have lived in. Without fail from the first week of December Cicadas calling would happen on every warm evening, sometines the sounds would continue for hours into the night. This year we have had plenty of warm evenings. After 5 weeks of Summer we have heard THREE Cicada calls. Every other year 3 calls would happen within 5 minutes of any warm evening. What has happened? I will investigate , however my guess is one more casuality of climate Change on the insect world. Pity we cannot see the disappearance of useless politicians like this absence of our Cicadas.
My last contact with Cicadas this year happened 6 nights ago. We heard our third call then silence. A short time later there was a thump at the back door. I went out to investigate and this Cicada was sitting on the veranda. I picked it up and it nestled in my hand. I carried it through the house and gently placed it on a fern in the front yard. later I checked and it had gone. We have not heard another call. I would not be as gentle if I met one of our Federal Government politicians.
Today, the first day of October, the second month of Spring finally feels like that season has arrived. We had a lazy lunch at a cafe in Black Rock where Maggie had the usual fuss made of her and a selfie taken. When we arrived home I went for a walk around the garden capturing some of the different plants currently flowering on my camera. Only five are indigenous, can you identify the exotics. The one we are observing most keenly is our Blueberry bush as it is laden with flowers turning to fruits as the bees attend.
We were walking along the coastal pathway at Ricketts Point recently. This blue male Superb Fairy Wren and his brown female partner were aggressively warning all living things to stay away from the nest they had built somewhere in the bushes nearby. For small birds they are very courageous.
One hundred metres down the street from our home these photos show where a suburban house and garden once stood for over 60 years, where families shared their lives, where plants once grew and died , where birds, animals and insects co-existed in nature. Now all gone.A desert of flat dozed lifeless dirt. Already foundations are being created to build fence to fence double story townhouses and concrete hard surface and maybe a few plants in pots. Gone is a local history and an ecosystem, not an original one but an ecosystem that saw many indigenous life forms existing. Through the gap in the rear fence where green weeds grow the same thing happened last year and over that next street the same again. This is happening all across our suburb and in neighbouring suburbs and on and on in Melbourne Australia. Population growth demanding new dwellings and a greed from property developers to squeeze as many living spaces on a block of land as possible means vegetation and fauna loss on an increasing scale. We have noticed the little birds have disappeared from our garden and that is one small sign. Our local government is unable to limit or control this madness, this environmental destruction. As well the loss of trees and shrubs adds to global warming. Maybe these images sum up Australia’s attitude as a nation to global warming. No chance for haiku !!!!!!
Walking the track out the back of our house in Bendigo is one of our favourite places. There is a small remaining pocket of ground where native orchids still flourish from Winter across into early Spring. These beautiful tiny plants were much more abundant everywhere in this area of The Bendigo Regional Park. However 2 severe wild fire burn offs by the State Government authorities during the last decade has all but eliminated Orchids now except in our special place that lies just at the edge of the burnt areas. We have an impressive photographic record of native orchids from this entire area dating back to the 1970’s, including a couple of species that we have not seen for 30 years. Each year we return with hope and cameras. Both these photos are taken at the same spot on the track. Charlie was trusted off lead in her mature years however Maggie must wait a while before she wanders the track independently.
Recently we visited the Grampians / Gariwerd National Park North West of Melbourne for the annual first weekend in October Spring native wildflowers exhibitions. At Pomonal the local members of the Society for Growing Australian Native Plants display flowering specimens cut from local bush gardens. These plants represent the Spring flowering plants of Southern Australia. At Halls Gap the Friends of Grampians/Gariwerd National Park display the range of flowering plants found across the park. Rangers collect specimens in the days before this weekend from the park and the friends prepare the display.
We have now regularly visited these displays across the last 12 years and always look forward to the concentrated displays of colour and the aroma of nectar. Because Maggie was with us we could not get out into the tracks of the park looking for flowering plants in their natural environments.
These 3 images are from open gardens at the Pomonal display.