Sometimes when I walk along the Maribyrnong River path, I think I’ll never find something new to photograph and share online.
At a glance one might think that there’s never anything much happening, (compared to the many other locations I photographed when living on the south-eastern side of Melbourne city 3 years ago).
Yesterday was hot, (as is today), but my walk revealed plenty of new sights with the changing of the Seasons. It’s the small details that I seem to notice most. So when you cast your eyes over some ordinary green space in a residential area, it’s worth walking slowly and looking down towards your feet every now and then.
While I can no longer bend down low, or kneel to photograph ground cover up close, I managed to do well enough by using a telephoto lens and standing a bit further back and zooming in close.
I spent ages chasing a ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) around the high reeds but this is the only shot remotely in focus. It really blends in with the dry reeds and is hard to spot until it flies to another reed.
COMMON VETCH (Vicia sativa L. sip. sativa)
RIBWORT or RIBGRASS (Plantago lanceolata L.)
There seems to be some sort of algae on the river at the moment.
My asphalt pathway led past a clump of grass and I disturbed a DUSKY MOORHEN resting in a shady spot. Poor thing – I nearly stepped on it as it was hidden on the shady side.
I don’t know what this is called but it looked pretty.
By walking around one of the ponds anti-clockwise (which I rarely do), I came across a CHESTNUT TEAL couple resting. The male is the green-headed one on the left.
The succulent that covers much of the wetlands and moist areas is in bloom at the moment and a very attractive spot of colour amongst the greenery. I’ve forgotten the name that the Park Ranger told me.
Heading back home means photographing into the sun, but can’t be helped as this is the time in the afternoon when I’m free to go for a walk
You’ll have to look carefully to see the tiny flower on this ground cover. This is the best shot I could get from standing position.
Now & then there is some formal landscaping with this lovely greyish-blue low-growing plant. I don’t know what it’s called but it must be very hardy to withstand the windy conditions in the area. From a distance it reminds me of Santolina.or Cotton Lavender.
Much of the river path is straight and featureless with minimal shade trees so its quite hot to walk the main path in summer.
Some more of that lovely greyish-blue plant
Even the tree bark can be interesting if you take a closer look. This looks like some sort of Melaleuca (or paperbark).
It’s not until I’m 5 minutes walk from the turnoff to walk up to my home halfway up the hill that there are a few more trees.
10 minutes walk upriver next to Pipemakers Park is a footbridge, but strange to say, I’ve never walked over it, what with it being mainly golf links on the other side.
Some more of that TASMAN FLAX LILY I shared a couple of weeks ago
WALL FUMITORY or SMOKE WEED (Fumaria murals Sond. ex Koch) is in small patches near Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve
WHITE-FLOWER FUMITORY (Fumaria capreolata L.) almost completely covers the greener parts of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on the western rim. Almost looks like a light snow fall from a distance.
LOBED-LEAF HOP-BUSH or BEAD HOP-BUSH (Dodonaea lobulata)
CAPEWEED (Arctotheca calendula L.)
After I frightened a PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio) off the gravel path, it flew down into the low-lying field of Frogs Hollow and disturbed another couple of hens. A short fight followed before they parted ways to graze on the grass seed again.
Another shot of a NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (as seen over the Nature Reserve fence) in the deep shade. Had to lighten the shadows in post-processing to reveal the bird’s identity
I’d barely walked past Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on to the Maribyrnong river path when I spotted this Red-flowering Gum in the middle of a calf-high grass field this afternoon. I believe its Corymbia ficifolia (originally called Eucalyptus ficifolia).
Feel free to correct me in the comments section if I’m wrong. I know nothing about indigenous flora.
If it is this species, the one I saw was a baby at about 7-8 foot high, as it can grown up to 10 metres (or about 30+ feet). It was gorgeous, even from some distance away when I made this first photo with my long 150-500mm lens.
With the same camera lens, I got a bit closer, but there were so many flowers, I couldn’t isolate one particular one. I suppose I could have cut off some surrounding foliage, but that’s not my thing to do when walking in nature.
I prefer to see images of the real plant with no disturbance of its natural habitat if possible.
This red-flowering eucalypt is often used as a street plant in residential areas due to the profusion of flowers, but this specimen was definitely the most colourful I’d ever seen.
I stretched what is essentially a 30 minute walk to Maribyrnong Wetlands into a 2 hour stroll, (slower than snail pace), in the Spring sunshine. But was glad of my light windproof jacket as the breeze was cool, despite the heat of the sun.
One day there are buds on the branches, then the tiny feathery fronds of foliage appear and next minute………………..a young tree full of leaves a couple of weeks later.
My little friend Mr House Sparrow and I looked over the scene today and agreed…..Spring really is the best time of the year.
I beckoned him to come down to look over the last couple of days of hard work I’d put in. (Not really days per se, afternoons are about as much as I can manage when it comes to re-potting and bending over with a bad back).
Well, it took two days plus some intermittent showers.
Italian Parsley, of which I had far too much a few weeks ago, has been replaced with one of the new Tomato Plants.
The English Parsley had grown so well all through the winter, I’d had to give it a haircut several times.
The pink Argyranthemum had been tossed around by the winter storms, but continues to bloom since it was planted on 4th November 2016 – wouldn’t it be grand if it bloomed for ever & ever. We’ll see.
The Lemon Thyme had died back and I’d cut it down to 1/2″ woody stubble, but today, it was back and well and truly on the way to the height of Summer.
The Sage…..well, I almost thought it was dead over winter, but today, the leaves are fighting for space and I’m wondering if it will burst out of the pot.
My mediocre Rosemary which never really grew in the (mostly) shade when I lived next to the Royal Botanic Gardens, nearly split in half during last week’s wind gusts. I’ve been waiting for a few branches to get near to the black top of the balcony fence, but about 15 branches are now about 2-3″ above the fence line.
The Polygala is almost in full bloom, despite being blown over with the wind a few weeks ago.
Remember the gale force winds a few weeks ago. The 3 big pots which were blown over will need to be well watered to weigh down the pots in future, despite the fact that the Rosemary prefers dry(ish) feet.
A closer shot of the Polygala flowers.
The Sorrel is doing much better since I removed the Perpetual Spinach which shared its pot.
This will be the only Mint I’ll keep as it grows like wildfire.
The Blueberry ‘Nellie Kelly’ was lovely a few weeks ago, but I suspected a House Sparrow had snacked on its flowers?
Not a good shot, but the Blueberry is covered in flowers. I wonder if they’ll all set fruit? I’ve never grown a Blueberry before.
The Rosemary which nearly split in half with the gale force wind was released from its corset of twine and bamboo stakes today to let it breathe.
The blue Bacopa was looking its best today, but I think it needs a wee haircut. As I mentioned in a previous post, it has bloomed non-stop since the 4th November 2016, although there were a few battered blooms amidst the good ones in the gale force winds Melbourne has been having.
Pelargonium ‘Survivor’ had many crops of toadstools during the winter and some sort of leaf rot so hopefully these new leaves and some hot sun will dry it out.
The Red Capsicum which I’ve never grown before was a tiny seedling when I bought it last Sunday, but already has several new leaves. I only staked it just in case the wind blows it over.
Yesterday I planted one ‘Patio’ Tomato and today, the other two. Unfortunately, I broke a few leaves in re-potting them in to the final resting pot, but hopefully they’ll recover.
Another shot of that Sage that had so many new leaves, they are fighting for space.
….and another shot of the Polygala.
Note: none of these plants need staking, but with our ongoing fierce winds in Melbourne in the past few months, I figure I may as well put the bamboo stakes in now and tie the trunks loosely just in case of another gale.
I took a random shot of some movement in the deep shade of a tree in Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on the way home this afternoon. I’d been over to Pipemakers Park to do an hour of ‘lazy’ weeding in the ruined garden and was absolutely exhausted. Note: Lazy weeding means standing up in front of a waist high concrete pipe which has weeds growing in it and where I don’t have to bend.
I’VE BEEN WORKING ON WEEDING THE WAIST-HIGH PIPES WHICH HAVE TREES GROWING FROM THE CENTRE shown on the far left and far right of this image’s frame..
Anyway, imagine my surprise when I cropped down the first image in this post by about 85% and lightened the shadows and found a New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae). Not bad for a random shot where you can’t see the bird clearly.
Over at Pipemakers Park, the Tuesday morning volunteering Gardening Group have made some amazing progress with weeding, planting some hardy Lavenders and Salvias and mulching. Unfortunately, I noticed a couple of small Lavender bushes and a succulent had been stolen from the Herb Garden area (in the centre of the image below). What a shame.