AUTUMN IN THE DANDENONG RANGES (east of Melbourne’s outer suburbs)

From the archives

18th May 2014

These trees would be mainly English and European trees planted in this small park.   The late afternoon sun was still present at the start of this series, but later, just before we left, the light had mostly gone.


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower
 Albert Camus
Despite the gusty wind and overcast day yesterday, I couldn’t help but admire the Japanese Maple leaves tossing around above my balcony fence.  Thank goodness the dead branch is on the other side of the tree next to the road and I can barely see it from my desk chair.
I sat and watched the leaves in lazy silence as I ate my lunch at my desk.   Who could resist getting the camera out and making a few images.   For a change, I didn’t actually worry whether the results were in focus or not.   I just enjoyed the tangle of colour as the wind picked up speed, died down, and then picked up and raced faster than ever down my steep cliffside short road.
The Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows are out in great numbers today and I’m hoping the sun will stay out and give me an opportunity to get out in the fresh air.   Hard to believe Winter is on the horizon and the last 3 months of Autumn have flown by in a haze of TV News and mostly deserted streets.
I feel as though I’ve missed Autumn altogether this year.
I came across this sunset captured in early Autumn – 3rd March 2018 BC (before construction across the road) as I looked back to see what was happening the same time in previous years.
It never ceases to amaze me how one minute the sunset is gold and orange and next minute……, mauve, blue or purple…….in the same night.
SUNSET up on the clifftop opposite my apartment balcony – 3rd March, 2018



From the archives

4th May 2011

I THINK THIS MIGHT BE JAPANESE BLOOD GRASS (Imperata) in Autumn as the image was made in May 2011 (mid-Autumn).

Canon EOS 500D   (2009 model)

Lens Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS   

ISO 320



I was going to do a post specifically on grasses (and/or tree barks), but my ‘grass’ folder is rather low on images, so it might have been a folder I lost when my computer crashed last year.   I never, ever did finish re-filing, or re-setting up new folders, from last May when I got a new iMac desktop computer and the Photo library transfer didn’t work and I lost so many images).


It rained on/off most of last week (note: many of these images (with the exception of the young Sparrow image above) were taken through dirty or raindrop covered lounge windows, hence a slight blur).

One day it rained all night and all day – Thursday.   Not heavily.   Just constantly.  Deeply enriching the soil of my Balcony Garden.   I cannot express how grateful I am for the cool days and rain.

Autumn has got off to an incredible start.   If this keeps up all our dams and reservoirs will fill up.

Dry creeks and river beds will flow with water.

New leaf shoots will burst out of tree trunks in the Bush-fire affected areas.

I haven’t got any exciting new images, just images of the rain and how lush my Balcony Garden is looking at the present time.

The Italian (or European) flat-leaf parsley is now weighed down by the weight of rain, not wilting due to the heat and dry soil.


Some of these herbs I cut down to 1″ stubble (after the red dust storm at the start of February) and with all this rain they’ve fully recovered now.


I pulled the sad-looking 3 Heirloom Tomatoes out of their pots, but left the pruned stubble of the Sweet Basil in each of the 3 large pots and the 6 plants are beginning to grow again (well, except for one which seems to have ‘nibble’ marks – probably from a Harlequin bug as I can’t find any caterpillars).

Long-time followers will remember my poem about the  Caterpillars.

As to the Harlequin Bugs, well, they ate every single leaf in my garden last Summer, including the more pungent Sage leaves.

The Sparrow’s swimming pool is full to overflowing, including the 2 metal water bowls I put in to replace the pebbles which were covered in algae, (and I extracted to clean).  Normally, the House Sparrows have to lean over from the saucer rim very low to take a drink.   Hence, me putting in the full metal bowls so they didn’t have to reach down so low.

Birds can happily splash and play all day.

My new Sage seedling died after the Red Dust Storm.   I left the 1″ stubble but its definitely dead.   I thought it might grow new shoots, but no, it’s definitely gone to Heavenly Pastures.

I’ll pull the roots out when I go outdoors next.

But the new Rocket seedlings are looking lush and I’ve had several meals off them.

In fact, about 1/3 of my garden died after that storm.    And if the red dust didn’t suffocate the plants, the heavy rain downpour a few days later, bringing even more red dust sealed their fate.

The Blueberry ‘Nellie Kelly’ has lots of new green leaves and branches.   (you can faintly see the burned brown leaf tips of some old leaves in the background in the image below).

The Lemon Verbena has lots of tiny new leaves also.   You can faintly see some of the remnants of the red dust on the older large leaves below the new shoots.

I’ve seen the male blue Superb Fairy-wrens but they were too quick for me to get a decent photo.   The one below keeps coming back to the shade of the Sorrel plant and scratching around in the soil.  Don’t know what the wren is looking for?

The taller flowering branches of the Lemon Thyme I left after pruning, are weighed down by rain droplets.

Note: I normally remove the plastic saucers from under the pots when the rain is heavy as herbs don’t like wet feet, but I wasn’t going out in the constant rain to remove them all on that particular day.

….and the Mint actually flowered.   First time I’ve seen a Mint flower as I usually snip all the branch tops off to use in cooking or salads.

Even, the Rosemary, which was looking poorly, has new shoots.   This past summer is the worst I’ve ever seen my new(ish) Rosemary bush.  I had great trouble trying to wash the Red Dust off the spiky leaves.

The Japanese Maple in front of my balcony had its branches weighed down quite heavily with the continuous rain.



All in all………my balcony garden is thriving again 🙂


Rain has fallen overnight and still softly pitter-pattering on my lounge roof at midday.

The construction workers over the road are working elsewhere as the rain precludes working on the building facade today.

To me, such minimal sound is like Silence.

I love it.

I love the faint sound of Nature’s presence reminding me that I don’t live in an urban area, just surrounded by Nature.   Far away from the sounds of humans (or I did before the developers moved across the road and decimated my wonderful cliff face).

A distant call of an Australian Magpie just reminded me I live halfway between the city and the country.

I came across this old image of Autumn leaves in the Fitzroy Gardens, made 21st April 2011, this morning.   Years later I went back to this site and found the mound of rocks had been removed the area re-landscaped.

It’s one of those images I enjoy every time I see it.   It reminds me of the impermanence of this life I have and how nothing ever stays the same.


I nearly missed it last night and when I did notice the sky colour, I was so absorbed in the tiny scattered pink clouds looking like a Measles rash on the rich dark blue, I almost forgot to get the camera out of its soft pouch.

I watch the sun go down most nights of the week, whether it be Summer, Winter, Autumn or Spring.

It reminds me of how small and insignificant I am in the whole of Mother Earth.   It communicates a richness and vastness and embodies me with the  beauty we live in, be it in my southern hemisphere (or to the north).

Last night I was absorbed in the TV daily news, something I rarely watch as, day by day, month by month,  year by year, I am horrified by the way mankind treats his fellow man.   I worry about the state of the planet and the toxic waste which mankind continue to spew out.

The only thing that keeps my thoughts muffled is the beauty I see on nature documentaries and fellow nature lover’s web sites.

…..and of course, my own Balcony Garden and Avian visitors.

But getting back to the sky……..

I stopped posting in my Sunrise, Sunset (and Clouds that come in Between) blog as my view of the setting sun is now being gradually covered by the new building construction across the road.   But if you enjoy looking at the sky colour as the sun goes down, feel free to swap over to the link of my old Sunset/Cloud Blog for a scroll down of the lovely colour we Melbournians receive regularly.

Last night the wooden framework made an interesting silhouette and I managed to capture a few rather weak images as the light quickly disappeared from sight.

If only I’d looked up and gone out onto my balcony earlier.

Somehow my photos didn’t quite capture the interesting cloud cover as it was, but here it is anyway.

Note: the images in this post are hand-held so may not be as sharp in focus as they would have, had I used my tripod.


……here’s a few more shots of the sky, late afternoon to dusk, the 17th October.   Not as spectacular as Melbourne’s sunsets usually are, but I like looking at the sky as the light fades anyway.   There does need to be clouds to capture the colours for the most part.

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I’ve only just got up and the morning is nearly gone.   I seem to need more and more sleep these days and I’m all the better for it.   One of the most healthful and rejuvenating remedies for me is Sleep.   Deep restful restorative sleep.  Many people just don’t get enough of it.  Our bodies need sleep to rest, repair and replenish our vital organs.

I stood at the lounge room windows and surveyed the little garden earlier.   I didn’t water the potted plants last night in the hope that today’s forecast rain would suffice.

I could see my newly planted seedlings were starting to make great leaps in their young lives with the veggies promising hope for a good crop this Summer.   They look even better than last weeks images.

The French Beans look absolutely perfect in their growing cycle.

I say a little prayer each morning that the Cabbage Moth Caterpillars and Harlequin bugs don’t put in their annual appearance.

The Lemon Verbena, which I grow for the sheer pleasure of running my fingers through its lemon-scented leaves, has put on a massive growth spurt in the last week alone.   It got eaten by ‘you-know-who’ last Spring so I bought a new seedling this year.

IF the number of flowers on my Blueberry bush means fruit, it will be a sight for sore eyes indeed.

Have I mentioned this fact before?

Only a dozen times you might well reply LOL.

Last years crop gave me a small handful nearly every day for about 3-4 weeks.   (Just repeating this fact for the new followers).

Most of the plants that had wilted in my 6-day absence have bounced back with astonishing growth.

As usual, the Mint, which wilted badly, has put on a growth spurt with the deep watering I gave it on my return to home base, with each stem sprouting fresh young leaves in a matter of days. Note the new leaves in the image below.

I only lost one lettuce from the punnet of 8 young seedlings and it was looking like the ‘runt of the pack’ even before my absence.

Then I spotted it.

The sad sight of a motionless Spotted Turtle-dove (above), one of my favourite bird species, of which several had become quite tame in my previous 3rd-floor apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne (below).

The Spotted Turtle-doves used to wake me at dawn with their gentle cooing.

Sometimes, it seemed as though their sound would be all that louder if the water or seed bowls were empty.

I often had the feeling that they knew who I was and that I was their friend.

They spoke to me regularly with their gentle sounds and growing trust.   I have to admit I miss these lovely birds although I had seen one 2-3 times on my balcony fence on this western side of the city and sometimes in the nearby Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve perimeter (below).


Life just isn’t the same when I don’t have a Room With a View.

I noticed the construction across the road has started it’s 4th floor this morning.   My photos at dusk each night are showing less and less of the sky as each storey unfolds on the construction site.

Oh well, that’s Life.

You win some, you lose some.

Our life on this earth is impermanent.   Nothing stays the same.

So saying, I’d better get on and select the Quote and Image of the Week. 🙂  I’m selecting a ‘gardening’ quote each Wednesday and one of my images to go with it.