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.
While its back to rain, very chilly weather and overcast Winter skies today, yesterday was a different matter entirely.
The weather was superb – sunny and almost windless. I’d been looking at Jawbone Conservationa Reserve in Williamstown (about 8 kms down the western side of Port Phillip Bay from Melbourne city) on the internet for a few weeks trying to work out the best way to get there via public transport, but after getting up late (due to a restless night with hip and neck pain), I decided to just call a taxi – the height of extravagance for me. Being a Sunday and with minimal traffic on the road, the taxi ride took about 25 minutes. The Internet had said 23 minutes via car, so I knew it wasn’t that far from home.
Tram/bus, then train and about a 20 minutes walk to the area might have been 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on connection times. For the umpteenth time in the last 7 years I wished I still had a car and could drive.
I think my Taxi driver must have thought I was mad….. getting a taxi…..to go for a walk 🙂 But as always in the life of a chronic pain sufferer, you learn to let go of all your preconceived ideas of what seems rational or sensible. You learn to concentrate of what you can do, not on what you can’t. You learn to live your life Mindfully, living each day as it comes.
If its a bad pain day, you just call a taxi 🙂 (but my whole month’s taxi budget went in one day yesterday……….. and it was worth every cent).
“Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve consists of an impressive 50 hectares of wetlands, open grasslands, a saltmarsh and a mangrove conservation area, providing an ideal haven for up to 120 bird species that frequent the area. Equipped with beautifully laid out boardwalks and bird hides, this reserve is a must for any budding naturalist or bird enthusiast.”
There were plenty of wonderful signs in the Arboretum.
and vistas across the salt marsh
Plenty of tracks to walk down.
A White-faced Heron in the distance.
Some of the low marsh areas were so interesting.
A small rock pool on the other side of the fenced walking path.
The boardwalk becomes a gravel path on the way back to the main walking/cycling path which runs for several kilometres through the whole 50 hectare site.
I don’t know what this salt bush is called and it’s to be found everywhere in all the beach/sea environs I’ve visited in the past 7 years.
The bird hide.
My long telephoto lens was a tight fit in the slats at shoulder height, so I’ll use my tiny Sony ‘mirrorless’ next time I go here in the summer.
The high marsh reeds in the background visible from the Bird hide area.
I didn’t walk all the way to the end of this particular path.
Lots of rocky basalt along the shoreline near the Arboretum.
A glimpse of the lake with the sea far in the background.
A quick shot of the edge of the first wetland lake.
There are several lakes or wetlands to explore another day.
Yesterday, I spent just a couple of hours exploring the small area of Jawbone Arboretum and for the first time in the last 7 years of my Photography Hobby I was so busy looking around me, I took few photos. By the end of that time I was limping and struggling to hold my heavy telephoto lens so gave up and mostly used my main Canon DSLR with a 17-50mm lens. I had all 3 cameras and lenses in a wheeled trolley (which I normally use for shopping), but which has become my constant companion this year. It carries far more than I could carry over my shoulders and fragile spine.
And the 17-50mm lens was what was in my hand when I raised it high and shot my first focused image of birds flying in the sky. I’ve never been able to capture birds in flight (except seagulls gliding slowly in to land). I know it’s impossible to identify the birds as they were so far away, but I had to include this shot to prove I’d finally done it. I missed at least half a dozen shots of flying birds, including a White-faced Heron flying towards me when I had the 150-500mm lens in my hands. I just couldn’t hold that heavy lens steady yesterday.
I’ll go back in the summer when the days are longer and take more photos to share with you. This whole 50 hectare site needs several hours and several visits to explore more thoroughly.
Perhaps I will see some of the 120 bird species that are supposed to inhabit this area. I only saw Herons, Ducks, Eurasian Coots, Black swans, Dusky Moorhens from a long distance away. The small birds I saw yesterday were too far away to identify and photograph and I didn’t have the energy to walk every path in the Arboretum.
There’s Jawbone Marine Sanctuary on the seaward side if you’re a scuba diver or strong swimmer.
Dare I get my hopes up that tomorrow will be a lovely day for Photography?
Will Melbourne’s weather forecast be right for a change?
Sunday 20 August
Possible rainfall: 0 mm
Chance of any rain: 20%
Partly cloudy. Areas of morning frost. Slight (20%) chance of a shower in the evening. Light winds.
Light winds is one of the descriptions I’m always looking for (in Photography). Partly cloudy is far more interesting than a clear blue sky for Photography.
So where shall I go tomorrow? (it feels like I’ve been pretty much indoors for the whole of Winter this year, partly the weather, but partly these #$@! severe headaches and neck pain – which are now permanent, but I’ve got plenty of prescription painkillers these days in the wake of all those MRIs I had. They only show one new slipped disc in my neck, to match the 6 slipped discs in my lower back. Methinks I may have to give up the heavy 150-500mm lens soon).
St Kilda Beach or Pier?
or somewhere local?
Newell’s Paddock Wetlands & Conservation Reserve?
Brighton Beach ?
It’s a long way off now that I’ve moved to the western suburbs, but actually only 2 buses, or a tram and a long bus trip? But it’s Sunday tomorrow and the buses don’t run as often.
The Royal Botanic Gardens?
Queens Park, Moonee Ponds? That’s only a tram ride to the end of the line and a 5 minute walk to the entrance.
Or shall I renew my Zoo Membership and go to the Great Aviary for some Bird Photography practice? Despite lack of direct route via public transport, it IS only about 3-4 kms away as the crow flies.
Or shall I go somewhere new?
PS. It’s only 10.45am and the hail and heavy rain has just started (it’s Saturday morning as I type this post).
It’s been wild and windy weather in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs on and off for several weeks now.
The laneway leading down the small steep hill to my apartment block acts a bit like a wind tunnel, so it seems to be more like gale force on my west-facing balcony. Over the weekend and yesterday, I had to end up closing all my windows, (and door to the balcony), as the wind had blown in loose soil and bark mulch from my potted herbs.
Quite weird having to vacuum a layer of soil off my bedroom carpet near the window and clean all the bark off a chest of drawers (near that same window). I only had the windows open about an inch (to give you some idea of the strength of the wind). The lounge sliding door was only open about 1/2″ to let in some fresh air. These modern apartment blocks leave a lot to be desired in terms of fresh air, especially when they’re as tiny as mine. I’m missing my nature walks at the moment. There have been some sunny afternoons but I’ve had commitments to keep me at home (like the washing machine repair man and the supermarket home delivery service).
When it rains, I have to shut the windows completely as they are the louvered kind and the rain comes straight in from the west.
Strangely enough. despite the weather bureau predictions, we seem to have had little rain. Maybe the best of the rain has been in the eastern and southern suburbs, although the skies in the west, where I live, have been dark and ominous enough. I guess it’s rained overnight as my balcony tiles were wet, but I’ve had to start hand watering the potted plants. I have noticed the sage and lemon thyme, which I cut down low at the start of winter, has lots of lovely green leaves again, so the soil temperature must be warming up at least (now that Spring is not far off).
To me, nothing signifies climate change, (and how dry Melbourne’s winter has been this year), when I have to hand water my potted plants in the last month of Winter.
Perhaps we’ll have record-breaking Spring rains like we had in 2016?
The wind whistling through my apartment block sounds just like an Arctic Storm and I always wonder what makes such a loud sound in a modern building like this one. Same thing happened in my previous modern apartment block. And while there has been the occasional colour in the sky at dusk, no stunning sunset images to share with you either.
This morning, I suddenly noticed gaps in the plants I’m growing near the balcony rail to give some privacy – I’m quite close to the footpath and road, despite being on the first floor of this building.
I was shocked to see 2 of my heaviest pots blown over. I assume the wind must have dried the soil out so much they’ve become lighter overnight?
I quickly righted them and scooped the spilt soil back in, but not much point sweeping all the other scattered bark mulch and soil ( with the wind so strong during the day). I gave them a generous watering to make the pots heavier.
Roll on Spring and some windless days…………………..please 🙂
I’m like a toddler with a new toy – can’t leave iMovie alone now I’ve worked out how to use it over the weekend, but I really need to go out and shoot some new images/subject matter for Test Run #3.
Here’s test run #2……….made after I arrived home from some errands in the city centre this afternoon.
I was so engrossed in re-arranging some old images to try and fit the music I chose for this test run, I nearly forgot to cook dinner tonight 🙂
(I can’t work out why some images are static and some fade. Hmmmmm. Back to ‘the drawing board’. I’ll work it out in the end. This is another ‘hit’ or ‘miss’ effort as I can’t seem to alter the speed or change the transition of each image the way I would like. Well, at least I’ve successfully passed the Beginner’s Class in iMovie).
Enjoy……..and I recommend you switch to FULL SCREEN (located down in the bottom right hand corner of the slide show screen)