I used to have a large Herb Garden which I planted at my Parent’s Home about 30 – 35 years ago. There were culinary as well as medicinal herbs and some……planted merely for their flowers or attractive leaves. I think I had close to 45+ different herbs at one time, with 5-6 varieties of Thyme. The variegated leaves were quite pretty flowing over the brick retaining wall of my Mother’s vegetable bed. My Mother used to keep it watered in the Summer months when I was away working.
When my Parents moved into a retirement village (and I changed jobs and lived closer to the city), my Mother potted up quite a few herbs to take with them. Apart from Parsley and Chives which my Mother knew well, this was the start of their using herbs more in cooking and in summer salads.
My own potted herb garden on my apartment balcony really only got going a few years ago.
Long-time followers will know I lived a couple of streets away from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne for many years and would spend many afternoons walking around the 38 hectare site, but my favourite place in Summer was The Herb Garden. This became a sort of sanctuary after I had to quit working due to chronic illness and pain in early 2010.
It wasn’t until I walked its paths through every season that I came to know what Comfrey flowers looked like as I’d never seen them before.
Comfrey can become very invasive so best to give it an enclosed space. It’s leaves are great in the compost heap too.
By the way, if you’re visiting Melbourne in Spring (Sept/Oct/Nov) and love gardens, ensure you visit the Herb Garden in the RBG, as that is the time when it’s at its best, although Summer is a good time too.
In winter the Herbs mostly die back and are pruned heavily and the deep shade can be quite chilly.
A shady seat on hot summer afternoons
A broad view with it’s central circular bed for the sun dial and a rosemary plant
My Favourite seat on a hot day. Depending on the time of year, the scent is either Lavender or the Curry plant.
The herb garden falls into shade from surrounding tall trees quite early in winter. 4.30pm is about the best time to see birds in the herb garden.
The Wisteria growing over the small rotunda and an arbour in Pipemakers Park is almost as breathtaking as the yellow Lady Banks rose I shared in another post this week.
The only way to get a good view is to shoot facing into the sun, roughly facing North, as there’s too many other trees, plants and bushes forming distractions from the other side. This is not ideal for any photograph in general, but I suppose I might do better on an overcast day.
But Tuesday of this week was sunny and you can’t tell the Sun to go away after so many inclement days for the first month of Spring.
Besides I need more sun for my freshly planted Tomatoes on my apartment balcony 🙂
Here’s an image made on the 21st August to give you a comparison.
The Wisteria in the Royal Botanic Gardens near the lake restaurant is all mauve/purple, whereas the petals of each flower in Pipemakers Park are whitish with a mauve/purple tip.
Yes, I thought the Title would get your attention.
Today was a perfect Spring day and after my last feeble walking effort down in Williamstown and Jawbone Arboretum, and exhaustion later that evening, I decided to stick close to home base. I made do with a mini walk outdoors and thought I’d see how I felt. I’m a little embarrassed to say that at the present time, I actually feel UNFIT! (note the capital letters 🙂 )………..for the first time in years. I always have to walk slowly, but I used to walk for 3-5 hours a few years ago. Now I seem to be restricted to short walks of 1-2 hours only.
So a quick walk around the perimeter of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve, across a grass-covered area where the Red-rumped Parrots and Splendid Fairy-wrens graze, and then, Pipemakers Park.
Who planted this in the middle of nowhere?
The sun was glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute outdoors. In fact I only came home from the Historic garden ruins early (10 min brisk walk if one takes the short cut), because my water bottle was empty and my hands filthy from pulling a few weeds in one of the outer garden beds. I only had my lightweight Sony a6000 camera and 55-210 lens, no gardening tools or hand wipes.
I almost…….got……hot 🙂
RED-RUMPED PARROT ??? – bit hard to identify side-on but I’m sure it was a Male.
COMMON STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris)
Heavily cropped to reveal the COMMON STARLING (which I’ve never photographed before despite how common it is)
And wouldn’t you know it – I saw so many birds. The variety of bird song was amazing, so I guess the avian life made the best of the Spring day also. I did see some Red-browed Finches, but without a long telephoto lens, I just had to restrict myself to photographing flowers for the most, (or trying to – it was still a wee bit windy and I take better flower shots with my Canon DSLR to be honest).
MARIGOLDS (I presume)
NEW BUD ON GRAPE VINE
Some very, very old ROSEMARY
FRENCH LAVENDER ?
Some sort of fruit blossom ?
They’ve cleared so many non-indigenous trees that I can now see the Frogs Hollow Lake
This looks a bit like ESPERANCE WAX but that’s grown in Western Australia, so maybe this is a local variety of Wax flower???
I notice there were puddles of water through the undergrowth so maybe we’ve had more rain than I thought.
This tree looks as dead as it did in Winter, so maybe it IS dead?
The Tuesday morning gardening group have done a massive amount of work, but there’s still a lot more to be done. After a chat with an old acquaintance from previous walks in the area and a few quick flower shots, I couldn’t resist pulling a few weeds……..which grew into quite a sizeable pile. I didn’t have my hand gardening tools, or a rubbish bag, so left the weed pile for the Park Ranger and Tuesday Morning Volunteer Gardening group to dispose of. I took a few more shots and then came home as I was so thirsty (and no matter how much you squeeze an empty drink bottle, it’s impossible to produce a single drop 🙂 )
NOTE: I could have looked up all these flower names in my Plant Encyclopaedias but I decided a guess would do for tonight. Gone are the days living near the Royal Botanic Gardens when I wouldn’t dare upload a flower image without an accurate identification – Common & Botanical name.
For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you will know I lead a simple life in retirement (from full-time office work). I eat, sleep and do what most people would consider ‘a lazy life of nothing much in particular.’ The truth of the matter is that my life is filled with Mindful attention to every small detail, especially Nature.
From my desk each morning, I notice each new leaf or avian visitor to my apartment balcony garden. I hear the many calls of nature from the variety of bird life in the area to the whistling and howling of the wind in the treetops (let alone down my steep laneway and through my balcony garden).
The occasional Magpie or Crow flies overhead scattering the House Sparrows, Honeyeaters and tiny Finches which call this area home.
A dog is barking endlessly up on the main street. Being the weekend, I hear an occasional car in the background, but it’s the wind and bird life which is prominent.
Living next to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve is a precious gift, let alone the nearby parkland and Maribyrnong River, which winds its way gently through the remaining suburbs out into Port Phillip Bay, with Melbourne city at its northern tip.
A lone aeroplane flies over my airspace heading towards Melbourne’s main airport which is located only a few miles away. It’s not loud and intrusive, merely a faint back ground noise (if you choose to listen for its passing).
About 15 minutes ago, the wind dropped and there was not a leaf stirring. The Sage has grown about 5 inches in the last 2 weeks. It seems like yesterday it had died down to ragged brown remnants and looked almost dead. The various Mint bushes, which I’d cut down to 1/2″ stubble at the beginning of winter have grown about 6″ in 7 days.
Seriously – the growth rate in the last 7-14 days is mind-blowing with all this rain and intermittent sunshine (struggling to gain a space in the sky).
The Cherry blossom trees may not have their full load of flowers on the main street, but they’re well on the way now.
My English parsley which I’d thinned out by half, has grown back it’s 50% haircut and is so lush and green that it begs to be cut and eaten at nearly every meal.
I think it timely to have some more images from my archives from around this time of Spring, over a period of several years……mainly when I lived on the south-eastern side of the city next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Spring in the Royal Botanic Gardens
HELLEBORE – Royal Botanic Gardens
Tulips unfurling in a pot on the steps of my old apartment near the Botanic Gardens
Butterfly image made at Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House
CAMELLIA – outside my balcony garden when I lived near the Botanic Gardens.
ARUM LILY (Zantedeschia)
NANKEEN NIGHT HERON basks in a sunny spot on the Ornamental Lake, Royal Botanic Gardens
The Rose Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens
BIRD OF PARADISE FLOWER
NATIVE HIBISCUS at Melbourne Zoo (I think)
CAMELLIA japonica ‘Somersby’- the Camellia Walk, Royal Botanic Gardens
CYGNETS (baby Black Swans) only a few days old, Royal Botanic Gardens
TAWNY FROGMOUTHS near the Yarra River next to my previous apartment
BLUEBELLS located in the Camellia Walk, Royal Botanic Gardens
Overlooking one of the southern paths in the Royal Botanic Gardens
ACANTHUS (although it has 2 names depending on which encyclopaedia I’m looking up).
Wind swept grass typical of my current riverside apartment location
In between rain showers yesterday I went out to stake and tie up the Rosemary which the strong gusty, (read gale force), wind had almost split in half.
Did I tell you Melbourne has had very strong winds recently 🙂
………and it doesn’t take much to get me excited.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is more than a little promising, but since the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) is often wrong and Melbourne’s weather is predictably UNpredictable, dare I get my hopes up for a Nature Walk tomorrow. I think I’ll double-check the walking/photography weather 1st thing before I set out.
Spring is nearly here and the Cherry Blossom trees on the small piece of parkland on the nearby main road gave me more than a mere hint of it’s coming last week. This tiny avenue of Cherry Blossom trees will be really quite spectacular soon.
Their bare limbs are dotted with tiny pink buds with white petals peeping out.
There is a small oval of green grass that will become a grazing pasture for the Galahs soon too. You may remember these images I made when I first moved to the western suburbs 11 months ago. I’ve seen these colourful, (and very common), Galahs a few times now, but never in the vast numbers that I saw that 1st week after moving in early October 2016.
These 2 images were made with the old Sony 18-200mm lens that only felt like auto focusing intermittently (after its devastating fall in June 2015) and eventually got retired to its original box in the camera drawer. I do miss it, but I kept getting blurred shots just when a new bird happened to fly by, and my usual patience got tested far too often and became more of a curse.
Weird day today.
Very chilly outdoors, but not a breath of wind at the moment. How unusual to see all the leaves and flowers on my balcony potted herbs perfectly still.
It’s actually a bit creepy.
Like the ‘calm before the storm’ and poor light for photography.
I’m waiting for a good sunny day to go back to Jawbone Conservation Reserve in Williamstown on the western side of Port Phillip Bay – of which, Melbourne is located at the northern end. I’ve found a bus route that goes right down to the car park by a small rocky outcrop between the ordinary sandy beach and the Conservation Area. I caught the bus down there last Saturday and came back to my starting point without even getting off the bus.
I explained to the bus driver that I was just going for the ride to see where the bus went 🙂
There’s a crack in the sky at the top of the hill at the moment, but otherwise it looks very bleak outdoors indeed.
Will it, or won’t it (rain)?
I’ve been on the phone part of the morning and my internet service provider not only gave me a free ‘top-up’of internet allowance, but offered me a cheaper plan with 2 extra GBs. We’ll see how 10GBs pans out (compared to the old 8GB plan which is no longer available – I was way past my 24 month plan and paying just month-to-month since it ended in March 2016).