Monday, April 14, 2014

At Royal Park

Good to know, but Zara wasn't with me.
Much of Royal Park's 180 hectares just north of the city centre look like this, a broad sweep of landscape largely native. And wonderful to roam or fly kites in. 
On one side is the elegant university precinct of Parkville, almost entirely intact.
And in the corner abutting Flemington Road the new Royal Children's Hospital has bitten off a wedge.
It was sad to see so many giants felled, but for the children obliged to be hospitalized here, the outlook couldn't be better.

 Such a vast space it is. I used to come through here often, about 25 years ago, when it was much more left to its own devices.
There's a great deal of native bird-life and many superb plants such as this Eucalypt.
And this native Hibiscus.
First set aside by Governor Charles La Trobe in 1845, there are ancient trees here such as this Peppercorn.
I don't know who gets to live in the Gatehouse above, but it'd be a nice kind of corner of the world.
This is the sort of tree I love most, an old, gnarled Eucalypt, seeming to thrust its branches into the sky.

Some of them have been here since before white settlement and before tram tracks were invented.
I'm still trying to work out what this specimen is, with its sausage-like seed pods, one of which I have with me.
However tough our natives are, many exhibit an almost effervescent delicacy.
So stroll-able it is, without the hordes you sometimes find in botanic gardens.
I can't pretend that I find the new architecture complementary to its surroundings, but the view is to live for...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shaking the Ghosts

 Though autumn's a time of dying, here where summer's been torturous, it comes as an agent of revival.
This being the Antipodes - where practice is sort of upside down - many native plants come into flower and magpies start to breed. Autumn comes as if it were spring. Our springs are not so much a re-birth as a riot.
So for the human gardener there's running around to be done, the clock of coldness beginning to tick. Above is the beginning of a new procession along a wall too hot and exposed to have been dealt with in summer.
And here a bit of a jumble...good to see because there's only been dessication and a sort of hard-held forbearance till this easing has come.
Aspidistras - which I shall keep flying - are one of my favourite plants, and it's now they seem to wake up - and wake up their neighbourhood.
There's a feeling of relief for me that so many things have survived and have now seemed to have got back their zoomph.
This above is the beginning of what will be filled with foliage. Makeshift, sparse, reduced; soon, as the glowing, glaring days grow shorter, life will re-colonise.
 I salute this land made to be barren, then made to go forth to multiply.
For out of nothing life comes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

and three little kookaburras

At last! The kookaburras have landed!
I was gardening for friends yesterday. It was delightful. Their garden is what I'd call old-fashioned, crafted out of specimens such as a series of roses in whose presence I had to be pretty bloody nimble! It reminded me how gardening is an art that requires nurture, and possibly makes us more understanding, caring people. There is also a continuity or common link among gardeners that goes back centuries, even when their approaches are utterly different.
The one squatting is the young one.
The jacaranda's where I put minced beef most days. It's principally for the magpies I do it, but anything with two wings is welcome - especially anything marvelous! For me, gardening is an interaction with nature that allows me to facilitate improved conditions. Playing restauranteur is part of that.
Uncommon in much of Melbourne's sprawl, the kookaburra's unmistakeable, whooping chuckle seems to come out of ages past...but it's here, now...

here as I write this they're laughing. There were three that came today, and I'm hoping they stick around, now they know where there's some catering. Me? I make a garden so the world has somewhere it can sing with life.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Glimpses of Life

Whatever changes are happening to the world's climates, the only certainty is their unpredictability.
East Melbourne is a plush corner of the world, a stone's throw from the CBD. Kept greener than most parts of Melbourne, it's nonetheless showing signs of strain...
the hardiest, most prevailing, most persistent plants struggle now to deal with rainlessness.
There are inventive solutions, though given that land is at a premium here, a few square metres are easier to maintain than a quarter acre, the size of an average Melbourne block.
This, above, is 'Queen Bess Row', with virtually no garden at all except for what blooms on its balconies. Will all of us in Melbourne, before too long, be obliged to curtail our gardening to a pocket of hope, a sort of play garden?
I hope it doesn't get that dire. The residents here have been successful in keeping their garden alive with yew, olive and native grasses - 
and these residents may have forgotten to clip their sprouting Muehlenbeckia columns, but they look so much better for it. And they've survived.
I can handle any sort of techniques, designs or ways forward that are capable of manifesting a garden in hostile conditions. What's getting hard to see is whether there's going to be much of any sort of garden left at all if climate continues to batter as belligerently as it is doing now. Oops, there goes the summerhouse...
There are those who create a response that is sustainable and elegant, such as here, with this slate, an idea I'm going to copy.
There are those who can afford to re-create sanctuary and in such sanctuary life continues unchallenged.
There are responses such at the landscaping at East Melbourne Library that utilise the toughest of natives and transpose them against a backdrop of new usefulness.
There's the ever-marvelous city-scape, able to inoculate itself against all pressure, for now, with its tiny wave towards the green.
There's the bastion, the little bit of the past that never says die.
And there's the Vespa I'd rather ride on, out of here, to a country that doesn't know of drought...

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Photographs taken of the land beside the property I live on, intended for public green space. It is the end of summer. Industrial equipment looks its best brand new or aged. In the in-between years, when there are both inclination and declination, there might be affliction, but there might also be the experience of grace.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mea Culpa

I apologise to all the gardeners confronted here by poetry. Just so you know, I'll be separating my writing from my gardening work in another, new blog. I've enjoyed the privilege of an elastic blog though...thank you for attending! Faisal.