The Dandenong Ranges (commonly just called 'the Dandenongs') are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest, predominantly of tall Mountain Ash trees and dense ferny undergrowth. After European settlement in the region, the ranges were used as a main source of timber for Melbourne. They were popular with day-trippers from the 1870s onwards. Much of the Dandenongs were protected by parklands as early as 1882 and by 1987 these parklands were amalgamated to form the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was added to again in 1997. The ranges experience light to moderate snow falls a few times most years, frequently between late winter and late spring. In Summer the temperature is several degrees lower than that at Melbourne and the dense vegetation is luxuriant. Today, the Dandenongs are home to over 100,000 residents and the area is popular amongst visitors, many of which stay for the weekend at the various Bed & Breakfasts through the region. This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme, and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme, and also part of theWeekend Green meme.
Victorian Christmas Bush (Prostanthera lasianthos) in the Lamiaceae family, is the largest of the Australian native Mint Bushes and has the widest distribution. It ranges from southern Queensland to Tasmania from coastal to sub-alpine altitudes, and grows from 2 m in exposed mountain sites to at least 10 m high. It is best known as a tall, graceful forest shrub about 5 m high, and is popular also in the gardens of native plant lovers. It grows by creeks and in the moist shade of dense, wet sclerophyll forests, where it may have room to develop a good shape or scramble through a tangle of vegetation.
Not far from Canberra towards the high mountains, it occurs in forest hollows, near tree ferns and luxuriant mosses, reaching 5 m. When not in flower it can be detected by its menthol fragrance when touched; though sometimes too strong, it is more pleasant than in some native Mint Bush scents. Examples in the Australian National Botanic Gardens vary greatly owing to different origins and different planting positions. Plant form, leaf, flower and flowering time all vary, making an interesting study. Moist, shady conditions are not necessary for this species to grow, and it will recover from neglect as shown by older examples in the Gardens - 5 m shrubs 25 years old and growing in full sun. They were shaped by past droughts and storms into sprawling irregular shrubs with thin branches on which the upper bark is attractive and shiny.
Prostanthera lasianthos is unaffected by light frosts and will grow in light or stiff soil in sun or shade, but constant wind should be avoided. It is excellent for hiding a fence, as a tall hedge or by a red brick wall. With a good mulch and some watering it would thrive in city gardens, giving flower when most purple Mint Bushes have finished. Foliage is attractive in plants growing freely and can be bright-yellow green to darker green, hairless, sometimes shiny, and without blemish. Mountain forms and plants in full sun have slightly leathery foliage. Leaves are up to 15 cm long and from 13 mm to over 19 mm wide, larger than in other Prostanthera species. They vary in denseness, taper finely, and the margins are generally toothed, sometimes also waved or curved.
Masses of thin, soft flowers in wide-angled tapering sprays are the main attraction. The flowers are around 2 cm long and are funnel-shaped with spreading lower lobes. In the throat are tiny purple blotches and larger orange ones. In some the flowers are white but others, highly prized, appear pale pink or mauve from a distance. Close inspection shows suffused blotches of pale purple or violet, extending sometimes to the calyces and thin flower stems. These latter are slightly viscid and in some cases even more scented than the leaves. A separate light perfume can sometimes be detected in the flowers, but generally it is masked by the minty scents.
The flowering season is November to December, though it lingers till January in some years, and no doubt Christmas flowers could be planned with the right form in a cool position. A magnifier allows one constant feature to be seen in the flowers - they are coated inside and out with fine hairs, a fact which sets this species apart from other Prostanthera spp. Short branches of flowers last well in water, and are graceful and easy to arrange. Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. The only disease noticed has been die-back from the root-rot fungus referred to elsewhere, and as mentioned affected shrubs have fully recovered later.
Warrandyte is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 24 km north-east of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Manningham. At the 2011 Census, Warrandyte had a population of 5,520. Warrandyte is bounded in the west by the Mullum Mullum Creek and Target Road, in the north by the Yarra River, in the east by Jumping Creek and Anzac Road, and in the south by an irregular line from Reynolds Road, north of Donvale, Park Orchards and Warrandyte South. Warrandyte was founded as a Victorian town, located in the once gold-rich rolling hills east of Melbourne, and is now on the north-eastern boundary of suburban Melbourne. Gold was first discovered in the town in 1851 and together, with towns like Bendigo and Ballarat, led the way in gold discoveries during the Victorian gold rush. Today Warrandyte retains much of its past in its surviving buildings of the Colonial period and remains a twin community with North Warrandyte, which borders the Yarra River to its north. The Warrandyte Road Bridge over the Yarra River connects Warrandyte with North Warrandyte. The first bridge was built in 1861, but after its demise, the current bridge was built in 1952. This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme, and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme, and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Melbourne's outer northern suburbs are considered to be one of Australia's fastest growing corridors. The high population growth occurring in areas 25-35 km from the city centre in the north continues to drive demand for housing and has resulted in this being one of Melbourne's growth hotspots. Melbourne's growing northern metropolitan fringe is changing the character of what was a sleepy, bucolic area with acre lots and larger farms into a densely populated suburbia with town centres, schools, health and educational facilities that are servicing the increasing population. Pockets of nature and recreational facilities are being preserved, such as this, the parklands around the Yan Yean Reservoir, which is the oldest of Melbourne's water dams. This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme, and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme, and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme, and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.
Our recent bout of changeable weather has made me put together this mosaic of skies of Melbourne and made me chuckle thinking: "Variety is the spice of life"! This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
There are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless. The rate of homelessness (which takes into account population density) is 49 out of every 10,000 people (0.5% of the population), of which 56% are male and 44% female. 25% (or 26,744) are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 30% are born overseas. Victoria has 22,789 homeless people (42.6 people per 10,000) +20.7 since 2006, which is 22% of Australia's homeless. How old are they? Under 12: 17% (17,845) 12-18: 10% (10,913) 19-24: 15% (15,325) 25-34: 18% (19,312) 35-44: 14% (14,484) 45-54: 12% (12,507) 55-64: 8% (8,649) 65-74: 4% (4,174) 75 and over 2% (2,028) Just a small coin may make a difference... This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme, and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme, and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.
Agapanthus praecox (Common Agapanthus, Blue Lily, African Lily, or Lily of the Nile) is a native of Natal and Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Local names for this species include agapant, bloulelie, isicakathi and ubani. Most of the cultivated plants of the genus Agapanthus are hybrids or cultivars of this species. The plant is reportedly naturalised in Great Britain, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Eritrea, Ethiopia, St. Helena, Victoria, Norfolk Island, New Zealand, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Tristan da Cunha. Agapanthus praecox subspecies orientalis (shown here) occurs in Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal. It has up to 20 poisonous, strap-like leaves per plant which are arching and are not leathery. These range in length from 20 to 70 cm long and 3 to 5 cm wide. Flower colour ranges from various shades of blue to white. Shiny black seeds are produced in three-sided capsules. These have perianth segments which are less than 50 mm in length. Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis is highly regarded for being tough in sun and heat, long-flowering, and is a favourite for many councils in Australia for the landscaping of roads and other public areas which do not get watered. The plant is still widely planted but in some areas it is considered a weed, and planting has been discontinued, although it is not generally regarded as highly invasive. In Melbourne these plants grow luxuriantly and bloom for several weeks around Christmas. They are a common garden plant, but are also planted on nature reserves and verges along roads. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.