Saturday 31 October 2015


The building at 333 Queen St in the City has an interesting, highly reflective façade. Early morning light causes some interesting reflecting effects.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 30 October 2015


The cultivation of elms in Australia began in the first half of the 19th century when European settlers imported species from their former homelands. Owing to the demise of elms in the northern hemisphere as a result of the Dutch elm disease pandemic, the mature trees in Australia's parks and gardens are now regarded as amongst the most significant in the world.

The hybrid variety Dutch Elm (Ulmus x hollandica) and related cultivars are the most commonly seen elms in Australia. Cultivars include 'Major', 'Dauvessei', 'Vegeta', 'Wredei' and another known as 'Purpurascens'. English Elms (Ulmus procera) were a popular tree for park and avenue planting in the nineteenth century. One of the oldest known exotic trees in Victoria is the sole survivor of four planted in the newly established Royal Botanic Gardens in 1846.

Although elms in Australia exist far away from their natural habitat and associated pest and disease problems, a few problematic insect species have managed to infiltrate Australia's strict quarantine defences . The Elm Leaf Beetle was first discovered on the Mornington Peninsula in 1989 and had spread to the City of Melbourne by 1991. The beetles have caused significant damage to elm species since that time, although the City of Melbourne keeps them in check with a regular spraying regime.

Unlike most other countries that have elm trees, Australia has not yet been subjected to Dutch Elm Disease, although the vector of the disease, the Elm Bark Beetle, was first officially recorded in Melbourne in 1974. The City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government have jointly developed a Dutch elm disease contingency plan in case of an outbreak.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday 29 October 2015


Bottlebrushes are members of the genus Callistemon and belong to the family Myrtaceae. They are closely related to paperbark melaleucas, which also have 'bottlebrush' shaped flower spikes. It is difficult to tell to which genus some species belong. Botanists are currently closely studying these plants to determine how they are best classified.

There are 40 species currently called Callistemon. Most of these occur in the east and south-east of Australia. Two species occur in the south-west of Western Australia and four species in New Caledonia. Bottlebrushes can be found growing from Australia's tropical north to the temperate south. They often grow in damp or wet conditions such as along creek beds or in areas which are prone to floods. We currently have many of these Callistemon species in bloom in Melbourne, where they are growing in gardens and as street trees.

The flower spikes of bottlebrushes form in spring and summer and are made up of a number of individual flowers. The pollen of the flower forms on the tip of a long coloured stalk called a filament. It is these filaments which give the flower spike its colour and distinctive 'bottlebrush' shape. The filaments are usually yellow or red, sometimes the pollen also adds a bright yellow flush to the flower spikes. Each flower produces a small woody fruit containing hundreds of tiny seeds. These fruits form in clusters along the stem, and are usually held on the plant for many years. The seeds are usually not released from the fruits for several years, but in some species the fruits open after about a year. Fire also stimulates the opening of the fruits in some bottlebrushes. The new leaves of many bottlebrushes are very ornamental. The leaves are often coloured and, in some species, they are covered with fine, soft hairs.

Bottlebrushes make excellent garden plants. Plants are all woody shrubs which range from 0.5 m to 4 m tall. The flowers can be spectacular and are irresistible to nectar-feeding birds and insects. Most species are frost tolerant. The popularity of bottlebrushes as garden plants commenced soon after European settlement and Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) was introduced to Britain by Joseph Banks in 1789. Many species can tolerate (or thrive in) damp conditions, yet most are very hardy and will tolerate drought and limited maintenance. They grow well in a wide variety of soils, except those which are highly alkaline. Plants grown in full sun produce the best flowers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 28 October 2015


The Nobbies is a magnificent headland on the south-western tip of Phillip Island. Strolling along the boardwalks around The Nobbies, one can enjoy coastal views at lookout points set amongst natural sea bird gardens. Around one kilometre offshore from The Nobbies is Seal Rocks, home to Australia's largest colony of fur seals. These creatures can be seen as they sun themselves on the rocks, feed their young, wrestle, or flop into the cool water.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 27 October 2015


Melbourne has come a long way since 1955 when a 20-level office at 8 Nicholson Street, at the eastern edge of the CBD, became the city’s tallest skyscraper. Now, Melbourne has the CBD skyline – and several suburban horizons led by, among others, Box Hill, Doncaster, Moonee Ponds, and even outer areas, including Dandenong, Frankston and Ringwood.

Some suburbs which have avoided the high-rise building boom but are now on developers’ radar include Caulfield, Essendon, Highett and Malvern East (where two 10-level-plus buildings were proposed for land beside the Chadstone Shopping Centre). The suburban apartment drive has been well documented since the milestone Melbourne 2030 planning document was released in 2002, which aimed to contain urban sprawl to existing public transport nodes (and existing suburbs). Now, like then, council planners and developers argue high density suburban development improves affordability, liveability and sustainability...

Here at the City's North, along Elizabeth St, and in surrounding streets, more and more apartment buildings, which multicoloured or not are an eyesore. We shall be seeing more and more of these rectangular boxes in the future. And as the population increases, so will noise, pollution, traffic, crime rate, demand on the infrastructure. This is the beginning of the end of Melbourne's "village-style" urban profile.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme.

Monday 26 October 2015


Brunswick Foodstore is located off Sydney Road, in Brunswick and is housed in the former warehouse of Toby’s Estate Coffee. The coffee roastery has been transformed into a café that sells an array of condiments, spices, coffee and many more items to fill the fridge or pantry. Good coffee is de rigueur, as this is Melbourne! The daily house blend coffee is the Wooloomooloo and single origins change several times a week. The middle eastern inspired menu comes from the owners' Lebanese heritage.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme.

Sunday 25 October 2015


The Werribee River is a perennial river of the Port Phillip catchment that is located on the plain West of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The headwaters of a tributary, the Lerderderg River, are north of Ballan near Daylesford and it flows across the basalt plain, through the suburb of Werribee to enter Port Phillip. A linear park follows the Werribee River along much of its course. In total the Werribee River completes a journey of approximately 110 kilometres.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Saturday 24 October 2015


There are numerous junior sporting clubs in sports-mad Melbourne. Every weekend one may see little athletes in the neighbourhood ovals, practicing or playing (depending on the season) football or cricket, or occasionally more exotic sports such as baseball.

Here is a cricket match in progress in one of our local ovals. The kids are doing very well and the admiring parents and other relatives lose no opportunity to applaud or shout encouragement...

This post is part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme.

Friday 23 October 2015

Thursday 22 October 2015


Morus, a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, comprises 10–16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries growing wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions. The closely related genus Broussonetia is also commonly known as mulberry, notably the paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera.

Mulberries are swift-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely exceed 10–15 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, often lobed, more often lobed on juvenile shoots than on mature trees, and serrated on the margin. The trees can be monoecious or dioecious.

The mulberry fruit is a multiple fruit, 2–3 cm long. Immature fruits are white, green, or pale yellow. In most species, the fruits turn pink and then red while ripening, then dark purple or black, and have a sweet flavour when fully ripe. The fruits of the white-fruited cultivar are white when ripe; the fruit in this cultivar is also sweet, but has a very mild flavour compared with the darker variety.

This is a female tree of a dioecious Morus growing in the Darebin Parklands. It is a remnant from an old orchard that was present at this site. In a few weeks, the fruit will ripen and can be eaten (see last photo).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.

Wednesday 21 October 2015


Phillip Island is an Australian island about 140 km south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria. Named after Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales, Phillip Island forms a natural breakwater for the shallow waters of the Western Port. It is 26 km long and 9 km wide, with an area of about 100 km2. It has 97 km of coastline and is part of the Bass Coast Shire.

A 640 m concrete bridge (originally a wooden bridge) connects the mainland town San Remo with the island town Newhaven. In the 2011 census the island's permanent population was 9,406, compared to 7,071 in 2001. During the summer, the population swells to 40,000. 60% of the island is farmland devoted to grazing of sheep and cattle.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.