Tuesday 2 August 2011


Stirrings of Spring are making themselves felt in the Southern Hemisphere. We have been enjoying a few sunny, warm, fine days in Melbourne with sun making us cast off a few layers of clothes. Perfect weather for a walk, during which one discovers that nature has awakened from its Winter slumber. These are photographs taken in and around the Darebin Parklands.

The Darebin Creek Trail runs through the centre of the park and provides shared trail access through to Bundoora Park 10km to the north.

Darebin Creek runs through the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and is the main watercourse of the Darebin Valley and a major tributary of the Yarra River. For tens of thousands of years it was used as a food and tool source by the Wurundjeri people, Indigenous Australians of the Kulin nation alliance.
There have been many introduced exotic species of flora in the Parklands, notably European plants. The Darebin Creek Management Committee has been involved in drawing up a Masterplan for the Parklands and a highlight of this is eradication of noxious exotic species and revegetation of the park with native species.
The creek rises on the northern urban fringe of Melbourne north of Epping, following a general southerly route and meeting the Yarra at Alphington. The creek forms much of the municipal boundary between the Cities of Darebin and Banyule. Formerly an intermittent stream, increased stormwater runoff with urbanisation of the Darebin Creek catchment has resulted in permanent water flow.
Viola odorata, the common sweet violet can be found flowering in great profusion at this time in some parts of the Parklands.
“The splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”  Therese of Lisieux 
Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) is dreaded by gardeners as it is quite invasive and can take over the garden. However, its display of bright yellow flowers in Spring is a welcome sight (at least in someone else's garden!).
The purple-leaved cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) is a popular ornamental variety of tree commonly planted in nature strips in Melbourne. It often escapes into Parklands. Its delicate pink blossoms and red leaves are followed later by small edible cherry-like plums that can be made into delicious jam.
The three-cornered leek (Allium triquetrum) is another invasive weed that can carpet large areas very quickly because of its rapidly germinating seeds that quickly a dense clump of leaves and flowers.
Pretty though this three-cornered leek may be, don't be tempted to pick it as a cut flower because it does reek strongly of an oniony smell! All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers can be added to salads, and the bulbs can be substituted for garlic.
A shelf fungus growing on a rotting log. A seed has germinated there too and death gives rise ot life and more life!
This silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) looked spectacular against the blue sky. Australia is the land of the wattle. About 950 different species of wattles, belonging to the genus Acacia, have been described for Australia and nearly all of these (about 98-99%) are endemic, i.e. they only occur in Australia. More have yet to be described and the final number of different species is expected to be close to 1,000.
Another harbinger of Spring, the creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” -  Eleanora Duse
A garden escapee, this Aeonium holochrysum looks spectacular as it grows on a steep bank of the Darebin Creek.
It has been a good year for all the native flowers this year as it was a wet Autumn and Winter. This is the best time for enjoying them in their prime.
The grevilleas are always strikingly beautiful, especially some of the named garden cultivars. This is Grevillea Robyn Gordon. 

The bees are becoming very busy this time of the year and they were out in full force these sunny, fine days, robbing the blooms of their sweet nectar.

The banksias are flowers hard to miss. Especially these large, showy blooms shining forth amongst the foliage like festive candles. This iBanksia ericifolia, the Heath-leaved Banksia.
The Proteaceae is a family of flowering plants distributed in the Southern Hemisphere. The family comprises about 80 genera with about 1600 species. These are 'Leucadendron Safari Sunset', which are long-lasting and interesting flowers.
These Hebe × franciscana are a New Zealand native that grow very well across most of Australia. They have dark green glossy leaves and beautiful mauve flowers that brighten up dark corners of the garden.
You know that Spring is arriving when the jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) starts to fill the garden with its heady perfume. These are the first open flowers amongst the crowds of burgeoning buds.
For many people Spring is characterised by the blossoming of the fruit trees, whose abundance of delicate blooms gladdens the bare branches and promise a rich harvest of fruit later on. This our neighbours' flowering apricot tree.
This is the Virgin's Bower or Wild Clematis (Clematis virginiana). Its long climbing stems festoon every available prop and the bounty of off-white, fragrant flowers create a stunning display.
The magnificent flowers of the pink magnolia ( Magnolia liliiflora) are a sure sign that Spring has arrived, carrying with it a cloud of fragrances and a host of colours.   


  1. Lovely pics, Nick. My favourite is the second one, of Darebin creek

  2. Very beautiful photos. Spring is my favorite season and you have captured it well.