Marvellous Melbourne, and a flashback to Covid days..

The two biggest cities in Australia, Sydney and Melbourne, are often compared and contrasted.

There was, and still is, much rivalry between the two..

Melbourne Royal Exhibition Gardens

I once asked a gracious old lady what she thought of Melbourne and Sydney….

She said “Well of course, Melbourne is marvellous..…”

‘but my dear………. what could compare with Sydney Harbour?”

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House
Sydney Harbour and skyline

So never the twain shall meet.

Our family became more familar with Melbourne when our elder daughter and family moved to this gracious city, full of colour and movement!

Red Hot Pokers
Cliveas
The local tram

Melbourne is well known for its trams, they are a novelty for us and fun to take the tram in the city, and watch the world go by…

One of many Melbourne Arcades, food, coffee, people!

Melbourne has become a very multicultural city, and is represented by many many different cultures. Needless to say there is a great variety of foods, markets, coffee, cafes and restaurants.

We often visit this café because it is near the Botanic Gardens…

In the older suburbs of the city, it is easy to see the early pioneers and gold rush days… (my father’s family came from Wicklow, Ireland.)

Our daughter and family live in a well kept inner city suburb, with lots of parks and lovely gardens.

The small Eucalyptus trees are perfect for the streets, and the flowers bring the birds too.

During Australia’s Covid Lockdown, we travelled to Melbourne to help out with our daughter and son-in-law, as they were expecting their second baby in September. Lockdown rules still applied, with social distancing, wearing masks and restricted numbers of people socialising together.

The highlight of our day was a slow walk with our three year old granddaughter

Thanks to her we noticed every ant, insect and bug along the path, all of which was very interesting….

Kind and thoughtful neighbours helped by putting toys in street trees, Winnie the Pooh was very popular, and we looked forward to seeing Winnie every day.

The Rainbow Lorikeets enjoy the parks and seem to be everywhere..

Gardening continued through Covid…

Before Covid this park was full of people, playing sport, sitting under trees, having picnics, children swinging on play equipment.

Looking at these photos now, the very quiet and strange life of Lockdowns and Covid seems a long time ago, and what an uncertain, and worrying time it was!

We were very grateful to have an enthusiastic three year old on hand!

However, we realised flying a make-shift kite was harder than we thought..

A bonny baby boy was born, and before long it was Christmas..

The Eucalyptus flowers were decorated by kindly neighbours, and, for us, Melbourne was marvellous..

Some time ago I have written a blog post about the Covid Lockdowns in Australia, and there might be some overlap of photos. My apologies.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post today. I hope you are having a day of sunshine…

Copyright: Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

Sydney’s summer in the suburbs

We recently spent a week in Sydney, house-sitting for Paul’s brother, Martin and his wife Kris.

Paul’s mother is 96 years old this week, so it was a wonderful opportunity for Paul to spend some time with her every day.

Martin and Kris live in a leafy suburb, with many trees, colourful flowers and cool green lawns. Sydney gets a much higher rainfall than Canberra, so we are always somewhat blinded by this bright sunny green city.

We soon found a walking track with a notice saying, “A Blue Gum High Forest in your Backyard”

Some thoughtful planners have managed to preserve land in the suburb to keep a small amount of Blue Gum forest. There is a path through the forest, and it is a bonus for suburban dwellers to have this small forest within reach of walking every day.

The Blue Gum High Forest only occurs in Northern Sydney. It gets its name from the tall Eucalyptus saligna, or Sydney Blue Gum with its distinctive smooth bark and trunk.

The timber of the Blue Gum high forest was valuable to Sydney’s early settlement, and ongoing clearing, farming, development and weed invasion meant that less than 5% of the original forest remains in the world.

Needless to say, all the birds love the Blue Gums, and cockatoos gather amongst the trees every day. ( a mixed blessing).

Paul and I have also been inspired by the wonderful garden Kris has made…

When we arrived the Flowering Pink Gum tree had just started to flower…

and the day we were leaving the beautiful Flowering Gum put on a show for us, and the Rainbow Lorikeets did the same!

We are back in Canberra now, after an enjoyable week in Sydney.

We are so impressed with Kris’s Flowering Gum Tree, we are going to try growing one ourselves.

Many thanks for reading my blog post today, and best wishes to everyone, especially friends and relatives in New Zealand who have been battling the elements for some time.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens

‘Have you ever noticed that botanical gardens often make you think of Paradise?”  Francis Halle French botanist 2004

Welcome to the Royal Sydney Botanic Gardens, a little piece of paradise in Australia’s largest city.

….who would be anywhere else on a lovely summer’s day?

Sydney Harbour, Royal Botanic Gardens, Harbour Bridge

The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1816 and cover an area of 30 hectares along the foreshore of Sydney harbour.

Plants, lawns, trees and bush line the edge of the city right up to the Opera House and give views of the Harbour Bridge.

Can you imagine trying to preserving that amount of prime land for the public today?

Salute to our visionary forebears!

The Gardens are home to nearly 9000 plant species from all over the world, with a focus on Australia and the South Pacific.

A sign near the sculptures says…

‘ Before European settlement this foreshore was a mud flat. Seeds, flotsam were washed up by waves. Ships arrived in the tide in 1788 and crops were planted soon after. This area has been dedicated ever since to the introduction and propagation of plants reflecting the changing culture and horticultural needs of the day.”

Palm by Bronwyn Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnolia by Bronwyn Oliver

These sculptures symbolise the seeds washed up by the tide, blown by the wind, eroded by the water, and laden with potential for vigour and transformation.

The huge older trees, like this fig tree have been given space and time to grow, and now they provide plentiful shade in summer. (They say the shade of a big tree is worth one air-conditioner)

The flowers of the mature Magnolia trees are magnificent at this time of the year.

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This tropical garden has lush colourful foliage, and flamboyant flowers and plants…orchids, hibiscus, palm….sensory overload while I sit nearby drinking iced coffee!

Cannas

 

Frangipani

Our home in Canberra, a four hour drive away, is a world away in terms of  plants and climatic conditions. We have hot dry summers and cold, frosty winters. The Sydney climate of long humid summers and mild winters is a big contrast.

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The Botanic Gardens provide habitat for wildlife….colourful birds, fruit bats and water dragons..

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Rainbow Lorikeet

The Herb gardens, not far from the city streets, have blossoming herbs, sunflowers and all kinds of bee attracting flowers…

…what a bonus to have so much variety in such a big bustling city…

 

 

 

This beautiful sundial was fascinating for tourists and especially children…..imagine the sun directing our time rather than our Iphones ….incredible!

I love visiting big cities like Sydney…but, thank goodness for gardens like this glorious one…..

I return to my favourite quote….(one day I will find out who wrote it..)

”when the world wearies, and society does not satisfy, there is always the garden”

Salute again to those generous forebears who had the wisdom and energy to started this wonderful garden… for everyone.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey All Rights Reserved