Saturday, 15 December 2007

barking ....

These are a few of the tree in Woodleigh Crescent, Vermont South, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. The idea this is a Crescent and that it is in Vermont South not South Vermont (I live in Vermont and the street is south of here) are the result of the no knowledge, no sense and no imagination of developers and local governments. I hate the pretentions of both. However, someone had the good sense many years ago to plant some good trees here and these spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) have now grown to more than 20 metres. This time of the year is deciduous time, the trees are shedding bark everywhere, and I have seen a few branches lying around at the foot of trees too. The bark is interesting for its colour.
A bit of rain and the colour comes out. Mainly grey, orange and pink at the moment.
With some purply pink patches too. The tree below is particularly pink. This method of shedding is called decorticating.
The effect is noticeable from the road, which I why I took these pictures. I was driving up the street in the rain, and was so taken by the colour I stopped to take some of these pictures.

The tree below is pink and grey, and it is not wet, so the colour is very pale and less vivid.
Many people believe eucalypts are an evergreen non-deciduous tree. But they drop branches, leaves, and bark, and in large quantities. At least three people have been killed in recent months by falling branches (see earlier post). lemon scented gums (Corymbia citriodora), according to Seddon, withdraw nutrients from lower branches, which die and drop off, the scar being covered in cambium to close the hole.
Patches of bark detaching from the tree reveal all sorts of effects, including a pale green new bark.
More green. The new bark comes through green or cream. The result is a pile of rubbish around the stump, which, according to George Seddon, is a mulch that prevents competition growing at the foot of the tree, and the trees out-compete anything else in the forest. The rubbish also produces fire-prone ground cover. But here in the leafy suburbs of eastern Melbourne the only fire likely is that under a nice piece of juicy rump and some snags.

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roundabout 2 ...

The roundabout at Carlton (lat. -37 47.68 long. 144 57.78) mentioned in a very early post-18th January this year. These trees are almost a year older, had another year of very low rainfall. I was driving back from having coffee with my mate Dave in North Melbourne yesterday afternoon and got caught in the usual jam at late afternoon home time. The bark on the spotted gum has peeled off showing the yellow creamy colour of the new bark.

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Friday, 7 December 2007

12 days, or more...

This is in the interregnum between the two towers at 55 Collins Street in Melbourne. These trees have very rapid growth at this time of the year. Appearing fully formed and complete with a shiny inedible fruit and spangly lights. The appearance of one tree seems to prompt a plague, they appear everywhere, and cause some mysterious emulatory disease to take hold in the far corners of the world. I have a Swedish home model, an el cheapo from the COOP that fair country, complete with plastic fir that the dog doesn't like-a wonder, given he has destroyed 5 shoes and two couches this week.

Here is another genus of the same plague. This one is a completely transparent silver, and unlikely to require sunlight for photosynthesis. Used to complement the smaller, ungown versions of the first tree pictured.
A set up, perhaps the silvery trees radiate some chemistry that induces growth in the green trees, or perhaps the whole concept radiates some effusion that lightly touches my gag reflex.

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Monday, 3 December 2007

The blues, I got the blues...


This is a paddock is on the eastern side of the road between Burra and Robertstown. The purple flower is that bane of farmers in South Australia, Patterson’s Curse, or Salvation Jane. The beekeepers of the state have got law on their side when they ...anyway I have dealt with this elsewhere. This is a weed, a noxious weed that councils are not allowed to clear because beekeepers need the flowers for pollen. Forget about any environmental concerns, and this stuff is poisonous to the country and to some stock, the bees have it. The weed moves up the roadways, carried on vehicles, then inland to occupy large areas like this paddock.

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Rouseabout...

This is a view from half way up the side of Mt Rouse, just behind the little Western Districts town of Penshurst. Mt Rouse is an extinct volcano, and forms one of the many neat hills that dot this landscape. At the base of the mount is a quarry, at the top a telecoms repeater station. The house just visible among the trees is Kolor, built in 1868 for the squatter, John Twomey. Twomey occupied the area in the 1840s-1850s, the run was small by comparison with most runs in the District, about 9000 acres, but the soils are rich, and Twomey benefitted. Like most squatters who remained after the 1850s Land Acts, he freeholded, then built a suitable house. The house is on the register of the National Estate.


This photograph was taken from below the house to the right of the colour picture above. It is interesting in that the decoration in the middle ground is a an explicit demonstration of 19thC social relations. Aborigines form the lower group, in possum skin rugs, Mr Twomey is higher up, close to the house, with his horse. These are images from the Latrobe library collected during an excursion into the history of the area done as my MA 12 years ago.

The top photograph gives some idea of what the countryside looks like now. We are fortunate in having pictures of what it looked like more than a century ago, in the few years after the house was built. This is the most interesting photograph. It is taken from a similar position to the top photograph and shows the extensive vegetation on the plains. The trees on the plain are mainly E. camaldulensis, Red Gum, with some acacia, I think, on the slopes. The close planting around the house that now obscures the building has yet to be done. Looking over the plains now, it is obvious they have been cleared, although at the time of occupation they were often described as like a gentleman's park. The top photograph indicates some of what that park description entailed. very open woodland of the red gum has been preserved in parts, but faces the problem of little being done for regrowth as the old trees reach the ends of their lives. Stock keep the land cleared as effectively as the Aborigines firestick kept it open in the millenia before European occupation.

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