It seems that 10-metres to the disposal bin too far for anglers to walk.  The damage this line does to wildlife goes mostly unseen, but what is seen is causing gross suffering.  This suffering is entirely preventable.

3 of 4 bundles of fishing line lying at the low tide mark at Tempe.

3 of 4 bundles of fishing line lying at the low tide mark at Tempe.

The fishing fishing line we collected on the stone wall at Tempe.

The fishing fishing line we collected & placed on the stone wall at Tempe.  It was easily 40 metres of line.

Imagine these planted out. It can look very beautiful.

Imagine these planted out. It could look very beautiful.  The consistency & size of gardens looks better to my eyes, even without plants.  

Marrickville Council created some new verge gardens in Albion Street Marrickville & they look wonderful. They are uniform in size & placed regularly along the street. They also provided a decent amount of room for the street trees. I imagine that once planted these gardens will look terrific & increase livability in this street.

The benefits of verge gardens are vast & the benefits change with the type of plants used. At the very least verge gardens mean less concrete, which means a lowering of the urban heat island effect.  Heat collected by concrete during the day releases somewhat during the night & this keeps nighttime temperatures higher than normal. We all know how hard it is to sleep on a hot night. Managing the urban heat island effect can mean lower power bills.

Cooler streets also result in a nicer environment to be in, whether it be in your house, in the front garden or walking the footpath.

Verge gardens that are native or contain some native plants have a profound benefit to wildlife as food & shelter is available for birds, butterflies, other insects & lizards. Native plants at regular intervals provides a corridor of food, which is extremely important if you want birds & other wildlife to be part of your environment.

Without exaggeration the birdlife increased ten-fold after we created our verge garden. Not all the plants are native, but most are. The other 10% were chosen because they would not be stolen & because they were bee attracting. It went from Currawongs & Indian Mynas being the dominant species to many different species of native birds, including little birds, visiting everyday. It sounds different now & can be quite raucous when a flock arrives to eat.

Other benefits of verge gardens include a softening of the landscape, which is very good for the human spirit.  The trees & plants collect particulate matter from passing traffic & therefore improve the air quality.  Verge gardens help to collect storm water & filter this water through the ground cleaning it before it enters the Cooks River. I remember reading in a Council document that the drains in Marrickville LGA have reached capacity, so any water that is collected naturally via the ground helps lessen the load of our drains & prevent flooding.

Well-tended verge gardens raise property values in that street because of the beauty they add. They also reduce graffiti & increase safety because of passive surveillance of people out in the street.

To me it is wonderful to walk along a street with verge gardens. It can look great, provide interest to the eye & I am always looking for beauty. It’s a way to learn about plants, what they are & what works well.  It’s also a way to connect with nature without going to the park.

Verge gardens can improve your mood to & from work, be a nice route to take your dog for a walk & it is always a great way to meet your neighbours.  People are always happy to talk about gardens & plants.  I know that the community, not just one’s neighbours, appreciates good verge gardens.

The footpaths of Marrickville LGA could be utterly transformed in ten years or so & we as a whole community would be much better off for this work.



Another section

Another section 


Looking good.  The end of Shepherd Street that connects with Addison Road.

Looking good. The end of Shepherd Street that connects with Addison Road.

We went to look at the new verge gardens created by Marrickville Council in Shepherd Street Marrickville.  Because the footpaths have not been replaced I assume this work was done on the request of residents.

Planting has already started for some of the verge gardens & it looks terrific. Well done to everyone involved.  We all benefit from this work.

Spider plants

Spider plants

There is room for a small street tree

There is room for a small street tree

Someone has worked to improve the soil. This is a very nice large space to garden.

Someone has worked to improve the soil. This is a very nice large space to garden.

The potential for this section with soil on both sides of the footpath is great.

The potential for this section with soil on both sides of the footpath is great.

Marrickville Council recently replaced the footpaths in Myrtle Street Marrickville South leaving space for verge gardens. This is a wide footpath & the verge gardens will, in my opinion, greatly improve on the streetscape.

I love this approach by Council to leave verge gardens when replacing footpaths. I have no idea how long it will take to replace the footpaths of the whole of the municipality, but one day every street where this can happen will be transformed & what a positive difference it will make.

I don't know why the verge garden in this section was made thinner

I don’t know why the verge garden in this section was made thinner

Further up Myrtle Street

Further up Myrtle Street



Good to see new trees & bench seating in the older skate section

Good to see new trees & bench seating in the older skate section

The resurfaced car park makes a great place to ride when it is empty

The resurfaced car park makes a great place to ride when it is empty

We went to the re-opening of Jack Shanahan Reserve last Saturday. It was good to see lots of excited kids despite the rain.

Marrickville Council has upgraded the park. They removed the deteriorated half-size basketball court & turned that space into a learning area for younger or inexperienced skaters.   They removed the graffiti from the older skate area & repainted the amenities building removing the graffiti from that too.

The tennis court now has a purple surface, which looks great.

In the centre Council has either built a new picnic kiosk or modified the old one installing a barbeque & new picnic tables. It is good that they placed the seats to allow comfortable watching of the kids skating.   The kiosk is quite large & managed to shelter most of us when it rained.

Council also had concrete benches placed along the edge of the latest skate sections. These make great places to sit & watch the action. From a park with very few seats, it now has many.

Grasses in the car park

Grasses in the car park

Some of the concrete paths have been re-laid & a new path with lights goes to the entrance of the recently opened Dulwich Hill Light Rail Station. (More about that in another post).   These paths are not only good for commuters walking to the station, but also good for younger kids to skate or ride around the park.

The car park has been resurfaced. Council has also planted grasses in an area beside the car park.

Along the fence line at the top of the park & beside the Light Rail are new garden beds. These are mostly filled with grasses, but there are decorative sandstone rocks placed around park benches & a few shrubs planted next to the fence. The works are far better than what was here before & once grown will hopefully provide some habitat for any wildlife that manages to get through the fence. It makes the park look better as well.

A number of good-sized Pin Oaks have been planted around the picnic kiosk & also at points along the path.   These trees continue what appears to be a theme in this park. I was pleased to see that none of the mature trees on the hill have been removed.

Council removed the rusty VW car ‘art piece,’ located just outside the Light Rail Station, which had done its time. The area where this was located has been marked out, so it appears this will also be planted out – probably with native grasses.

It is a shame that the barbed wire above five fence panels near the entrance to the Light Rail Station have not been removed. It looks like a small oversight, as it has been removed along the rest of the fence. It would be good for this park to be totally barbed wire free.

I think Jack Shanahan Reserve is one of the best in the LGA for young people, so it was great to see that the improvements remain orientated to the young. The skate area is big & varied. The park allows for much healthy exercising & for others to be able to watch the skaters in comfort.   This will be helpful for older family members who come along to support. It was great to see so many kids in a park.

In 12-months when the grasses have grown & the trees are larger the differences will be more apparent. Marrickville Council has done good work with this upgrade.   I think there will be many happy children who have a great place to meet, to skate & to hang out.

New skate section

New skate section

New seating next to the kiosk

New seating between the kiosk & the new skate section

Resurfaced tennis court.  I love the colour.

Resurfaced tennis court. I love the colour.  This is the one place where graffiti was left untouched.

Through the park to the Light Rail Station

Looking down at the park from the entry of the Light Rail Station

Grasses planted in most areas beside the Light Rail line & The Greenway.

Grasses have been planted in most areas beside the Light Rail line & The Greenway.

Bees need flowers

Bees need flowers

The City of Melbourne has created something amazing for Australia – a flowering meadow in the CBD.  Instead of a hillside of lawn, they planted 3,000-square-metres of flowers alongside Batman Avenue.

The seeds, a mix of sunflowers, cornflowers, poppies, dill, barley & zinnias, were hand sown by Council staff in November 2013 at the paltry cost of under $4 per square metre.

Considering bees are really struggling in Australia with raised temperatures, floods, drought & loss of nectar-producing trees, an initiative like this is something that should be replicated elsewhere. I can think of a few locations where something similar could be done in Marrickville LGA.

The beehives on the rooftops in Melbourne CBD will really benefit from the Flowering Meadow, as will the commuters driving along Batman Avenue.  Imagine seeing a flowering hill on your drive to & from work.  That has got to improve on your day.  I think this is a truly wonderful idea.

For more about the Flowering Meadow see –

Watch the Gardening Australia episode on the meadow here –





After.   It won’t produce much shade now.

There is a street tree on the corner of Swain Street & Burrows Avenue Sydenham that I have long admired.   It is an unusual tree because it is multi-stemmed & has been planted in an area reclaimed from the road to prevent traffic from turning right.  As you travel up Swain Street towards Sydenham Railway Station this tree is the view.

Also unusual was the red-coloured woodchip at its base.  Marrickville Council uses woodchip from trees they have chopped down, so this was more likely the work of a caring resident.

I’ve been looking at this tree for years as I drive or ride past, so it came as a shock to see it mutilated last Tuesday.  Five out of eight of its stems had been removed, sawn off with the ends looking like fingers rotted away by leprosy.   I returned the next day to take photos & these stubs had all been taken back to the main trunk.

I am assuming Ausgrid did this to the tree because there are power lines on this corner.

I feel sad & annoyed as yet one more piece of beauty in our municipality has been destroyed.  This tree looks mutilated & being a slow growing tree, I doubt that it will ever look as good as it once did.  Why did they not prune off the top like they have done to so many street trees in the municipality? There was enough canopy to be able to take this option.

What makes it worse is that above the tree appears to be aerial bundled cabling.   Was this tree mutilated merely because of a telecommunications cable?


Before.  Image from Google Street View.


After.  It went from being a beautiful feature to this.  

Certainly enough canopy to remove some instead of remove two thirds of the tree.

Certainly enough canopy to prune instead of removing three quarters of the tree.  Image from Google Street View.

From this

From this

To this.  An upgrade of seven trees & landscape planting will make a phenomenal improvement to Murdoch Park.

To this.  An upgrade that includes seven trees & landscape planting will make a phenomenal improvement to Murdoch Park.  Fantastic!

After community consultation where the community offered a plethora of wonderful ideas to upgrade this pocket park, Marrickville Council has decided on the following use of a $20,000 budget.

  • Shade trees & native palms
  • Landscape planting using native plants
  • A meeting place
  • Creating separate spaces, including open space
  • Seating
  • Picnic area
  • Bubbler
  • New gate & fencing
  • Art
  • Dog on a lead area &
  • Screening of the back lane.

Council says a number of people who participated in community consultation mentioned a community garden, but said this is not feasible at the moment. However, they do encourage those interested to contact the Addison Road Centre, which has a community garden & who is looking for new members.

The plans completely transforms this bleak empty space.  Three larger canopy trees & four smaller canopy trees (possibly these are the palms) will be planted. There will be significant areas of landscape planting, which is wonderful. Grass & crushed sandstone is to be the predominant ground surface with a sweeping concrete path.  There will be four seats; two in the sun & two in the shade.

Council are adding a sandstone sculpture which is especially nice for the children, plus sandstone boulders that double as seats or things for kids to play on.  There will also be a garbage bin, so hopefully it will be used.

I like what is planned & think it is a great way to use a small piece of land.  If it comes about as planned, Murdoch Park will be a very nice space to take some time out.

The upgrade works will also enhance & add value to the neighbourhood.   Seven more trees in a space that has been without trees for goodness knows how long is also a bonus. Murdoch Park is especially important to birdlife, as the stormwater canal alongside provides a source of water. The trees & native plants will further support the wildlife, adding to the urban biodiversity mosaic.

It appears that this tree was negatively impacting the footpath as well, as the concrete has been replaced.  It's wonderful to see work done that saves a tree that is damaging infrastructure.

It appears that this tree was negatively impacting the footpath as well, as the concrete has been replaced. It’s wonderful to see work done that saves a tree that is damaging infrastructure.

In 2010 Marrickville Council intended to remove four mature street trees in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville.  The trees were Snow in Summer (Melaleuca linarifolia). All were healthy & a significant feature of the street.   Planted close to the kerb, they had started to push out the sandstone blocks, affecting the straight line of the gutter.

Council removed one of the trees, but thankfully chose to retain the remaining three trees by attaching a barrier along the kerb . This was the first time they had tried such an intervention.  The first material they used was too thin & buckled.  The second material choice was successful & is still working successfully today.

On the weekend I saw that Council have used the same intervention for a large tree on the corner of Riverview Crescent & Beauchamp Streets Marrickville.   This is fantastic work by Marrickville Council. A mature tree has a much more valuable than a sandstone or concrete kerb. It made me very happy to see this.

Beautiful work.

Beautiful work.

Alfalfa House is giving usan option to keep this out of landfill

Alfalfa House is giving us an opportunity to keep this out of landfill

Yes, seriously.  The local community food co-operative Alfalfa House is collecting old toothbrushes, dental floss containers & toothpaste tubes to recycle them into new products.

What a great initiative, especially as we toss out over 30-million toothbrushes in Australia, amounting to approximately 1000-tonnes of landfill every year.  Toothbrushes don’t break down & will likely still be there in the landfill long after our grandchildren have reached old age.  It’s time to do our planet a favour by dropping our unwanted items into Alfalfa House, instead of putting them in the bin.

Alfalfa House is open 7 days a week.

Address:  113 Enmore Road 
Enmore, on the corner of Phillip Street

Opening hours –

Monday – Wednesday 11am-7pm

Thursday:  11am-8pm

Friday:  11am-7pm

Saturday:  9am-6pm

Sunday:  11am-6pm

click here to follow Saving Our Trees on Twitter



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