Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) – a lovely Australian native.

The City of Sydney is having a plant sale this Sunday 11th March.   The plants all come from the Council’s Living Colour displays throughout the CBD.

Some of the varieties are rosemary, mint, thyme, marigold, coleus, westringia, dianella & laurentia.

They are asking for a gold coin donation for each plant with the proceeds going to the RSPCA to help animals in need.  What a great cause.

WHERE:        Sydney Park.

WHEN:          Sunday 11th March 2018.

TIME:             8am.  Previous sales were almost over within 30-minutes, so be quick.


Raven in attack mode.

Getting closer

Moving to a different position

We saw nature in its rawness yesterday evening.  We were riding along the Cooks River when we came across a flock of very rowdy shrieking Cockatoos.  There were around twenty of them all gathered in the one gum tree.  The noise was something else.

I stopped to take some photos when my husband said, “There is a mammal up there.”  I looked around the canopy & saw a brushtail possum with two ravens nearby.  It was about 7pm & the sun was still up, so we had a very good view of this possum.  Being nocturnal, these animals are usually only seen after dark.

As we watched it became obvious that the ravens wanted to attack the possum. They are meat eaters, usually carrion.  My guess is that the possum was seen as an opportunity for food because it was in such a vulnerable position.  That is, if they could get him to fall to his death.

Whatever the reason behind their actions, the ravens were most certainly wanting to harm the possum.  He was standing on a very thin branchlet, having put a branch between him & the ravens.  His left foot was poised ready to strike any raven that came too close.

So, we had two strong black beaks that could have easily blinded the possum & the long claws of the possum, which would have caused injury to any raven that got too close.

The ravens took turns & tried to strike the possum from underneath, but they just could not get close enough.  Meanwhile the Cockatoos were alerting everyone in earshot that a possum was in danger.  We felt scared for the possum because he had nowhere to go.

Suddenly a large cockatoo entered the fray.  Wings out & crest up,  this cockatoo came between the ravens & the possum.  Screeching & expanding his size by spreading those wings even more, he managed to push the ravens out & miracle of miracles, they gave up & flew off.

The cockatoo then moved away from the possum still making a performance until he had moved to a different part of the canopy.  What a hero!   Then the rest of the flock praised his bravery as loud as they could.

When we moved on, the possum was still standing in the same position probably getting over what was a near death experience & thinking he will never come out early again.

I am pleased that there are possums along the river.  We need to keep in mind that trees offer both food & a home to wildlife & plant trees that will serve our native wildlife well.  In other words, plant food producing trees as a first choice.

Big old trees are vitally important & I expect we will lose many of them to development.   Then the accommodation crisis for homes between birds & animals will become obvious.

This was a great outcome for the brushtail possum & three cheers for the brave cockatoo who put an end to the fight.

Cockatoo to the rescue!

Look at how fierce I am

Moving away now that the ravens have gone

Taking a new position now the possum is safe.


The tree to be removed.

Inner West Council – Marrickville have given notice that they intend to remove a Small-leafed peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 80 Denison Road Dulwich Hill.

They give the following reasons –

  • “The tree is in poor structural condition, has recently suffered a significant branch failure and exhibits extensive stem decay which cannot be mitigated by pruning.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public and property.”

Council say they will replace with a Yellow bloodwood (Corymbia eximia) in the 2018 planting season.

There was no Notification of Removal on the tree.

Yellow bloodwood is an Australian native with a round canopy that grows to 10-metres. It has scaly yellow-brown bark & broad, thick, curved, blueish-green leaves.  In spring, it produces large clusters of creamy flowers in clusters, which attract birds & insects.  Nice choice.

Small leaf Peppermint up for removal

The healthy Bottlebrush  outside 3 Derby Street Camperdown.

The healthy Small leaf lilly pilly outside 7 Derby Street Camperdown

The worst part of the footpath outside 7 Derby Street. You can also see an NBN channel.

Inner West Council – Marrickville have given notice that they intend to remove 4 trees in Camperdown.

Tree number 1:  A Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis ) outside 3 Derby Street Camperdown.

Tree number 2:  A Small leaf lilly pilly (Syzygium species) outside 7 Derby Street Camperdown.

The footpath is narrow & has two small, but healthy trees.   I was amazed that council even notified the community of their proposed removal because they appear to be under 5-metres.

I have noticed that people tend to walk with their dog down the road of this quiet back street rather than along the footpath.   If a car does come down Derby Street, it is easy to get off the road.

To lose both these trees to replace a footpath does not seem necessary to me.  I am pretty certain that the footpath can be replaced while keeping the trees.  To replace only one of these trees in this location is another loss despite the proposed planting of a spotted gum on O’Dea Reserve around the corner.  I am not a fan of removing trees from one location to plant in another.   If there is room to plant a Spotted gum in O-dead Reserve, Council should do it anyway.

Derby Street will be down one tree.  I think Council should be looking to find more planting places for street trees, not reducing them.

Then there is the issue of new tree plantings failing to survive & if the new tree does survive, the years it will take before it produces amenity & benefits.  Currently, the two healthy trees provide both amenity & benefits.

Neither tree had a Notification of Removal sign on them.

Tree number 3:  A Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) outside 2 Ross Street Camperdown.  I first saw the Weeping fig in 2011 when I posted about O’Dea Reserve.  Even then I was surprised this tree was allowed to remain in this position because it was causing significant issues with the footpath.  Now it has moved on to damaging the brick fence.  I highly doubt this tree was planted by Council.  Weeping figs are sold as lush pot plants & many people decide they would be good to put in the ground.  The problem is that this tree has very strong roots & can grow into a large tree.  I think it should be removed.

This tree did not have a Notification of Removal sign on it.

Tree number 4:  A Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) adjacent 2A Eton Street Camperdown.   I could not find this tree.  A resident tried to help me find the address to no avail.

Council give the following reasons for wanting to remove the above trees –

  • To undertake capital footpath reconstruction and kerb extension improvement works, including replacement tree planting.
  • To remove trees that are either inappropriate species, in poor condition and/or unsustainable in the planted location.”

Council says they will replace these trees with –

  • 1  Black tea tree (Melaleuca bracteata) in road tree planting outside 7 Derby Street.
  • 1  Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) in O’Dea Reserve.

That is 4 trees removed to be replaced with two, which is not good in my opinion.  Council do not say when they will plant them.

Black tea tree is an Australian native & is usually described as a medium sized shrub, but can reach 10-metres.  It has rough dark grey bark & produces white flowers in winter/spring/summer.  The flowers are attractive to birds, insects & butterflies.

Spotted gum is an Australian native that grows straight & tall.  It is known for its beautiful bark that shed in summer leaving behind creamy smooth bark with spots of older bark. It has dark green leaves & produces small clusters of fragrant white flowers from autumn to winter, which attract birds, bees & other insects.   It is a good tree for wildlife.

The bottom of the weeping fig in Ross Street Camperdown.  It is not too often I will say this, but this is the wrong tree for this space.

The Save Marrickville group put this model together to give the community an idea of what the landscape will look like with all the high-rise buildings in Marrickville. The tall black and brown buildings at the top represent the 35 storeys for Carrington Road, the red and orange is around Marrickville Railway Station and the white represents single story houses. This model does not include the Victoria Road Precinct, which also has high-rise. It is pretty shocking to look at a proposed future Marrickville if the government and the developers get what they want.  Photo by Save Marrickville and used with thanks.

Community group ‘Save Marrickville’ [ ] has organised a march to peacefully protest the NSW State Government’s rezoning of Marrickville to a Priority Precinct.

Save Marrickville say on their Facebook page that –

  • “The rezoning of Marrickville will mean the mass destruction of heritage streets replaced with high density.
  • The destruction of Marrickville’s character.
  • High rise towers up to 35 storeys.
  • Eight storey apartment blocks next to your home.
  • More than 10,000 extra residents.
  • Almost no affordable housing.
  • No new schools or parks.
  • Roads & railways grid-locked.
  • Abolishing industrial land & 1,800 local jobs that exist now.

There is still time to change this!   Marrickville has not yet been rezoned.”

All you need to do is look at nearby Wolli Creek or Alexandria to see what is planned for Marrickville.  This level of development will change Marrickville for ever.  Dulwich Hill will also be hard hit by development.

This is an opportunity to tell the NSW state government that their plans are nothing less than over-development & will destroy this community.  Silence to the government means we approve.

The march will be –

WHEN:          Saturday 24th February 2018.

TIME:             12 noon.

WHERE:        Meet at Marrickville Town Hall & march a short distance down Marrickville Road to the Alex Trevallion Plaza located next to the Post Office Cafe.

SPEAKERS: Linda Burney MP – Federal Labor Member for Barton.

Mayor Byrne – Inner West Council.

Councillor Hesse – Greens Councillor for Marrickville Ward.

Kelsie Dadd – spokesperson for Save Marrickville.

No street trees this side of the road anymore – why?

I suddenly remembered that I did not post about the street tree removal at Unwins Bridge Road St Peters that I saw way back in December 2017.   Better late than never.

Around 12 – 15 street trees had been chopped down from the corner of Campbell street & along the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road.   The trees were Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) & most of them reached to the height limit below the powerlines. The area looks stark without them.  Luckily the residents there have big healthy fig trees across the road to provide a visual of green.

I spoke to two residents who said they came home from work to see the trees gone & had not received notification.  One resident was angry.  The other was feeling resigned.  None of us could work out why the trees were removed, though we did wonder whether it was connected to WestConnex, which barrels on down Campbell Street devouring everything in its way.

Street trees are vitally important in this location.  They always were because this is a main road, but the increased traffic of a motorway going through a densely populated suburb makes trees & their pollution management even more important.  Essential in my opinion.

So I thought it would be a good idea to revisit to see what has happened since I last went.  The answer is nothing.  The stumps are still in the ground & the footpath & houses are unprotected from the traffic zooming past.  It is hot too.  Such a shame.

I am hoping that in the next couple of months we will see replacement trees.   Surely the residents will not be expected to live without street trees.  Not there.

Another view further up Unwins Bridge Road

Plane flying above the new skate park at Sydenham Green. They fly low here.

Showing a section of the skate ramps

Showing the bowl.   I have no idea what it is called.

I love writing posts like this where I get to say that Inner West Council – Marrickville have excelled in producing something exceptional for the community.

The only other park that I have been this excited about is Amy Street Playground in Marrickville, which went from being a patch of lawn with some scabby kids’ equipment to a gorgeous child-friendly native garden with great play equipment & some trees.

Now I am going to wax lyrical about Council’s newest venture, the Sydenham Green Skate Park.  I don’t know the official name, so I have given it this one.  If it turns out to be different, I will edit this post.  Edit:  It is called Sydenham Green Skatepark.

The new skate park is located at the corner of Railway Road & Henry Street Sydenham & is part of Sydenham Green.  This area has been a lawn with some shrubs left over before the government demolished 152 houses in 1995.  The third airport runway was being built & the government decided the residents would be too close to the noise of aeroplane traffic that fly directly overhead.

I don’t skate, so I can’t tell you anything about the design of the park, but to my uneducated eyes, it looks to be something for all levels of experience & it is attractive.  It says to young people – we care about you.  This is a very good thing.

I counted 25 trees.  They are all of what council calls “advanced size,” which means they will have a much greater chance of surviving.  There are lilly pillies, prunus, magnolias & other species that I can’t name.  All trees have mulch around their base.  There is also a considerable amount of planting to create buffers to the busy Railway Street & to separate areas.  There are also concrete paths & lots of lawn.

Colour has been used in creative ways.  For example, instead of a black or plain concrete coloured wheel stops in the car park, they are given colours, which somehow makes it look cheerful.  Long bench seating also has different colours at the base, as do the poles that hold up the shade structure.

There is a car park for a limited number of vehicles.

The front steps & sandstone fences of a number of the previous houses have been retained & incorporated into the design, which is a good thing for those that love the history of the area.  I am one & I am pleased Council has incorporated them into the design.  I was also pleased to see that an old yucca was kept with the wrought iron fence that it has grown into.  Right now, it has the most spectacular flowers.

This is a place for kids & families to gather.  There is a pedestrian crossing to take you safely across Railway Street to a barbeque over in the other section of Sydenham Green.  There is a barbeque in the main Sydenham Green as well.

A new toilet block has been built just across the road from the skate park on Henry Street.  This toilet is so interesting I could write a post for just this alone.

Firstly, it has no solid walls outside the cubical area, just bars.  I presume this is to ensure no funny business can happen, especially with the stationary traffic on Railway Street watching.

I remember there was a strong debate in one of the Marrickville council meetings as to whether the toilets themselves should be just indestructible stainless steel without a toilet seat.  Apparently, toilet seats get vandalised around the municipality a lot.  I could not see why the community would be treated the same as prisoners in gaol. White toilet seats sell for around $3 at Bunnings & Council would probably be able to access them cheaper than you or I, so it did not make sense to make the community have toilets without seats.  Thankfully, the Councillors ended up voting for seats & we got them – black seats – to hide the footprints perhaps.  The toilets are communal & they are wheelchair accessible.    There is a long concrete basin.  Society garlic is planted around the front wall of the block.

The area next to the skate park is being dug up & worked on at the moment.  This will become two basketball courts with markings for a roller derby.    I am very pleased that council is retaining the old frangipani tree that is growing near the wall.  Next to this area is a planned community garden.  I feel we have been waiting for this for years.

To my eyes Sydenham Green has a participatory path from Unwins Bridge Road to almost the Princes Highway –  the Library, playground, dog park, barbecue, park, moving exercise equipment, toilets, skate park, basketball & eventually a community garden.   It has taken many years, but I feel finally, Sydenham Green will become a true community hub.

To end, I think Council have done excellent work here.  It doesn’t feel that they have skimped on spending either.  I think the kids & the families will enjoy this space.  Passing drivers will be able to see an active area that has beauty instead of a desolate area of lawn backing on to a wall of a building.  Well done!

Council are holding an official opening of the skate park & everyone is invited.

WHEN:          Saturday 10th February 2018.

WHERE:        Corner of Railway Road & Henry Street Sydenham.

TIME:             10am – 1pm.  The official opening with speeches starts at 11am.

There will be a free sausage sizzle & skate demonstrations.

Showing the garden beside Railway Road. It looks great. My only concern is the maroon coloured plant grows fast and is already starting to smother other plants.

A old Yucca in flower. It’s nice to see this plant from a former front garden retained.

This front entrance to a former house now is one access to the skate park. It’s lovely to see these  aspects retained.

Showing the work for the basketball courts to be built next to the skate park.

Brittle gum to be removed. The canopy of the tree behind makes this tree look fuller and healthier than it is. 

Inner West Council – Marrickville has given notice dated 10 January 2018 that they intend to remove two street trees.

Tree number 1:  A Brittle gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) outside 41 Stafford Street Stanmore.

They give the following reasons –

  • “Tree is in decline with significant decay and deadwood which cannot be mitigated by pruning.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma), but not when they will do this.

Tree number 2:  A Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) adjacent to 50 Railway Avenue Stanmore.

They give the following reasons –

  • “Tree is in decline with significant decay and deadwood which cannot be mitigated by pruning.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace this with two Scribbly Gum trees (Eucalyptus haemastoma), but not when they will do this.

It’s good that two trees are being replaced for one tree removed & also good that these are big tall Australian native trees that will provide habitat & food for wildlife.  Stanmore is lucky with all their big trees & these trees will continue on with this theme.

A screenshot of the Brittle gums. I am fairly sure the tree closest to the edge of the caravan is the one that is to be removed.  I saw no signage.

Kangaroo paws like book ends are very effective.

Yellow buttons is an Australian native ground cover that thrives on neglect. Nice to see that the kids have had a hand in adding colour and beauty too.

The weather has been too hot to get out much, but there are some things I hope to get to this weekend.

I have noticed more people are starting verge gardens.  Any garden that breaks up the concrete landscape is good to my eyes, but some verge gardens significantly add beauty to the streetscape.  I recently found one in Marrickville South that I thought was very nice.  It went across two frontages.  There was a community library as well, which had a chalkboard on the side for the kids to draw on.

Every plant was a native.  Red & yellow kangaroo paws were planted at each end & the flower stalks had not been vandalised.  I chose not to plant these water-wise plants because I thought they would be vandalised.  This garden has changed my mind.

Another section with ground covering grevillea.

The street library. I love these things.  Even a chair to sit and read awhile.  

A large grass tree just inside the entrance provides a great introduction. to the garden. To the left out of view is a stunning Grey gum, but unfortunately, I did not take a good photo of it.

Seats are scattered throughout the garden offering beautiful views and an opportunity to stop and listen to the birds.

We recently went to visit Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve at Kareela & what a delightful find this turned out to be.

Established in 1968 by Sutherland Shire Council, the reserve is to honour British Botanist Sir Joseph Banks who visited Botany Bay on Lieutenant James Cook’s sailing ship the Endeavour in 1770.

The reserve is a total of 2.2 hectares with 4kms of paths that meander around a hill of quite stunning sandstone outcrops.  All paths are sealed, but they wind down the hill with steps that would make it difficult for wheelchairs to navigate.

There are, however, very beautiful spots with seating at the top of the reserve close to the car park that are accessible to everyone.

About way down the hill is a barbeque area with bench seating.  It would not be hard to carry cooked food back to people seated at the top of the reserve.  There are accessible toilets onsite near the car park.

All plants & trees in the reserve are Australian natives & most are labelled, which I particularly liked.  All sorts of trees & plants were in flower & there were lots of birds.  Despite being near a road, it was nice to listen to the birds & the wind through the trees.

I talked to a very helpful staff member who spoke about his love for the reserve & how the landscape changes with every season.  Winter is particularly good when the Banksias flower.   People get married here often.

This place is a gift to the Sydney community from Sutherland Council.  If you enjoy being in the bush I think you will really like this place.  I would definitely take visitors from overseas here for an easy walk in a beautiful setting.

The Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve is open from 9am – 5pm 7 days a week EXCEPT Good Friday & Christmas Day.  Parking is available onsite.  To enter the gardens is free.

I highly recommend visiting the reserve.   The Australian Plants Society – Sutherland Group holds monthly gardening working bees & welcomes volunteers.  Contact Council on 9710 0333 for more information.

Both Sutherland Shire Council & the Australian Plants Society – Sutherland Group have excelled & I thank them for such a beautiful place to visit.

Looking down to the barbecue area. There is no litter, no evidence of vandalism or any graffiti.

This is a garden where you look up often. The sandstone and the plants make it worth doing so.

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