Friday, November 12, 2010

Looking after nature

the male flower of spinifex hirsutis. The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants.

zoysia macrantha recruiting at Perce White Reserve

Friends of Port Melbourne's Foreshore [FoPMF] hosted a workshop led by Jeff Yukovic of Biosis Research on Strategic Weed Management at Perce White Reserve. At the workshop it was confirmed that Perce White Reserve is the only site in Port Phillip where zoysia macrantha is found, shown above naturally recruiting.
Principles of revegetation
  • planting should only be done as a last resort
  • recruitment is preferred to planting
  • plants should be site indigenous - not just locally indigenous
  • create conditions for recruitment through weeding
  • anything else is horticulture which may be appropriate depending on the context
  • a guide to knowing when revegetation or horticulture is preferred is whether the original soil is present

Principles of weeding

  • minimise off target damage
  • rhizomatous plants such as sea wheat grass Thinopyrum juncei are not amenable to hand weeding
  • mulch puts weeds into temporary dormancy and is not a permanent solution

I also learned that:

  • Atriplex cineria has male and female flowers on separate plants, as does Spinifex hirsutis.
  • Spinifex hirsutis has unlimited horizontal rhizomes which creates sloping dunes whereas marram has horizontal and vertical rhizomes and builds steep dunes.


  • Use rhagodia or tetragonia as edges
  • [Jeff didn't have an issue with acacia sophorae or rhagodia]


  • A census of the vascular plants of Victoria [2007]
  • Flora of Victoria


Look out for Coast saltwort salsola tragus a prickly succulent, annual, tumbeweed which may appear if Cakile maritima is weeded out

Friday, September 3, 2010


An alternative to the stretch hummer? My sister saw several of these on a recent trip to Europe. The young women with the party hats pedal as they drink their cocktails.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cycling, style and blog guru

Here I am - I can't believe it - with Mikael Colville Andersen, the blogger who has created the phenomenon of Copenhagen cycle chic. I heard him speak twice this week - and as is often the case with speakers - he was even better once he had left his slides behind and was speaking freely.

He takes a culturally inspired approach to the bicycle [rather than a transportation or mobility driven approach]

Some of the points he made were :
  • just make riding a bike the easiest way to get from A to B
  • use happy, pleasant, positive imagery to stimulate urban bike riding
  • lowered speeds enable bicyling to flourish - Barcelona and Dublin both now have 30 kms on local roads 
  • reclaiming space for bikes rather than cars is a process of re-democratisation, rehumanising, re-creating liveability 
  • its not about the bicycle - its about the broader urban context 

Some great quotes from Mikael:
  • 'follow their [bike riders] desire lines - make it easy
  • he likes 'being elbow to elbow with fellow citizens'
  • he finds 'the upright bicycle the 'most anthropologically pleasing' and the 'most suitable for citizen cyclists'
  • 'plant the bicycle on the urban landscape' or more expanisively 'planting seeds of a meadow cycling' 
  • inner urban areas should be 'saturated with bicycles' 
  • In Copenhagen, bikes are like 'a fifth limb'

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hill 'n' Dale BMX Park

BMX park in Boroondara
I was told that it has been formalised from an informal BMX track. It makes good use of the fall of the land. There is separate provision for pedestrians seen at the left hand side of the photo.

Innovating the Cities: Design, Planning and Architectural Solutions in the Urban Environment

David Owen: Greening the Metropolis

Owen's central proposition is that densifying the city is the most effective intervention in reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.
There was no argument about this proposition from the Panel, rather the discussion centred on solutions and obstacles to achieving it.
Tim Flannery, curator of the Deakin lectures, appeared least persuaded about the arguments, speaking almost in parables. He reminded us of the acute vulnerability of cities from any threat to water or food supply. He concluded that 'the interest of the individual has to be confluent with the interest of the city/civilization.'

Here are some quotes I liked or key points I wanted to remember:

David Owen:

'when you move to the country, you move into your car'

'move people and their daily destinations closer together'

'density is the main tool to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint'

'the car dragged a whole infrastructure behind it'

'there is no such thing as a sustainable house, a sustainable building or a sustainable car. Sustainability is the context, the relationship between things: it is not a gadget or a technology.'

'its not about signing up to solutions that you can buy'


'our houses are oversized and underoccupied' [Melinda Dodson]

'smaller houses, closer together and drive less' [Melinda Dodson]

'How to get people to want to live differently' [Sue Holliday]

density is easier when there is 'a high quality public realm that people feel comfortable in' [Rob Adams]

'enough not more' [Rob Adams]

Bruce Taper:

'Greenhouse gas emissions reduction has to be the most basic kpi of all metropolitan strategies'

we've got to do 'simple things agressively'

'we've got to put some hope into it.'

5 stars is 'a loose and sloppy metric'

we've got to examine 'the lives we really live rather than how we imagine we live' in answer to a question along the lines of 'where will the children play in the denser city' [David Owen]

Monday, June 7, 2010

Seating places

I am very fond of these benches on the St Kilda Promenade. I like the way the tetragonia and pigface cascade over and between the lava rock walls like a blanket over the back of a couch. The rock walls on their own are black and harsh, but when softened by these plants I like them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Roundabouts can be beautiful

I love this roundabout at the corner of Esplanade East and Bridge St, Port Melbourne. The trunks of the trees pick up a pinkish tinge at sunset.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Serious about signs

photo Rachel Powning

I have come to see that this whole blog could be devoted to signs: especially signs about dogs. How about this example from Hong Kong!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Faith in signs

photo Bruce Parnell

One of the most frequent solutions proposed by residents to a problematic issue is to 'put up a sign'. People have great faith in signs to resolve problems. Here is an example of that misplaced optimism.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thought of the day

Balaclava Station did not get funding in the state budget for an upgrade, but what it has got is the person who posts a 'thought of the day' at the station each day. Today's was not the 'thought' that most appealed to me, but I love that it happens at all.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Combining two great interests: casaurinas and water sensitive urban design

I love this stand of casaurina trees in a carpark in Frankston - a fine demonstration of water sensitive urban design [wsud] This approach treats stormwater runoff before it makes its way to Port Phillip Bay.
Members of the Tree Reference Group at the City of Port Phillip said they would like to see more examples of different configurations of trees, rather than a 'staple gun' approach, and I thought this was a great example.

Keeping warm outside

Port Phillip Council is reviewing its kerbside trading guidelines. The guidelines discourage the use of outdoor gas heaters. Fairfield Boathouse offers throws to customers. I had heard about this practice in Copenhagen, but it is the first example I have seen in Melbourne. I would like to see this trend take off in Port Phillip.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Red Scooter's very visible commitment to recycling caught my eye.

Serious about separation

Generously separated cycle and vehicle traffic seen in
photo Bruce Parnell

Friday, April 16, 2010

A light approach to dog poo

How about this cute sign encouraging people to pick up after their dogs seen in Vienna?

photo Bruce Parnell

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Councillor on a bike

My colleague, Councillor Jackie Fristacky from the City of Yarra, is an outstanding advocate for cycling. Mike Rubbo has made a video about Jackie's contribution to cycling which also gives insights into her life of a councillor. Jackie reports graffiti, discusses possums and other issues with residents while she is on the go.
I recommend you start a few minutes in as the clip is quite long.
The City of Yarra's cycling strategy aims to more than double the rate of Yarra residents cycling to work from 6.4% to 15% by 20105. Yarra already has the highest number of people cycling to work in inner Melbourne.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shipping container put to smart use

Stoneleigh winery's stylish bar within a shipping container outside City Square.

Trees for narrow streets

A member of the City of Port Phillip's tree reference group offered these images to the group for ideas about introducing trees into narrow streets.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vertical garden

Saw this interesting vertical garden at TRUNK in Exhibition Street, north of Lonsdale St.
It is made out of bread trays, and that is prostrate rosemary hanging from each tray.

14 March 2013
Got off the bus and came face to face with this vertical garden again - two years later. It was looking magnificent - even after a week of 30 degree plus days. I've included a picture with the bread trays just so you can be sure its the same place.
Trunk, Russell St, Melbourne

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Living wall

Saw this living wall on the ANZ building at Docklands. Beautiful to see knobby clubrush and cushion bush - which looks white at top right - used in this way.
This was what was proposed for one of the buildings on the Triangle site.