Hurray! Its springtime in the Southern Hemisphere and the Melbourne gardens are waking from their winter slumbers to a riot of colour. As you can see above, azaleas and daisies are in full bloom while the wattle has been out for some time.

The blossoming wisteria was especially abundant - we saw them at their best as a few days of rain and wind soon buffeted their fragility.

After living in Sydney for many years, where the jasmine dies off very quickly, it’s a joy to see it in Melbourne - from the first hesitant blooms soon burst into a mass of white which lingers for weeks, delighting us all with its heady fragrance.

With my friend and neighbour Dell, we continue to discover areas of our ‘hood we hadn’t walked around before and continue meeting new people.

In my August Strolling post I showed a photo of Red Bluff and a painting of the same location by Arthur Merric Boyd. These days a brief case is attached to a picnic table overlooking the same spot (refer below). It’s been there for a number of years and is filled with poems and stories – passers by can browse through the books and slips of paper and even add a story or comment themselves.

Near the beach, Steven came out to chat as we were reading a sign on his front fence about a ground cover in his garden – Running Postman – which is indigenous to our area. He also showed us a tiny orchid which has a scent reminiscent of chococate.

We also met Lynne who stopped to read the sign as well. She said her garden also included some indigenous plants and casually mentioned her address as she headed off with her poodle. As it turns out one of Dell’s friends knows Lynne and before you know it text messages were exchanged and an invitation issued to visit her garden.

Her indigenous plants had not yet flowered, however we loved her pansy patch – a mass of colours and 2 interesting camellias – Volunteer – which reminded us of a waratah and Grace Albritton - such a soft colour.

Top: Lynne's front garden; Steven's Running Postman with sign; Bottom Lynne's camellias, Chocolate scented orchid.

We took yet another route – one of the houses was a low-slung white weatherboard cottage with a huge glass atrium in the centre running the full depth of the house. The owner was working in her garden and we stopped to compliment her on the house and colourful garden. With masks mandatory in Melbourne it’s hard to recognise people, but as we left Dell told me who it was. It was only then I recognised her voice – that of a well-known Australian TV personality who has also starred in several musicals.

On another day in the George Street reserve we came across the Running Postman again – another sign providing a few more details, along with the Slender Sun Orchid and Sticky Longheads. As you can read the reserve provides some idea of what our local area looked like before suburbia took over.

In the October Mailbag Caroline mentioned that Spoonville's are popping up all over Melbourne. As our lockdown continues school children are amusing themselves creating little villages of artfully decorated wooden spoons.

In Sandringham we came across quite a few Spoonvilles as you can see below. Dell and I don't consider ourselves arty but we decided to get into the act too, each designing a spoon that we named Spoonella and Prunella. We added our girls to a spoon family in a nearby street.

By Springtime our favourite cubby house had gained eyes giving her a personality and we spotted a pair of lorikeets visiting a regular feeding box. We passed another tiny library with attractive stepping stones and several unusual sculptures including a tea-tree decorated with teapots, cup and sauces! Some people are so clever, aren't they?

Not far away under a large tree, we spotted a delightful fairy garden. Large stepping stones lead to the letterbox next to the gate; painted stones with sweet faces meander to the bright red front door.

No fairies at home today, nor under the brightly coloured mushroom; perhaps they were hiding behind the windows we could see on the tree truck? We will have to try our luck and call by another day.

To view my previous posts on Strolling around Sandringham - just scroll down.

There are still many streets we have not walked along - so who knows what we have yet to discover. Watch this space!

Strolling through Sandringham May 2020
Jane explores Sandringham, Victoria, Australia with her neighbour and highlights local history and creative efforts.
Strolling through Sandringham August 2020
Down Under, here in Melbourne, Australia, we are in the depths of winter. Despite the chilly temperatures, the sun is often shining when along with Dell, my friend and neighbour, we explore the ’hood on our regular walks.