Summer Haiku Almanac – South Eastern Australia

In this post I will record some observations from my regular walks around the inner western suburbs of Naarm (Melbourne), and trips to rural Victoria.

Also, I will note any dates of particular significance in this part of Australia.

This post is a work in progress and will updated periodically in southern hemisphere summer months (Dec – Feb).

For more of my thoughts about the use of kigo (season words) in Australian haiku see the first post of this blog Symbols of Australia in Haiku Poetry, from January 2020.


• The burs on the Sticky Weed (Galium aparine) are turning magenta in late November.

• White-flowered Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x L. fauriei ‘Natchez’) start to flower in the week before Christmas. The more usual crepe myrtles with magenta coloured flowers don’t bloom until late January.

Cherries in the shops a week or so ahead of Christmas (Tasmania cherries start to be available in the second half of January).

• The Summer Solstice is usually on the 21st of December, but might be a day earlier or later.

• New Years Day, 1st of January.

• Christmas Day, the 25th of January.

• Around Christmas patches of Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) grow little white threads (flowers?) and make white patches on the local sports grounds and ovals. Still seeing these distinctive patches of white in late February.

• Red and orange Flowering Gums (Corymbia ficifolia) come into bloom in the first week or so of January. The look amazing but do not hold their blooms for very long and start to fade within a couple of weeks. A few late ones are still starting to bloom in late February, but the best of them is past by this time.

• I wrote a haiku when I saw some Abelia (Abelia grandiflora) in flower on Valentine’s Day last year but I notice this year it is already in flower in early January.

Water Gums (Tristanopsis laurina), also called Kanookas, that are planted in several streets in Kensington and Flemington, have had yellow flowers on them all through January.

• A Lightwood (Acacia implexa), sometimes apparently called a Hickory Wattle, with pale yellow flowers.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica) in flower on the fence beside the railway line.

• Lot’s of small red-brown Lion’s Mane Jellyfish (Cyanea annaskala) at Williamstown Beach in the first couple of weeks of January. This doesn’t happen every year, just when conditions are favourable for jellyfish.

• Yellow tops on the huge Fennel plants, some 6 – 7 feet tall, down by the train line.

• Massive Sunflowers in bloom, many are more than six feet tall.

• Purple and white Agapanthus plants in full bloom everywhere in early January. In the late January heat their flowers are starting to shrivel and fall off.

• Bright pink Hibiscus in bloom.

• Pink Oleander is in bloom (I haven’t seen any white oleander so far this year).

Cabbage Moths (Pieris rapae) everywhere.

• Brown, dried-out, Dead Christmas Trees, lying abandoned in gutters and on median strips, in early January.

• An Oyster Plant (Acanthus mollis) with flower stems higher than my head. A photo on my phone shows they were already this big in late November (2021).

• A fair few summer days here in Naarm (Melbourne) have a Hot North Wind followed by a Cool Change (Sea Breeze).

• January 20th is the anniversary of the execution of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner in Franklin Street Melbourne in 1842.

• Yellow and orange fruit on the Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare) bushes at Fairbairn Park in late January.

• Small pale purple-grey butterflies seen at Fairbairn Park in late January. I do not know their type.

• Yellow leaves dotted among the dark green on the Morton Bay Figs, in the last day or so of January.

Harlequin Bug (Dindymus versicolor) seen at Fairbairn Park on the first day of February.

• Have they been in the shops for a little while already? Not sure, but I had my first Cling Peach to eat in the first couple of days of February.

• Around St Valentine’s Day I notice Rock Correa (Correa glabra) in flower at Fairbairn Park. A scattering of yellow-green tubular flowers, similar to pine heath.

• Also around St Valentine’s Day the first new season’s Royal Gala Apples are in the shops.

• Mid February Yucca plants in flower, pale yellow stalks with petals grown straight up from their spiky heads.

• Mid February Plumbago that often seems to be planted along front fences as a an informal hedge is in flower. The flowers are pale blue.

• Mid February large green skinned Figs are ripe in my parents back yard in Kensington. Other people’s trees I see out walking have plastic bags tied over the fruit to keep off the birds. I have a friend who has a tree that gives lovely smaller dark purple skinned figs but they are not ripe until a bit later in the year.

• Mid to late February a Frangipani tree in our street comes into flower.

• Late February there are White Roses in bloom in front of the Flemington Racecourse and in lots of front gardens. Interestingly hardly any other colours of rose seem to be in bloom.

• In late February Lomandra longifolia (also called Spiny-headed Mat-rush) have orange seeds clusters on them, with lots of sharp prickes sticking out between the individual seeds. Koorie name is Karawun per VicFlora.

References:

Lomandra longiflora, VicFlora, https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/379477a3-2398-4a47-b81f-46dd3a735115.