Sunday, 1 August 2010

Back lanes and byways

blue sky with a few scant white clouds seen above a row of houses
Today, Sydney turned on one of those beautiful end-of-winter days full of the promise of spring. The kind of day that makes you forget that the weather forecast for the coming week seems to be full of temperature drops and more rain.

Anyway, the sunshine lured me and the camera out of the house and on a wander around the local streets, especially up and down some of the back lanes where, amidst the garage doors and back lane detritus you get little reminders that some of the houses front the lane

ceramic tiles with the house number 2B in blue on a creamy white background and decorated with lemons top and bottom
and occasionally there's a tempting glimpse of what lies beyond,

A timber door, weather-stained and with some iron work in place of what might have been the top panel, set into a wall surrounding a house. Its clear that there's a garden beyond, but you can't really see it (without getting closer and peering in, which would be rude!).
forever hidden from you unless you know the magic password to unlock the door (or, you know, have a key).

Two doors. The first, more a gate or ironwork. Beyond it, a pair of timber doors, with more iron work in the upper panels, through which is visible some cactus-y plants in pots standing in a paved courtyard. There is a space between the doors, like a portico.Houses in the lanes don't have the kind of showy front gardens you see in the streets, but you'll find something like this bougainvillea stretched out against a wall in the sunshine,

A pink bougainvillea flower on a long stem, silhouetted against a wall.
or a camellia in a pot next to a garage door for no reason other than to be there,

A pink and white camellia flower. Probably a camellia japonica, but I'm no expert. or a hibiscus poking up above someone's back fence.

yellow hibiscus bud
There's a house near here that looks for all the world like it must at one time have been a church of some sort, judging by the shape of the door (mirrored in the iron gate)

A door to a building - well, house these days. The door is timber, made of vertical slats, and shaped like an arch, but with a very pointed top. It is in two halves, and there are matching round iron rings which appear to serve as doorknobs. The brickwork surrounding the door mirrors and emphasises the pointed arch shape, as does the ironwork in the gate, visible in the front of the photo.although the stain glass in the windows looks more like tales from Camelot that the lives of the saints. (I'm trying to work out if I should feel slightly guilty wandering around about photographing people's doors and plants, but I draw the line at windows. You'll just have to take my word for it.)

a cluster of small white flowers just beginning to bloom. Its an Australian native of some sort, I think. My spring is in the air feeling seemed to be confirmed by the local plant-life.

another native shrubby-tree with small flowers just starting to apear.
I'm pretty sure these are all (Australian) natives, although I couldn't put a name to any of them (several grandparents would probably be appalled, were they still alive to know this - I am the generation that gardening skipped).

the new shoots on this shrub are a pinky-red colour, in contrast to the green of the established leaves
I can identify a tibouchina, though. They always makes me smile, possibly because of the cheerful purple flowers, but more likely because I'm reminded of the one we had in the garden when I was a child. I always assumed they were native (to Australia), but apparently they come from Brazil.

large, bright purple tibouchina flowersProving that nature triumphs over adversity, these grasses seem to thrive behind the chicken wire that surrounds what used to be a petrol station but has been a neglected vacant lot for about 10 years now,

Some kind of large grassy plant - probably not a bulrush, but similar.
not to mention the azalea in my front garden that's flowering in spite of my neglect (evident in the rather sad state of the leaves, which I'm sure indicate an absence of something in the soil).

White azalea flowers