I’ve finally reached the end of my extended stay in Melbourne. Originally intending to stay a week, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve been here for six!
Today I decided to go back to a spot that I’d noticed on a previous ride. A small creek I found flowing into the Plenty River that trailed off between the houses of one of the older suburbs in the area.
As I followed the creek I realized that despite the large numbers of people who follow the shared cycle/walking path right past this patch of wild ground, hardly anyone had ventured along the creek in a very long time. I found a faint path that could barely be seen through the shrubs and sedges that enveloped the gorge.
I discovered this had once been a walking trail but it had been neglected and forgotten. It had the feel of a secret place, I was so surprised to find this secluded little pocket of land unvisited. It reminded me of the creek that used to flow at the end of my street, now completely enclosed with a concrete drain and built over with housing development. I hope this place remains un touched.
Following the faint path, even in muddy patches, I found no footprints. There was no sign that anyone had walked this way for a long time. Adjoining properties had gates leading to the creek but it seemed nobody had bothered to venture into the messy scrub for years.
Though the land was full of weeds, introduced plants and trash washed down street drains, there remained a wildness about it that gave a hint of the world that existed before we trespassed in the Plenty Valley. The creek itself possibly retained the same geological structure that appeared to the first Europeans who came this way, the same place in essence as was known by Wurundjeri people who had always lived here. (I imagined it so)
I clambered and scraped my way as far as I could go. The path and the creek narrowed considerably upstream and the prickly blackberry bushes made it too difficult to proceed without ripping my clothes and skin to shreds. I decided finally to turn around and head back down stream. I felt a sense of joy and freedom having discovered this place. It’s not the only forgotten space in the middle of suburbia. There are so many really. The little weedy corners, where birds take refuge and straying moggies stalk. Seeds take root and remnants of what was once common clings to the soil in a breathless space, vulnerable to the whims of town planners and developers but secure in it’s isolation for now. Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
I made a bit of a video to show some of the sights I’ll try to embed here, otherwise just follow the link and you can see it on Youtube.
Oh yeah… The weeds. So I cannot begin to identify all the weeds, there are so many! Vines, grasses, trees. Weeds of every variety.
One of the most obvious weeds I’ve been seeing lately is the Three-cornered garlic (Allium triquetrum). The scent is very strong, it is flowering right now and can be found along the banks of the Plenty River extensively! Apparently it’s edible. This will be my next learning experience. To be able to identify the edible weeds wherever I am an learn how to prepare and consume them!
Tread light, go far, rest much.