Autumn Haiku Almanac – South Eastern Australia

*singing*yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac . . .”

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 autumn months (Mar – May).

You can also read my observations from the past few months in my Summer Haiku Almanac.

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.

• End of February / start of March a single Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) seen at Fairbairn Park, running, surprisingly quickly under a park bench and hiding in the leaf litter under some gum trees.

• There was Mist on the morning of the last day of February 2022. The first day of March was warm with Low Cloud and on and off throughout the day the was Light Misty Rain. Then there were a couple of clear blue cloudless days and walking in the parks you could feel the sunshine drawing the Humidity up from the grass. This year autumn started right on cue. The forecast is 22 – 23 degrees celsius every day for the next week.

• First week of March and the London Plane Trees that are planted around the inner western suburbs of Melbourne have a decent scattering of yellow and brown leaves on them among the green. Brown Fallen Leaves are starting to collect on the footpaths, and can be rather slippery after rain. The “conkers”, the hard, green spiky balls that grow on plane trees seem to be fully sized but there is no sign yet of them softening or turning brown. By the second week of April the conkers have dried out and started to fall apart and the trichomes have started to form drifts on the footpaths.

• First week of March a Japanese Maple in a garden in Edinburgh Street Flemington is starting to turn red, just one of the branches so far. This is also happening with another Maple which is a street tree in McKracken Street (apparently a “Freeman Maple”).

• Early March I’ve seen a first few bunches of peppers on the Pepper Trees starting to turn pink, though most are still quite green.

• Early March and Hop Goodenia in our front yard, and at Fairbairn Park have started to get a few yellow flowers.

• A bit of wind and overnight rain and the white Crepe Myrtle street trees near our house have dropped a lot of flowers. The footpaths look like it has snowed, and there a little drifts of snow white flowers in the gutters.

• First couple of weeks of March and I’ve seen several pink Japanese Windflowers, also called anemones, in flower. They are more usually white I think. Our old house had white windflowers growing in the front yard, but when I walked past there a couple of days ago they weren’t in flower.

• Early to mid March some Flowering Gums with pale washed-out pink flowers have come into bloom at Fairbairn Park beside the Maribynong River. The Rainbow Lorikeets seem to love them.

• Second week of March and the Raspberry plants in Mum and Dad’s backyard have some ripe fruit on them (but raspberries might be one of those plants that has two seperate flushes of fruit at different times of the year?).

• The Moomba festival in Melbourne on the Labour Day long weekend (the weekend of the second Monday of March).

• Mid March Bunny Tails (Lagurus ovatus) seen near the beach at Anglesea. These seem so distinctive to the costal areas of Victoria that I’d assumed they were native, but apparently they are Mediterranean and naturalised all over the world.

• Mid March the orange Chinese Lantern (some form of Abutilon) over our back fence has come into flower.

• 17th of March is St Patrick’s Day. Wearing something green on St Pat’s Day is quite common in Melbourne for those with some Irish heritage.

• The morning of 21st of March 2022 there were a pair of Little Corellas in an ornamental Manchurian Pear in Newmarket. The birds were breaking apart the small green fruit and dropping debris all over the footpath.

• 21st of March, some of the Olives on the street trees in Ascot Vale have changed from green to black.

• 21st of March, I noticed some Rosemary plants are now covered in pale blue flowers.

• 21st of March, Persimmons on a tree in Ascot Vale, turning orange but still not quite ripe.

• Last day of March, leaves on a Grape Vine are turning deep red.

• Last day of March, dark red fruit on a Prickly Pear cactus in Kensington. Prickly Pears for sale in Moonee Ponds in the second week of April.

• Last day of March, red Pomegranates hanging on a tree in Kensington.

• 1st of April, April Fools’ Day.

• 2nd of April, Fuschia in full bloom in Footscray.

• 3rd of April, black berries on Deadly Nightshade at the Flemington Racecourse.

• 4th of April, red berries on a Cotoneaster in Brunswick. The berries stay essentially unchanged on this plant right through winter.

• 4th of April, Lilly Pilly tree in full fruit in Brunswick.

• First week of April, Flowering Gum heavy laden with bright red flowers in Windsor.

• Mid-April, one or two leaves on a Fig Tree in Flemington have turned yellow.

• Late April, Quinces $4.00 a kilo. Also Chestnuts for sale at the Queen Vic Market ($7.00. / kg).

• Mid-May Mushrooms a grass nature strip in Box Hill.