Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens © Margaret Turner
Twenty members attended the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens on Saturday 8th September. Rhododendrons highlighted the floral display in the gardens, previously known as the National Rhododendron Gardens, in many different colours and massive blooms.
In some areas the floral display was a little sparse, though there were plenty of bulbs and some low ground-cover plants in bloom and the garden structure to appreciate. The weather was very pleasant, and lighting was really good for soft backlighting photos, and front-lit blooms. In addition, the lake was very good for reflections. We were probably three or so weeks early for the cherry blossom. The main paths were well paved, undulating and some side paths were a little challenging.
Most members enjoyed a light lunch in the café (just before it closed!) and then a spontaneous decision was made to investigate the Olinda Falls, just down the road according to the sign near the gardens. Well, some (or most) of us went the wrong way – through no fault of our own – because there were two signs ‘to Falls Road’ at the same intersection, pointing in different directions. Through trial and error we managed to find the Olinda Falls Reserve and discovered a natural park well worth of a visit. The walking trail through the park to the falls was rather steep and damp under foot and the Mountain Ash trees dominated the landscape – very impressive. Some slow shutter speed photos were taken of the falls. Moss, lichen and even some fungi were discovered, and, later smoke filtering through the canopy from a nearby leaf-burn (only allowed on Saturday’s) provided some interesting images with the late afternoon sun producing smoke “rays” through the forest.
No doubt everybody arrived home, ready for a good rest, after walking quite a few K’s during the course of the day.