NEXT MERLYNSTON EVENTS
Saturday April 22nd 2017 9am-10am: Mulching at Ararat Ave, Merlynston. Read more here: https://www.upfieldurbanforest.org/upcoming-events/2017/4/22/mulching-ararat-ave-merlynston-coburg-north
Sunday May 28th 2017 time TBC (winter plantings at Merlynston's Upfield Urban Forest sites at Bain Reserve and Ararat Avenue (check events calendar for more details to come).
There are a number of excellent planters working on the path between Batman and Merlynston train stations in Coburg North. Here are some ideas of those working on this section, but please get in touch with yours! To join the Merlynston Upfield Urban Forest email list, please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Merlynston section of the Upfield bike path is pretty grim in patches. Some lovely shade trees, shrubs and native flowers are crucial, particularly in summer when the western sun is so nasty for cyclists and pedestrians. For plantings, I imagine it would work best if residents who live along the bike path could take ownership of different sections. It could be broken into the following sections going from south to north:
1. Batman station (at Gaffney Street) to Renown St.
2. Renown St
3. Back of Smith St (section between Renown St and Bakers Rd)
4. Bakers Rd to Shorts Rd (a: back of Ryland St b: Ararat Ave)
5. Shorts Rd to Plaisted St
6. Merlynston station (from Plaisted St to Boundary Rd)
1. Batman station (at Gaffney St) to Renown St, Coburg
Presently there are some nice established gums to the east of the path - but it would be great if future development of this site (currently Batman Market) incorporated A better bike path (at present the path is too narrow here) and greenery (keeping current gums + ideally new plantings between train line and east of bike path. There is only a small amount of space between the tracks and bike path at present and it is fenced - so perhaps smaller shrubs and flowers and leave trees to east of path?
2. Renown St
Residents and council have done a great job planting along here over many years. Some residents have begun planting olive trees etc... half way along and there is a lovely, established fig tree also. Update: Check out Drew's sunflower patch! This stretch would benefit from mulch drops and regular weeding and perhaps more shrubs and flowers planted between established trees so weeds squeezed out.
3. Back of Smith St, Coburg Norht (between Renown St and Bakers Rd)
The bike path between Renown and Bakers has also been planted out (many young trees have been planted in recent months) by the enterprising Emma, Vince and friends. Again, this stretch may need mulch drops and help with ongoing weeding.
4A) Bakers Rd to Ararat Ave, Coburg North (back of Ryland St)
This is a nasty, barren stretch with no greenery anywhere. There is room on western side of tracks (adjacent to recently demolished Tontine factory) to plant trees. I have tried planting some natives on the east side of tracks in the small space between tracks and the bike path (see photo below - bit like small areas planted at Anstey station) but this area is very exposed and the soil either very, very clay or quite gravel-like. Some soil and structure improvement would be needed.
Many other small native shrubs planted this winter (2016) have died - either from getting too bogged in all the rain we've had - or because they may have been sprayed by maintenance staff from Metro, council or other? I'm not sure what could be done along here and wonder whether vines over arches / framework might be feasible, or planter boxes. If your house backs onto the path here, get in touch!
4B) Ararat Ave, Coburg North (from Spry St to Shorts Rd)
I would like to do some more plantings (shrubs + flowers) at the southern end of Ararat Ave. I have planted about five trees so far. We would need to get rid of the couch grass, add loads of mulch - then plant some more shrubs + possibly trees (an appropriate distance from train tracks).
Below is the middle section of Ararat Ave, which I began planting out about 4 years ago. They took awhile to get going but with this wet winter seem to have hit their straps. We are lucky we have a line of established gums along Ararat. My vision for this street is to have lovely natives and wild flowers the whole way along - on the train line AND along all the nature strips (if residents are keen) similar to wildlife corridor Edwards St, Brunswick idea.
I've tended to rip out the couch, then put cardboard down, then used mulch from council mulch depot in Hadfield - then punched holes trough the cardboard for the plants. This seems to have helped keep the weeds / couch grass under control. A neighbour has also planted further north along the street. I've used tyres, initially to stop people parking on the plants (!) but I find they also help protect young plants from wind and extreme heat.
5. Shorts Rd to Plaisted St, Coburg North
There is no shading either side of the path although there appears to be an appropriate amount of vacant land either side (east of train tracks + on flood-way land bordering current Bay Ford site where there are plans to build an Aldi and storage facility). See pic below.
6. Merlynston Railway Station (from Plaisted Rd to Boundary Rd)
The station car park is very drab at present although there are a small number of shade trees. Cyclists have to leave the path and move onto the road from Plaisted. It would be great to develop the car parking areas in the future and integrate the bikes and greenery better.
Below are three images of the Merlynston train station carpark (east of train line). Currently cyclists are diverted here onto the road.
Keen to help green the Upfield line north of Bell Street? Please get in touch and identify your area of interest ie) Merlynston or other.