Gardeners. You will often see people tending their gardens. A polite hello will often expand to a conversation on gardens. On such encounters, I have learnt the names of many exotic plants and flowers. I have also learnt that many gardeners haven't a clue of the names of their flowers. "They were there when we shifted in," is the usual reason."
Gardens. These usually fit into three categories. The good, the bad and the ugly. Fortunately, most are in the first category and are a pleasure to admire – a visual benefit. If you are a keen gardener, you can often get ideas to the benefit of your own garden.
Walkers. Walkers, either alone or couples are usually too intent on getting their exercise to engage in any interruption to that goal. But a friendly exchange of smiles and a good morning/afternoon adds pleasure to a walk.
Walkers with dogs. My favourite benefit of walks. People taking their canine friends for a walk are never in a hurry. My knowledge of dog breeds has increased significantly. If I see one I can't identify, the owner is always pleased to increase my knowledge of their furry friend.
Most doggies like a pat and reciprocate with a lick or two, or three. I always ask owners before I pat them – patting the dogs, I mean. Over my walks, I have been introduced to a Hungarian Vizla, several Murray River Retrievers, a Scottish Deerhound, a Staghound and many more common breeds.
Birds. Apart from the ubiquitous magpies, crows and noisy miners some rarer types are often observed in trees, overhead wires, gardens, rooftops and fences. Some birds herald their appearance vocally while others a just quietly sitting in trees.
My two favourite sightings were three Yellow-tailed cockatoos feeding in a tree and two juvenile Tawny frogmouths just staring down at me. Also, another beneficial sighting was a plover exercising their wings and a strutting chook.
Garden ornaments. Non flora garden items is an added benefit to many gardens. Many wheelbarrows get a new lease of life as mobile garden beds, a benefit to them if they have feelings. Gnomes, angels, buddhas and even meerkats inhabit many gardens, not to mention numerous birdbaths, a benefit to our flying friends.
After a few street walks, you will be fit, knowledgeable with flowers, dogs and garden design, all beneficial.
You may think that stopping to enjoy all the benefits will reduce the exercise benefit of a walk. The solution is simple – take a longer walk and increase your flora, fauna and gardening knowledge as well.
Great article Neil. I think in these times of restricted movement it so helpful to get people thinking about walking in their own areas as something pleasant and rewarding; an opportunity to get to know and enjoy things we sometimes take for granted or don't see at all. Your street walk series certainly does that and this article ties it all together.