Keep in touch with the good earth

Opening with the winter sun - candy cane oxalis (Oxalis versicolor)

We have had some very welcome sunshine today - after a patch of really cold grey days with rain and hail and strong southerly winds.  Brrr.   Unfurling in response to the sunlight, the profuse flowers of Oxalis versicolor - a small winter flowering bulb from South Africa.You can see why it is sometimes called the candy cane oxalis - the red edges of the white petals make the characteristic candy cane stripes when the flowers are closed - which has been most of the time recently.  They need bright sunshine to fully open - and then they make a sunny display of their own. 

But if any clouds should start dimming the sunshine, the little flowers start to close quite quickly...Furling petals, showing their candy cane stripes. 

I have found it a very easy bulb to grow, mostly in small pots, providing a very cheerful and quirky display during the greyest time of the year.


Rain squalls and rainbows over the Orongorongos

I continue to look up to the sky - especially on cold and rainy days in winter it provides some most compelling views.  After a lovely settled period in Wellington we have been having more "dynamic" (often a euphemism for awful, but in this case just changeable) weather.  There has been a devastating storm and deluge in Northland but we have just had intermittent rain.  And today we had squally showers providing a rapidly changing display of clouds, mist,and transient light shows and rainbows.The view across to the Orongorongos from Island Bay.


A winter morning's mist and light over Wellington Harbour 

At the top of Brooklyn Road, before descending the steep hill into town, I often get a glimpse of Wellington Harbour beyond the trees of Central Park.  Today I had time to stop and enjoy the view. The very bright early morning light, in places diffused and shaped by the clouds, the misty shapes of the Hutt Valley hills and the Tararua range beyond, and the mix of tall trees in the park.  Even though we don't have the really marked seasonal contrasts here, I think that winter brings a more austere beauty.  And the low angle of winter sunlight adds drama by emphasising contours and contrasts.


Tiny hearts - leaves of Muehlenbeckia astonii

"Be gentle with the Earth" - the Dalai Lama XIV. Some little hearts for his birthday.


Southerly storm clouds dispelling the sunshine 

We have been having mild weather - we have just come through the warmest June on record for New Zealand, part of a disturbing sequence of warm weather records.  But some wintery cold arrived yesterday and even though I don't like being cold I rather welcomed it.A southerly cloud front over Baring Head and advancing towards Wellington's south coast.  It quickly dulled what had been a sunny morning, chilled us, rained heavily, and even sprinkled a little snow on the Orongorongos - the lovely crinkly hills seen in the distance.