SEARCH (there is a lot more) - plants, beasties, atmospherics, and Wellington's south coast
Keep in touch with the good earth

No better place to be - by the Cockayne lawn at Otari

At Otari native plant botanic garden, here in Wellington, there are memorial seats/benches in places of interest and beauty.  As I sit and enjoy them I often wonder about the people who are commemorated and their connection with the place, and I very much hope that they enjoyed the plants as I do. This seat commemorates Roa Isobel Irons with the words "No better place to be than here with family."  Here by the Cockayne Lawn the family of plants looks bright and inviting with spring colours - scarlet kaka beak and golden kowhai flowers.  And as the days lengthen and warm up, this is a place where families will happily play and picnic.  Indeed there is no better place to be than in the beauty of nature.


Kereru and kowhai at Otari - and it's almost time for the Great Kereru Count

I was fortunate to have a bit of time to get to Otari (native plant museum) yesterday.  The sun was out, some kowhai were in flower, and it was very peaceful apart from the whoosh whoosh whoosh of kereru flying from tree to tree.  They are such a wonderful sight - their beautiful feathers, and their rather ungainly but often gorgeously plump bodies - like bumble bees, they don't look completely air-worthy.



Two kereru were quite settled in a kowhai tree by the Canopy Walkway - so I got a good view.

(I had somehow messed up the settings on my camera, alas - so my picture taking was not of great quality, but this gives you an idea of the special sight.)







One assumed a classic portrait-of-kereru poseWhile the other was doing some gymnastics to reach and eat kowhai flowers.A happy spring sighting and a happy reminder  - it is just about time for the Great Kereru Count.


A pink hyacinth - welcoming spring and nurturing hope

It's the last day of August and the last day of winter (an arbitrary cut off, but there we are) - and it's a cold and grey day so a cheerful pink sweet-smelling hyacinth is very welcome.  Spring is a marvellous time of unfolding growth and regeneration - despite our cold winds.  And here we go again!

I am very grateful that the beauty of nature gives me such joy, and that it reminds me of the complexity and diversity of life, the power of the forces of growth and regeneration. I feel sad and sick with dread when I see how often we humans deny our interconnectedness - with other people and with all living things.  If we can't cooperate with nature and with each other I'm not hopeful about the kind of future we will have.  But spring is a great reminder - no matter how cold and bleak the winter has been, a small change in the temperature and day length brings a resurgence of life and colour. 

So the message I take from spring is - let's nurture the tender growth of human hope too!


Emerging from winter's gloom - gold lace polyanthus and spring bulbs

It has been cold, windy and wet, as winter should be - but we are beginning to emerge from winter's grip.  Gold lace polyanthus flowers, wet and somewhat bedraggled, light up a corner of the garden in Wellington's colours of gold and black. And in anticipation of spring, a rather unkempt group of potted bulbs has made a start:

the lemon trumpets of hoop petticoat daffodils - Narcissus Aygarth;  hyacinths - pink and pale yellow;  a warm pink lachenalia;  the pink and white flowers of Oxalis versicolor, resolutely furled up (they only open in decent sunshine) showing the reason they are called "candy cane" oxalis;  and some little blue grape hyacinths.  Behind the pot collection is a particularly lovely rosemary with rich blue flowers and amidst the pots you can see leaves of thyme, parsley, and nasturtium.

Neglected through winter, they are saying to me "get to work, tend us, spring is around the corner."

Guess its time to comply with their request - garden ho.


Evening at Te Raekaihau Point. Part two - light and colour

Can the sky be bright and leaden at the same time?  That's how it seemed to me, looking westwards from Te Raekaihau point and along the south coast.  There was light cloud over the water but a rather dense carpet of cloud over the land....and, looking the other way, over Lyall Bay.  It began colouring up quickly.It was very golden on the skyline, beyond Lyall Bay and the airport.  A flypast of black-feathered oystercatchers peep peep peeping seemed to emphasise the rich colours of the cloud and sky.To the west there was a little colour developing, but it was subtle.But as the sun sank further, behind those hills, the golden colour warmed up the sky on this side too.I walked along from the Point to Princess Bay, with Taputeranga in the distance in silhoutte against the hills of the south coast.  The wind was making pretty patterns of spray on the cresting waves.  The colours were intensifying.At Princess Bay I loved the burnishing of gold on the wet sand at the water's edge.But the sky kept getting more intensely coloured.  I walked along the beach then up along the road above Princess Bay.  Over Houghton Bay, it was best described as - whew!  A fiery red over the Melrose hills, above Houghton Bay.  Not hyperbole - it really did look as if it was on fire.  But it was a brief flash.

The rich reds began to fade and were reflected in the darkening sea - the view from above Princess Bay looking to the south.Back at Te Raekaihau Point I could see landmarks - the South Island in the distance, Taputeranga, the rocky outcrops by Princess Bay - in silhouette against the fading colours and night-falling sky.A spectacular lightshow from nature - it pays to spend some time and allow things to unfold.