Little glimpses of gold - late winter jonquils and a puckish way to reduce plastic use

The end of winter always seems to be the hardest part of it here - worse weather, more illnesses, soil heavy with all the rain - not much opportunity to be outside for a bit of garden therapy. But popping up amongst the lush green weeds there are clusters of bright faces - Narcissus tazetta? or jonquilla? - jonquils for short. Bold little clusters of golden flowers, buffeted by the gales, but here to announce that spring will be here. Don’t give up, they say!

Jonquils - slightly wind battered but resolutely cheerful.

Jonquils - slightly wind battered but resolutely cheerful.

And there are other cold fronts upon us - the damage to our planet from human activity is stark - pollution, extinctions, climate change. So what’s this?

Well, NZ Consumer published a report on shampoo bars - how people rate them compared to liquid shampoo. Quite well, it turns out. So I thought I’d try one.

Puckish - merry, impish.  Puck - a rubber disk used in ice hockey.  Like a little golden hockey puck - it just looks cheerful to me.  It’s a shampoo bar (“Godiva” from Lush. )  And it takes us a wee step away from plastic - so easy, and it was nice to use.

Puckish - merry, impish. Puck - a rubber disk used in ice hockey. Like a little golden hockey puck - it just looks cheerful to me. It’s a shampoo bar (“Godiva” from Lush. ) And it takes us a wee step away from plastic - so easy, and it was nice to use.

When we face big problems it’s good to remember how every little thing can have an impact - scent and bright flowers to cheer us up, fewer plastic bottles so a little less of the burden of once-used plastic for us to deal with. Little golden things.

A southerly front over the south coast - winter's dramas continue

The days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner, but winter still puts on a good show for us.  A southerly front brings a biting cold wind, heavy rain, and a reminder that there is just a great stretch of open ocean between us and Antarctica.  Brrrrrrr!

southerlyfront.jpg

A cold southerly front heads across Island Bay, misty rain over the water and dramatic clouds darkening the sky.  A wonderful sight as long as you're under cover!

Gorgeous greens at the beginning of the Routeburn

The Routeburn track is one of New Zealand's so-called Great Walks (aka tramping tracks), but you don't have to go far at all to enjoy the wonderful greens of the beech forest - there is an easy nature walk at the beginning of the track.

Crossing the first swingbridge over the Route Burn, itself a lovely aqua colour, you see the banks covered with the greens of ferns, grasses, mosses, tree seedlings, some lichens.

Soft mosses cover almost everything, and the fine green foliage of the beech trees creates a very dreamy peaceful atmosphere.

A profusion of mosses, filmy ferns, and the dangling little white flowers of Luzuriaga parviflora - a native plant new to me but found throughout the country in cool wet mountain forests.

Lots of trickling water and little rivulets.

Ferns were the predominant ground cover in the somewhat drier areas.

But mostly it was moist and mossy, a perfect environment for filmy ferns - I was delighted to see such extensive groups of these tiny delicate treasures.

Mosses were covering one half of this large rock, filmy ferns were most prominent on the other half.  Unfortunately I didn't have a suitable lens to take close-ups of the filmy ferns, mosses etc.  Next time!

Closer to the river the forest was more open.

Looking back at the terrain that the Routeburn track enters you can see that there was no shortage of moisture - with mist, rain, and a recent summer snowfall in the mountains.

And as we left, the weather was closing in - a reminder of why you have to be well prepared whenever you head into the mountains - even if you are just doing a short easy walk.