Here in Wellington our trees are shaped and pruned and often stunted by wind. In Auckland trees have a much easier time. With less wind they tend to grow very quickly to a good size. On a brief visit to Auckland this weekend I was delighted by the trees in their fresh spring growth. A particularly good place to see beautiful trees that don't do well on Wellington's south coast is the lovely Eden Garden. It was created by volunteers who started planting over forty years ago in an abandoned quarry by Mt Eden, a volcanic cone. The site is steep and rocky but (I presume) blessed with good volcanic soil.
Eden Garden is a memorial garden, and when I visit I go to see my father's tree. His tree is in a glade - difficult to photograph but a special setting.
The leaves of Japanese maple, backlit by bright sunlight, are glorious in crimson and green. The pink colour is due to the leaves of the Toon tree - Toona sinensis. They are this improbable pale shade when they first emerge in spring. Greens of camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons - especially vireyas - provide a rich contrast, as do some lovely mature native trees. Japanese maples are a particular treat for me to see. Their foliage is wind sensitive and just when it emerges and is at its most tender, the equinoxial gales are whipping around our place in Island Bay. But not here in Eden garden, enclosed and sheltered by the old quarry.
The sight of these colours was irresistable to my trigger happy shutter finger - digital photography allows you to take too many photos.
Here, even brighter backlit leaves glow like the colourful glass of stained glass windows.
And where the light is softer on the steep path down to Duncan Dale, the reds and greens of the Japanese maples quietly intensify each other.