Precocious signs of spring

Winter is hanging on - grey skies, rain, wind - and we don't seem to be getting as many of the clear bright still days that usually occur between wind changes.  But spring will soon be here.  One of the earliest signs that winter is coming to an end is the glorious display of pinkness that is the flowering of a grand Magnolia campbellii in the Wellington Botanic Garden.  This majestic tree is over seventy years old and impressively tall, but surrounded - this photo shows how it is framed by evergreen trees and treeferns which sit on hills around it.

Such a welcome sight, but difficult to convey.  This challenges me - I crane my neck and perch my camera against my face...looking up against the bright grey sky, trying to avoid having the flowers in dark silhouette.

Upper branches of the magnolia, bare except for the gorgeous pink blooms (and a sprinkling of lichen).  Oh to see them better...

A closer view of the pink flowers, the large buds and the tangle of branches of Magnolia campbellii.