Spring surprise

At the Wellington Botanic Garden, the flowering of thousands of brightly coloured tulips is a feature of the Spring Festival.  This year they have arrived rather earlier than anticipated, courtesy of a milder and wetter winter.  I was surprised and delighted when I saw what had been hiding underneath the edible bedding plants that I described in winter...the brilliantly red tulip "Parade" has emerged and taken centre stage.  I had no idea what was in store when I was admiring the combination of silverbeet "Bright Lights", white bedding chrysanthemum and parsley.  But hiding under their cover were the tulip bulbs - like marvellous little plant-packages sheltering through the winter in the safety of the soil, waiting to spring up into leaf and flower once conditions are right.  In this image the tulips are backlit by the bright noonday sun - not usually a good time for photography - but it does convey the almost uncomfortably intense contrast of red and green.

Looking beyond this bed, there is a glimpse of more tulips...colours almost eye-wateringly bright...

A busy, busy scene around the Joy Fountain - tulips, spring blossom and new spring growth, people admiring, sitting, strolling, and gardeners gardening in the background.  It is certainly not winter now!