Gingko gold

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

After a simple lunch of donburi chicken from Wasabi Sushi in the James Cook Arcade, I returned to Lambton Quay and found myself standing under a canopy of gingko gold.

The photograph below – taken a little further down the street – is exactly thirteen months old. Click on it for a look at the piece I posted on 08 May 2014.

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

Eastbourne mamaku

This fine mamaku, growing close to the house in a friend’s Eastbourne garden, was planted many years ago by his father. A second, much younger specimen growing elsewhere in the garden was transplanted as a seedling from a bush garden in Kelburn, where I used to live.

Cyathea medullaris, popularly known as the black tree fern, is a large tree fern up to 20m tall. It is distributed across the south-west Pacific from Fiji to Pitcairn and New Zealand. It is called mamaku, katātā, kōrau, or pītau in the Māori language.” (Wikipedia)

Fallen frond

fallen nīkau frond (01 February 2015)

fallen nīkau frond (01 February 2015)

There are nīkau palms in a number of locations around Wellington city – as well as the iconic sculptural versions which feature in and around Civic Square.

The fallen nīkau frond shown here is from one of the palms in a paved area on the corner of Victoria and Manners Streets.

“The nīkau (Rhopalostylis sapida) is a palm tree endemic to New Zealand, and the only palm native to New Zealand” (Wikipedia).

Trees in the city

Willis Street tree #105 (18 July 2014)

Willis Street tree #105 (18 July 2014)

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There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.

(from “All You Need Is Love” written by John Lennon Paul McCartney Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)

Willis Street tree #106 (18 July 2014)

Willis Street tree #106 (18 July 2014)

Strokes of havoc

hi-viz orange (02 May 2014)

hi-viz orange (02 May 2014)

The din I heard as I emerged from my bathroom turned out to be coming from a chainsaw wielded by one of the workmen the city council had sent to strip the ivy and other creepers from the green bank behind my apartment block. The devastation they’d wreaked appalled me, and I felt some concern for my own garden – lavender, roses, and camellias.

Scheduled to go into the city, I caught a bus whilst they were on their morning smoko, but before doing so I took a minute to squeeze off a few close-ups of the monarch butterfly disturbed and dislodged by the hack and rack of the two orange-clad, hi-viz-wearing workmen.

My garden had never been in danger, in fact … although the next day my nose dripped, my eyes itched … and, oh my, such sneezing fits! – the ivy, I’m guessing.

The title of this post and the phrase, “hack and rack”, come from Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

 

Pruning the roses

Iceberg rose (29 Apr 10)

Iceberg rose (29 April 2010)

A few days ago, I was wondering when to prune the standard rose in my little courtyard garden. My Iceberg had flowered well, its sheltered location having protected it from winds and rain, and I was reluctant to cut away flower buds. When I was young, it was not unusual to get out the secateurs in June, but it seems July is the month when most roses are pruned nowadays, according to the Yates New Zealand website.

That evening (21 July), our region was shaken by a series of earthquakes, the largest of which measured 6.5 on the Richter scale.

Rose pruning seems to cause angst for even experienced gardeners. For a couple of days, though, my angst was focused on whether Wellington would get another, bigger shake-up.

Yesterday, I got out (misty drizzle notwithstanding) and snipped the bush into shape. “Even if you did no pruning, the roses would survive,” says the Yates guide. After all, roses growing in the wild never got pruned.

“Roses do, however, respond really well to pruning. They flower well on the new growth that pruning stimulates and, after pruning, they’re neat and tidy and look as if they’re comfortable in the garden.”

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The image, dating from 29 April 2010, is one of a number of shots captured in a friend’s garden.

Lilium longiflorum

Lilium longiflorum (20 Feb 2013)

Lilium longiflorum (20 Feb 2013)

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I was well pleased with this image, captured in the shade on a sunny morning, with the aid of a little bit of flash.

In New Zealand, Lilium longiflorum is widely known as the ‘Christmas lily’, although some insist this name traditionally belongs to Lilium Regale.

Blue and yellow

blue and yellow (22 Dec 2012)

blue and yellow (22 Dec 2012)

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The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.

(Matsuo Bashō)

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Visiting Grandmother’s garden – a little sanctuary, quite invisible from the city street – I could sometimes hear the bells of the carillon. Grandmother and my childhood are long gone, but my flowering courtyard resonates with memories.

No third thing

… experiencing runs of bad luck is part of life’s rich pattern. The key thing is to see them for what they are: an entirely predictable consequence of unpredictability. (Robert Matthews, in Matt’s stats: Why disasters come in threes

Three sisters

Three sisters

This morning, I carelessly lit a votive candle and placed it on a lacquered cabinet. If I hadn’t (later in the morning) noticed a smell of burning, there might have been a fire.

This morning, I opened my front door carelessly, and a boisterous wind-gust slammed it on my finger. If I hadn’t been quick to pull my hand away, there might have been a bruise.

So far this morning, there is no third thing. Before long, of course, there will be the next thing. Life being what it is, there is always the next thing – whether fortunate or unfortunate.

Perhaps the “rule of threes” helps divide the ongoing stream of mishaps, misadventures, miseries and demises into manageable chunks.

When a light-bulb blows, I tend to buy three … after replacing the old one from the ample stock I already have in the cupboard under the sink.

To end, here – courtesy of Wikipedia’s Rule of three (writing) – is a nice little Latin motto “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete).

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Thanks to The Book of Threes, which reports that “The ancient Native American technique of growing Corn, Beans, and Squash together in an arrangement called the Three Sisters is the ultimate in companion planting and helps increase harvests, naturally!” 

For readers who suspect a veiled Monty Python reference, here’s a link to the Comfy Chair / Sound Quiz from “Another Monty Python Record”.