In the autumn sunshine

Yesterday, the last day of autumn … out in the city. And it’s a sunny afternoon. The camera doesn’t like being stuck in the bag; I can tell it wants to get out and play. So here – with a minimum of Photoshop time involved – are the results of my playing in the sunshine.

The orange flower spikes are sampled from the bed of Aloe vera just off Civic Square, behind the City Art Gallery, on the way down to Jack Ilott Green. “A member of the Liliacea family, Aloe vera is a succulent perennial, grows in a clump and has long, spiky, grey-green leaves. The yellow-orange tubular flowers bloom at the top of tall spikes that emerge from the center of the plant. There are approximately 400 species of Aloe, but it is the Aloe Barbadensis Miller, or “true aloe,” referred to as Aloe vera, that possesses the most remarkable healing properties” (from a web site called Way of the Wild Heart).

And the tall plant with the wonderfully curved blade-like leaves … is that some kind of Agave? (If you can identify it from my pix, please comment.)

The wooden wheel is part of the sculptural decoration on the City to Sea Bridge. I hadn’t been intending to stop on the bridge, but the silvery-blue light was just too appealing to ignore.

Back in the 1930s, the St John’s Bar and Restaurant used to be the home of the Wellington Free Ambulance. I mention it because the cabbage tree shown here is among a number outside the handsome Art Deco structure.

Reason enough not to …

Choisya ternata – Mexican orange or mock orange (28 October 2014)

Choisya ternata – Mexican orange or mock orange (28 October 2014)

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A spring afternoon.
Gardening: reason enough
not to write haiku.

(10 October 2015)

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In truth, it was not my own little domain that took my attention today, but the garden of a friend. I was helping to lay out terracotta planters in place of timber troughs which, having rotted, had begun to collapse.

The choisya flowers decorating this post belong to last year; during late autumn and winter the painters’ scaffolding decimated what had been a handsome and luxuriant bush outside my front window. There are a few flowers again now, but full restoration is going to take a bit of time.

 

Pink camellias

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)

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The shopping is done,
and the menu decided.
But which vase to use?

 


The prospect of dressing the table for dinner this evening sends me out to the front garden, where the camellias are beginning to flower. The weather has been showery and cold, but the wind has not yet burned the pink petals: there are enough good blooms for the vase … although it’s hard to hold the camera focus at close range.

Summer morning

laundry (02 January 2015)

laundry (02 January 2015)

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This summer morning …
a few honey-bees are drawn
to my lavender.

Sipping camomile
tea, I contemplate the lines
of drying laundry.


“After enlightenment, the laundry. It’s a Zen proverb,” writes Jen Zbozny in her blog piece titled After enlightenment, the laundry (24 January 2014).

Choisya ternata in flower

Choisya in flower (28 October 2014)

Choisya in flower (28 October 2014)

For more than a decade, I lived on the seventh floor of a city apartment building, so was delighted when (about two and a half years ago) I was able to move to a ground floor dwelling with its own courtyard and front garden. This Choisya ternata – in the garden to the right of the front entrance – is flowering beautifully, despite the rough treatment it received a few months ago, when roofers erected scaffolding. “Both the flowers and the leaves are fragrant and both have a delicate orange scent. When its not flowering the bush looks great with its lush glossy green leaves.” (Jocees Farm)

Spring sunshine

anemones (11 September 2014)

anemones (11 September 2014)

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There are anemones on my dining table, and vivid orange parrot tulips on the side table – testimony to my inability to choose between them when doing my shopping at Moore Wilson’s Fresh in Wellington on Tuesday. The lovely little green jug was made by Ross Mitchell-Anyon of Whanganui. Beside it, there’s a magnificent hand-built jug by Christine Thacker from a show at Avid a few years back (2007, perhaps).

On Daffodil Day

daffodils, Te Horo (15 August 2014)

daffodils, Te Horo (15 August 2014)

Today there are phony daffodils all over the place – because, as everyone in New Zealand must surely know, this is Daffodil Day.

“Daffodil Day is the Cancer Society’s annual flagship event,” says the homepage of the Cancer Society’s web-site, which regards Daffodil Day as “one of the most important fundraising and awareness campaigns in the country. As well as providing an opportunity to raise awareness of cancer in New Zealand, Daffodil Day is a major funding source for the Cancer Society. We are proud to be regarded as one of the country’s most trusted charities and this is reflected in our fundraising practices.”

In the past, I have been only too happy to donate to the Cancer Society, and to wear a plastic daffodil. I have fond memories of carrying bunches of cut flowers around the city and – on occasion – deriving pleasure from giving them away.

Today, though, I looked at daffodils in Moore Wilson Fresh but did not buy any. Nor did I poke a twenty into any collector’s tin.

The truth is I’m feeling exploited – by commerce in general, and by the Cancer Society’s principal sponsor in particular (even though I bank with the ANZ Bank).

I’m confident that the people of the Cancer Society are well-intentioned and honourable … but I’m sorry, I’m just not in the mood to wear a fake daffodil today.

So here’s a photo of some real daffodils clustered around a tree on the lawn of friends who live in Te Horo.