These three images are selected from a number of shots I took in January 2008 but never bothered to do anything with. Now – eight years later – the neglect seems unwarranted.
The historic St John’s in the City (Presbyterian) stands on the intersection of Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington. Registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category I heritage building, it was designed by Thomas Turnbull, and opened on 11 December 1885 (go to Wikipedia link).
Lancewood, or horoeka, is a unique, small tree with lance-like foliage that changes dramatically as the tree matures. In fact, young trees are so different from adults that early botanists believed they were different species.
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.
Between January and April 2015, Bond Street [in Wellington, New Zealand] was transformed with temporary changes to the way the street looked and was used to bring colour and energy to the area.
Bond Street is an important street for servicing local businesses, we wanted to make it a destination for pedestrians as well. To explore ways of making it work for both people on foot and businesses, temporary changes were made to the layout and use of the street before looking at possible long-term changes.
To catch people’s attention and bring vibrancy to the street, two outdoor seating areas and an artificial lawn area were installed. The road surface was painted with a bright red pattern and a shipping container was located on the site to host events. Urban designers call this type of project ‘Tactical Urbanism’ and there are many successful examples of these projects internationally and locally.
Choisya ternata – Mexican orange or mock orange (28 October 2014)
. A spring afternoon.
Gardening: reason enough
not to write haiku.
(10 October 2015)
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.
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.
The Japanese term “kaizen” translates loosely as improvement or change for the better, according to the web-site of Leclair Ryan, an American firm of legal advisors. In Porirua, however, Kaizen is the café at Pataka Art + Museum.
After visiting my father at Kemp Home, Titahi Bay (21 May 2015), I met my sister for lunch at the Kaizen. The beautiful Japanese garden adjoining the café added to our experience as we ate the best spanakopita we’ve tasted in a long time … and the coffee was great!
Incidentally, kai refers to food in the Māori language, and a pataka is a place to store treasures.
Pataka houses a fine collection of sculptures, including one of Michel Tuffery’s tin-can bulls (image below).
Outside the entrance, and elsewhere in the vicinity, heaps of white sandbags – needed after mass rainfall on 14 May resulted in extensive flooding in the area. (My camera could not resist.)
Whilst the arrangement of the items in this photograph (taken today in Cuba Street, Wellington) has little or nothing to do with Japanese art, my ‘seeing’ was certainly influenced by it.
The Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh used the term Japonaiserie to express the influence of Japanese art.
In a letter to Theo, his younger brother, Vincent wrote: “One of [Jules] De Goncourt’s sayings was ‘Japonaiserie for ever’. Well, these docks [at Arnhem] are one huge Japonaiserie, fantastic, singular, strange … I mean, the figures there are always in motion, one sees them in the most peculiar settings, everything fantastic, and interesting contrasts keep appearing of their own accord.”
“The West moistens everything with meaning like an authoritarian religion which imposes baptism on entire peoples.” (Roland Barthes, in Empire of Signs)
Today on |cross-ties| – the blog of “the other” – there’s an image of a fallen nīkau frond “from one of the palms in a paved area on the corner of Victoria and Manners Streets.” Having published the post, it occurred to me that there were, in my folder of unpublished images, one or two that might have been suitable for inclusion in that post.
Looking again, the older picture (taken at the same spot) seemed to prefer its own space.
“The nīkau (Rhopalostylis sapida) is a palm tree endemic to New Zealand, and the only palm native to New Zealand” (Wikipedia).