Wednesday, October 3, 2007
New beginnings ...
New growth and the flowers on the Judus Tree ( Cercis siliquastrum), in the Hamilton Gardens this week. I love the way the light shines through the new heart-shaped foliage. This small tree flowers before the new leaves appear, heralding the change of season. The pea - like flowers appear on the stems, followed by flatterned pods. An exotic tree that is grown widely in New Zealand, sometimes used as street trees. The autumn colour is yellow, not that great really, but this multi-stemmed tree is popular here.
The Kowhai (Sophora tetraptera) are in full bloom everywhere at the moment - such a joyous sight ! It produces alot of nectar with the small waxeyes forever jostling for space on the twiggy branches. This NZ native tree used to grow along the river banks and for old Maori it was another signal to plant kumera or sweet potato. Here in the city, with the Waikato river running through the middle, we have begun planting these trees again, hopefully the birds will be drawn back with this food supply provided.
Zoom in and have a close look at the flowers, they are bright yellow with all the petals pointing forward, a yellow dye can be made from the petals.
All parts of the Kowhai were used by ancient Maori as medicine, infused bark was drunk for internal ailments, cuts, bruises and swellings. Boiled and crushed bark was used for sprains, broken limbs and cuts.
Isn`t this gorgeous ? There is something about new growth on a tree that really touches me deeply, I can`t explain why.. maybe its the sign of new life, the colour is always stunning, so fresh and vibrant - I am a sucker for leaves, no matter what time really, although spring and autumn would have to be my favourite times of the year. I could never live in a climate that did not have the definate 4 seasons - do I hear a Crowded House song coming on ?? This young Fig tree (Ficus carica) is growing happily in the sustainable garden here at the Hamilton Gardens http://www.hamiltongardens.co.nz/ and I couldn`t resist taking a photo - I mean, how beautiful is this ? My children always tease me about my photo albums and the lack of human pictures there are in them !!