Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Garden Pretties ..

This NZ bush scene is . . . . from the loo window in the very nice new toilets at the Hamilton Gardens - it must seem, to those that follow this blog, that I visit no where else in my lovely city or country - not true, but I do work at the Wintec Hort campus which is sited within the Gardens, hence many pics !!
After my friend Cally and I had lunch at the Garden cafe yesterday, we went for a walk through the Te Parapara Maori garden as Cally had not seen it completed. Her observant eyes saw these clever flax flowers woven by someone through the garden, all still connected to the leaves and plant - really cool idea we thought ! NZ flax Phormium tenax grows everywhere in this country, had many uses for Maori, including clothing,baskets, utensils, medicine,walls in the wharenui, roofing material and dried flower stems burn well. Before collecting the flax leaves or blades, always by women, there was a strict ritual to follow, never were the plants destroyed or damaged in any way while collecting, the old Maori knew their lives depended on this hardy plant. Many people learn how to weave with this plant even today - hence the flax flowers . .
The beautifully lobed bright green above, silver below leaves of the Paper Mulberry Broussonetia papyrifera known as Aute by Maori, was brought to Aotearoa by the first Polynesians. It was used to make cloth from the inner bark, known as Tapa in other Pacific islands, it didn`t grown well here as our winters were to cold. It is a glorious tropical plant with amazing textured leaves, some with lobes , others shaped quite differently. Not sure how it will do in our frosty winters.
In the walled vegetable garden at the H Gardens there are 4 large beds and gardens down each side, planted with many different veges, boarded with different annuals including these sunflowers. I managed to get this bumble bee to sit still for a moment. If you can get to the Hamilton Gardens you really should, they are looking incredible ! The gardeners work so very hard to keep this jewel in our city`s crown an absolute work of art - any time of the year it is a stunning picture . . .I am forever grateful that early city forefathers had the insight to carve this paradise out of what was amongst other things, the dump !


Cally said...

ah - so it was mulberry - thanks :)

L. D. Burgus said...

It is a pretty picture. Thanks for sharing you outing with the great pictures.

Marilyn said...

I always love seeing your photos of the Hamilton gardens and the information you give about the plants or the Gardens themselves it great.

Comfrey Cottages said...

I will never tire of pictures of Hamilton Gardens:) How lovely you work right there, where you can enjoy it! I love to hear about the ethno botanical uses of plants! Delighted to learn more about NZ flax and the paper mulberry! Thank you for sharing Marcia! Glad the little bumblebee held still long enough for the gorgeous pictures xx

juliet said...

Nice walk through the gardens with you; thanks.