January 03, 2012 … hidden gems

I love to look at other people’s gardens, though I am not, by nature, kindly disposed towards the concept of gardening. More specifically, I am averse to the work necessary to produce them. Mary is more horticulturally inclined, but the nature of her work does not leave her with as much time as she might like to spend in a garden. Thus, our house tends to be surrounded by low maintenance pebbles, grasses, trees and flaxes.

Ah, flaxes! It’s that time of year when flax is in full bloom. I think of them as a tavern for tuis … a place where these sometimes musical, often raucous birds can drop in on the way home from work for a quick drink before heading back to the nest for babysitting duty. We have a good variety of flaxes around the house, and at this time of year, they are just at the peak of their flowering season. This tends to make our garden “Tui Central”.

New Zealand’s native birds are, for the most part, not very colourful, some might even say, drab. It’s as if they anticipated the adoption of black as the national colour. At first glance, it looks as if the tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelaniae) is a slavish follower of that national obsession, despite the absurd white ruff at its throat which led to the early settlers naming it the “Parson bird”. But on close inspection, the tui is not black and white at all. When it sits still for long enough, you can see that it is a shiny luminous dark blue-green, with a brown patch across the saddle, and some grey behind its neck. In the flax flowering season, it is further decorated with a bright orange patch above its beak where it has promiscuously acquired the pollens of a myriad nectar producing flowers.   And that brings me to the focal point of today’s image. One of the ornamental flaxes (I think it is Phormium cookianum  – Black Adder) has nearly black leaves, beautiful deep coloured flowers, and nestled within each blossom, a liquid pool of nectar.

Mary was in the garden, and the sun glinting on the liquid diamonds  caught her eye. When she pointed them out, I thought there might be an image there.  A blustery wind was bouncing the stems around quite vigorously.   Though I tried to achieve a good depth of field, the need for a reasonable shutter speed prevented a complete solution. I try to avoid the use of flash. Yes, I know the anthers are not in focus, but I was aiming to focus on the nectar. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Alternative story

Of course not everyone is interested in flowers or birds, so a bonus alternative image today depicts a Southerly front advancing up the harbour from Wellington towards Petone beach. That’s Matiu/Somes in the middle, and the Korokoro stream at the Western end of Petone Beach in the foreground.

I felt sorry for the passengers of two cruise liners berthed at the port, somewhere just behind that cloud.  Chandris Lines’  70,000 tonne “Century” carries 1,778 passengers, while Saga Cruise’s comparatively tiny Maltese registered “Spirit of Adventure”, at a mere 9,400 tonnes has just 352 pax.

The day had started well enough though mostly overcast, and it suddenly turned vicious in the afternoon.  Oh well, I guess most of them had already explored whatever shops were smart enough to be open on this statutory holiday.   On to the next port.

(… and so are we … the next few days focus on a wedding in Methven and a trip to Queenstown. Who knows what opportunities may arise?  However the timing of my posts may get erratic. Thanks for all the positive feedback.)


By wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures.

This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.

5 replies on “January 03, 2012 … hidden gems”

I think the flaxes replaced the playground of 5 children – I recall one particular incident involving a middle brother in a superman cape jumping from garage roof into tree below and for his efforts wearing a pretty sporty looking leg cast for the next 6 weeks! Welcome back Dad. x

That’s one of my favourite spots along the Petone foreshore. I may be wrong Brian, but surely that is the Miramar peninsula, isn’t it? From that angle I think that Somes/Matiu would be off shot to the left?


On second thoughts, with a wide angle lens I could be wrong and I think I am. I believe I can see the Mirimar peninsula peeping through the cloud.

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