Business issues took me to the upper valley yesterday.
Rather than going straight home, I went first to the Plateau a little to the North of Upper Hutt. Though some images were made there, nothing really ignited the creative flame for me, so I went round the back road to the Mangaroa Valley and from there South into Whiteman’s Valley. Both of these valleys are home to a mixture of small farms and so-called “lifestyle blocks”. Since they are not on the road to anywhere they are quiet places with lots of greenery and steep wooded hills to East and West. Here in the Southern hemisphere, spring is well and truly with us in everything but weather. Bouncing lambs and lots of flowering trees tell us it is so.
To the North end of the Valley, the great South Wall of the Tararua ranges dominates. Some late snow chills the view and makes the peaks more impressive than their benign summer face. I am not absolutely certain but I think the passing birds are masked lapwings (formerly spur-winged plovers) .
As I drove across a creek in the valley, I was a bit shocked to see an infestation of “Old Man’s Beard” (Clematis vitalba) choking up the less aggressive foliage. In the 1980s, famed botanist David Bellamy was the front man for a nation-wide campaign with the catch-phrase “Old man’s Beard must go”. Clearly the message has been forgotten, and though this member of the clematis family is beautiful when in flower, it is an invasive pest plant. In this picture the seeds look a lot like cotton balls.
It is part of the picturesque charm of these valleys that generations of farmers have planted daffodil bulbs along the roadside and occasionally in random patches on the farm. At this time of year, their golden trumpets nod and bow in a lively dance as the spring breezes blow.
More tomorrow, I hope.