It’s strange that we are already past the vernal equinox, and yet we have had very little of the warm weather that the meteorologists have been promising. Mary and I have taken several opportunities in recent weeks to drive into the Horowhenua or the Manawatu whenever the weather has been even halfway decent.
This first image is of flowering cherry blossoms in the Featherston area. When this image was made, the nearby memorial garden was reluctant to burst into bloom, so I asked a friend who is resident in Greytown to report on progress over the next week or two.
On this day, we we drove up through the Wairarapa, seeing more and more signs of spring. A little block a bit North of Masterton was just a delight. As well as the profusion of daffodils and kowhai, there was a rabbit lurking in this picture. You might need to click to see it in the big picture.
Since the closure of the Manawatu Gorge, the Pahiatua Track is one of only two roads that cross from the Wairarapa to the Manawatu. It’s an interesting road that traverses the Tararuas in among the huge wind turbines. On this first trip, I somehow missed the entrance to North Range Rd which allows the public a view of some of the many turbines along the Northern end of the range. Never mind. We ended up in Palmerston North where we enjoyed our picnic lunch beside Hokowhitu lagoon. From there we headed South on SH57 towards Levin. However, we got stopped by the glimpse of flowers in the grounds of Massey University. The flowering cherries were in glorious display.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the spectacle. There were lots of tui gathering the nectar and singing their hearts out. Such a shame that the Sakura season is so very short.
Spring is diverse nevertheless, and the next week, after prolonged rain, I wandered the Eastern side of Lower Hutt where I encountered mother duck guiding her brood across the road. It was quite funny watching the ducklings each taking their turn to breast up to the kerb and take several attempts to do a standing jump up onto the berm.
When the bad weather persists I turn to the late Sir Charles Norwood. He was founder of Dominion Motors, founder of the Wellington Free Ambulance, and the donor of the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens among other things. The Lady Norwood gardens include the rose gardens and the hothouses at the botanic gardens. Among the many varieties of begonias and orchids on display, there are some lovely water lilies.
The orchids in the hothouses are each lovely in their own right, though they are often difficult to frame as an image with any artistic merit. I am reluctant to do any significant manipulation with Photoshop or similar, so am quite happy with this shot.
A damp drizzly day in Breaker Bay and I was rewarded with this lovely blue shrub, Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans). The jewellery added by the soft rain lifts the picture substantially.
Ika Rere (flying fish) is claimed as the first all electric ferry in the Southern hemisphere. I hate that statistic. It usually means they checked Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Sydney Melbourne and perhaps Perth. We take it for granted that there is nothing worth checking in Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Montevideo or Sāo Paulo. Anyway, it is a pioneering vessel, and has entered the Days Bay ferry service. Unfortunately, it suffered an embarrassment when it ran out of power in the middle of the harbour, and had to be rescued by the police launch.
Tulips are a favourite for me, so I was delighted to encounter a wonderful crop of them at Mangaroa Farms in Whiteman’s valley. My first encounter was on a misty day with clouds of rain drifting across in the background.
A week later the weather dried out, so with permission from the farm owner, Mary and I revisited the farm and got a bit closer. I really liked being close to the flowers without the crowds of people you encounter in Wellington’s Botanic Garden.
I love the dark varieties when it comes to Tulips. Sadly they were few in number.
I have been getting up to date with my photo annuals. Each book is about 100 pages. and each page is fully covered with images. When you take into account the various image formats, that means about 120 images per book. I have books from 2011 to 2021. The company that produces them does a good job, though not cheap. One copy is typically NZ$60. Subsequent copies are inexplicably twice the price, So each of my books is the only copy.
Heading North on SH2 out of the Hutt Valley, I am always impressed by the view of the South wall of the Tararuas. Unfortunately, like many of the best views in the region, there is no place where you can legally park. Fortunately, Mary was driving.
Back in the memorial garden in Featherston, this time, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Various people were making images there, including a long time friend from the days of the now defunct Hutt Camera Club.
Honey bees provided the sound track , though I caught none of them in this image. Nevertheless. I thought the blossoms made a nice image.
We went up over the Pahiatua Track again, and this time, I remembered to follow North Range Rd along the ridge. There are a number of different wind farms clustered along the Range. Some are quite old, perhaps charcterized by two-bladed turbines, while others are bigger, brighter, newer and have three bladed turbines. I think they are amazing devices.
That’s it till next time.