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The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, (Tra La)

19 October 2006

With an upgraded camera more geared for closeup work, I headed down to the walkway this morning with Alice to see what was there.

First up was subtle - tiny red-orange-green akeake flowers that almost disappeared in the foliage.

This one was green, but further down the track, red akeake was the favourite. These are seeds. In the green akeake they are as green as they are red here.

Unquestionably at the moment the feature flower is the whau. There is a sizeable shrub at the northern end of the track, near the shelter, and many smaller ones along the way.

The flowers are lush and creamy white in big clusters

As they die off they form small spiky seedheads which grow rapidly and turn brown, the only native New Zealand plant with seeds like this.

The wood of the whau is the lightest in the world, lighter even than the balsa I used to make model aeroplanes out of years ago.

Manuka is out in full bloom

Manuka and kanuka look very alike. The key is that kanuka flowers are smaller and in thickly packed clusters, and are at their peak around Christmas. Kanuka leaves are softer and a little smaller than manuka, slightly creamier, and kanuka is almost totally resistant to the black fungus that colours the trunk and branches of much of the local manuka. Around Christmas, a walk near any concentration of kanuka in any kind of breeze will have you covered in a snowy mantle of petals.

There are still a couple of flowers left on the kakabeak that Miranda captured in its full glory about 6 weeks back.

Showing just a tentative flower here and there are a number of korokio which I suspect are hybrids


Small hebes, many of these hybrids as well, line the path, particularly at the northern end. This one had some visitors as I discovered when I got home and downloaded the morning's shots. (This photo is highly enlarged. the ants are normal size.)

However, the most spectacular sight for me was right down the southern end of the track, a young cabbage tree in bloom

Karamu is another that flowers extremely quietly. Here you can see on the same spray, the flowers and the green berries they will turn into over the next few weeks.

And we round the corner to where Helensville's favourite photo subject lies waiting for us.

I grab Alice's lead which she has been trailing behind her as I stop to commune with flowers, and we head out onto the footpath and back through town.




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