Christchurch Botanic Gardens - Spring

I've just paid a mid-spring visit to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens - firstly to rudely seek out dramatic scenes of plant and tree destruction after last week's spring snow storm, and secondly to take photographs of the Magnolias, the Azaleas, and assorted mid-spring things.

 What beautiful flowers they are!
Magnolia Flowers

Magnolia Magic

Second things first. In the Moosey garden I don't have any large Magnolia trees. Those in the Botanic Gardens are very old, stuck in contortionist's poses with grey twisted limbs. Magnolias have the most beautiful tree-flowers I've ever seen, and I really should get more for my own garden - before I am as very old and grey as the real things! I have one Magnolia Stellata and one juvenile Magnolia Grandiflora which is nether 'grand' nor 'flora' as yet!

 The juxtaposition of the small and the not-so-small...
Rock Garden

A Great Rock Garden

The Azaleas in the rock garden were in full flower - bright purples, shocking pinks, cerises and magentas - all the hard-to-miss, in-your-face colours. A rock garden which houses such unsubtle inmates must be on a grand scale - otherwise the Potentillas and tiny wild Primroses would be overpowered.

The Botanic Gardens Rock Garden does just this - it is a successful blend of big, wild colours and delicate treasures. It has quiet, gravel paths, lots of little labels (necessary evils for visiting, enquiring gardener-minds) - and great rocks, too!

Garden Clean-Up

As a country gardener, I fully accept the noise of the chainsaw in the garden soundscape. So the tree-men busy at work sawing broken tree branches didn't bother me. Several large trees had been felled by the weight of the snow.

The morning-after mess was apparent in the New Zealand Native area - Pittosporums and Brachyglottis branches, bent and broken. Poor trees, and poor shrubs - looking even scruffier than usual! It was sad to see, and I was ashamed to have arrived as a garden-disaster voyeur. I did not allow myself to take any documentary pictures of the damage...

One gets a totally different impression walking around the Botanic Gardens at different times of the gardening year. My mid-spring visit for 2005 was full of new growth and fresh promise. The pond plantings were stirring - fresh green Gunnera leaves partially unfolded, variegated irises squashed and spiky, reeds and grasses clumped and tidy - and just a few early ducklings.

 One of the many Magnolia trees is in full bloom.
Springtime in the Border

Millions of Trilliums

Under the Magnolias I saw carpets of white and wine-red Trilliums - so many, with flowers opening skywards - what an enchanting spring groundcover! Half grown Hosta hedges edged the paths, while blossom (not snow - that was last week) tumbled out of the sky above. Lovely, a garden with a host of New Season's Resolutions...

 The river Avon, gently flowing through the gardens.
Springtime from the Bridge

Wondering About the Wheelbarrows...

I'm puzzled by the official gardeners' wheelbarrows, though. There they were, positioned under trees and on pathway corners - seeming to be exactly where I'd seen them last autumn. My walking companion tried to discourage me photographing them by gracelessly lunging into every wheelbarrow-shot. But I got one - see below! Genuine working gardeners are naturally nosy about what others cart around - and every wheel-barrow is subtley different...

 Hmm...what is in here?
Spring Gardeners Wheelbarrow


The Moosey Botanic Wheelbarrow Photographs, Series One, is ready for a keen publisher - anyone interested?