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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Rimu

The rimu tree is a favourite native New Zealand tree that is found in all three main islands, especially on the lovely West Coast of the South Island, in the extensive podocarp forests they have there. (It’s one of the reasons I love that drive so much.) Rimu is an evergreen, coniferous tree, with tiny, soft leaves from pliable stems that droop and flow, and make it quite easy to identify them. It is slow-growing, living to 800-900 years, and can grow to 50 metres tall. Not far from my house, in a suburban nature reserve, there is an 800-year-old tree which I must try to photograph for you some time. Its Latin name is Dacrydium cupressinum.

It isn’t uncommon to see rimu in gardens on my walk. I’ll show them another day (I’m hoarding my tree photos for these posts!), but this relatively small example was in the Kaitoke Regional Park, where we walked a few weeks ago. There were plenty of other much taller and older rimu trees there in the bush (our common name for a native forest), but they were crowded amongst other tall trees, making it hard to distinguish them.

Rimu produces a beautiful golden wood and was often used for house construction, furniture and joinery. As a result of overuse, logging in public forests is now prohibited, though private forests still provide wood to furniture makers. Consequently, recycled timber is in high demand, both for flooring, and for other turned/carved wood products. It is commonly found in older houses; my house was built in the 1970s, and it was used for ceilings/floors, and stairs. When we renovated our bathroom, we stripped off a vinyl floor covering, and polished the floor to bring out the beautiful wood, and the rimu ceilings add a warm glow to our rooms.

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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I’ve shown Ti Kouka or cabbage trees before. Quite recently in fact. But I find in my “Trees” photo file there are a lot of cabbage trees, especially ones snapped recently. I could, of course, eke these out, providing material for four different Thursday Tree posts, rather than one. But today I’m combining them all. There are always more cabbage trees in different lights for future posts. I love their sculptural, spiky, shapes. I love them crystal clear against bright blue winter skies. I love their glow with the low winter light coming through their leaves. And I love the shadows they create. I hope you do too.

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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The light is waking me earlier. It stays later. It’s still only August, which in the south is often the coldest time of the year – or at least, it was in the 1970s and 80s – but is not here. Here, in the south of the north, we don’t have lambs reminding us that winter will end and summer is coming, as I had every year as I was a child. But we do have the trees. I’ve only seen one kowhai in flower so far. They will come.

But the magnolias? They’re out in force, in my neighbourhood, in my father-in-law’s old neighbourhood and on the way to his new retirement home only five minutes from us, and next to the place where we park our car when we were visiting him in hospital (see below). Their colours make me smile after months of unrelenting green. Most are pink, some are white, one – which I might photograph for another tree week – is a gorgeous deep plum colour.

Other trees, such as this one, is still firmly in winter mode. I actually think I like it better in winter – its nicely pruned shape, and its stark white branches. I’ve often meant to use it for a regular tree post, so I’m sneaking it in here. (Besides, I haven’t done a tree post since June, so the least I can do now is include two!)

Our oak tree is starting to form buds, so it might soon be time to change my blog header (which shows its last leaf). But it would be easy to miss these signs in Wellington, a city that is firmly enveloped in evergreen trees and ferns, and where we have to make an effort to notice the changing of the seasons. In some ways, that makes me appreciate them even more.

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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