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Posts Tagged ‘Tree Love’

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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This isn’t the first cabbage tree I’ve shown on Thursday Tree Love day, but they are ubiquitous in New Zealand, so this won’t be the last! The other day my husband and I were taking a walk around the harbour. I had finally remembered to take my camera, so was enjoying the atmospheric changes as the fog drifted in and out, as it had all week.

Looking away from the shore, the waves and the rocks, and up into the valleys, I caught this group of three cabbage trees, the most distant disappearing into the mist. It’s such a typical New Zealand view, I knew I had to share it.

P1140023 cabbage tree

As the cabbage tree or Ti Kouka is probably foreign to you, I thought I’d share some interesting facts from its Department of Conservation page:

  • The trunk of the cabbage tree is so fire-resistant that early European settlers used it to make chimneys for their huts. Conveniently, too, the leaves made fine kindling. They also brewed beer from the root.
  • Cabbage trees are one of the most widely cultivated New Zealand natives and are very popular in Europe, Britain and the US. In the UK they are known as Torquay palm.
  • Cabbage trees are good colonising species, growing happily on bare ground or exposed places.
  • Their strong root system helps stop soil erosion on steep slopes and because they tolerate wet soil, they are a useful species for planting along stream banks.
  • Māori used cabbage trees as a food, fibre and medicine. The root, stem and top are all edible, a good source of starch and sugar. The fibre is separated by long cooking or by breaking up before cooking.
  • The leaves were woven into baskets, sandals, rope, rain capes and other items and were also made into tea to cure diarrhoea and dysentery.
  • Cabbage trees were also planted to mark trails, boundaries, urupā (cemeteries) and births, since they are generally long-lived.

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

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When we were in Japan, my Thai AFS sister (who now lives in Japan) and her husband took us on a day trip to Gunma Prefecture, and Lake Haruna. There, we saw the only cherry blossom in flower of our trip! We were there in May, so we had not expected to see many, if any, but I had been hopeful. Lake Haruna is a caldera lake, near the summit of Mount Haruna, and so the blossoms there were later than down at sea level.

It was quite lovely.

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

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