my life in the land down under


A Late Spring

Back in July I posted about the various trees on our section (Trees I Have Known), ending with a couple of photos of a flowering cherry – prunus amanogawa. At that time it was bare;  it flowered recently so I thought a follow-up post was in order.

Flowering cherry on a grey day a couple of weeks ago

Flowering cherry – a closer look

Cherry leaves (the tree is staked)

Blue skies and sunshine yesterday – no tuis so far



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Signs of Spring

There hasn’t been much time for updating the blog recently. In fact I was skiving off cooking dinner to write this! My workplace has been extra-busy and short-staffed over the past few weeks, so that has been taking a fair bit of my energy.

Things are looking up though – spring is on the way! We have recently had daffodils and strongly-scented earlicheer in the house, and now have freesias flowering so couldn’t resist picking a few for a vase. Some of the flowering cherries have also been in blossom (see photos below), though ours hasn’t passed the bud stage yet. A number of tuis were busy feeding as I was photographing the blossom but I didn’t have the time or the quick reflexes to capture them on camera – I did try.

The learning curve of photography, social media and life in general continues…

…I joined Pinterest and attempted to figure out how to use it (the reaction from the other member of the household was ‘oh no, not another time waster!!’). 😉
…visited the vintage camera section on TradeMe (our Ebay equivalent) for the first time in a while, and made two purchases – more on this at a later date.
…made a movie with my Nikon D7000 showing the faulty operation of one of the aforementioned cameras, edited it in iMovie, and uploaded it to You-tube for the seller to view. I have to acknowledge this was John’s suggestion and I couldn’t have done it without his help. He suggested I might make a You-tube star someday! 😀

This last week we have been busier than usual with social events.

…our camera club annual trophy competition – we didn’t have any entries in this year, but enjoyed the evening regardless; it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and also get to know some newer club members.
…a work colleague’s farewell dinner – we ate at a Mexican restaurant for possibly the first time (yum). Watching food programmes like MasterChef has given me an interest in trying different cuisines. Now we just need the time and money to visit all the local restaurants! 🙂
…two family birthdays and a dinner out to celebrate – Happy Birthday to Levi for last week and Bryce for yesterday.
…we found out a few days ago that my eldest nephew has just got engaged – congrats to Josh & Mandy!

Flowering Cherries #1

Flowering Cherries #2

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Trees I Have Known

As we were about to leave for Napier a few weeks ago, John let me know the council had arrived and were in the process of planting a tree. So at risk of annoying him (because we were already running late), I stopped packing for a few minutes, grabbed the camera and rushed outside to record the moment. I’m sure some of the people who turn up at our place must think, who is this crazy woman? In this case, why is she so excited about a tree?!

When we married almost seven years ago, we had mature camellias and rhododendrons flowering close to the house. Unfortunately they blocked a lot of light from the living area so when we cleaned up the section with intent to renovate, they were among the first to go, along with several citrus trees from around the back.

Camellia & Rhododendron

There was a Himalayan Cedar, aka Cedrus deodara, a huge tree worthy of its own post (see The Saga of the Cedar).

Our next-door neighbours had a small, prettily-shaped kowhai which we could see from our main bedroom. This was very attractive to tuis when it was in flower in the springtime; I loved hearing the birdsong as they enjoyed the nectar, and had to laugh when I saw one chasing other birds away so it could have the tree all to itself! Last year the neighbours chopped the tree down; I’m not sure why, maybe the dropped flowers made too much of a mess on an otherwise pristine section. I was disappointed enough to put a status update on Facebook (I don’t update very often).


Then there was the variegated pohutukawa. Planted on another corner of our section and effectively on council land, it was initially surrounded by other trees and shrubs. Council workers came to give the area a tidy-up and removed most of the other trees, leaving a tall and misshapen pohutukawa on its own. It gradually filled out and flowered and was looking good. Until it grew too close to the power lines; then it also was removed.

Variegated Pohutukawa in flower

Its been a while since we lost the other trees and we had almost forgotten the council’s promise of a replacement.  Until the arborists arrived…

And now we have a Prunus amanogawa. It’s a type of flowering cherry, otherwise known as ‘flagpole cherry’ or ‘lombard poplar cherry’. Results of a quick google search also indicated that the flowers are attractive to birds, including tuis.

I’m looking forward to spring this year. 🙂

Prunus amanogawa newly planted

Prunus amanogawa (flowering cherry) in bud