Spring arrives in New Zealand on September 1 (forget all that solstice stuff, they do things by the calender here!) so in celebration of the official arrival of the second season I’m experiencing in Middle Earth, I went to the Auckland Botanical Gardens. Beautiful grounds and a lot of interesting exhibits on native plants.
There was also an African garden, which made me wonder: why is it, whether in zoos or gardens or amusement parks, whenever anyone does something with an African theme they feel inclined to include fake termite mounds?
Afterward I headed up One Tree Hill (yes, just like the U2 song), which was, from the 13th to 18th centuries, the largest pa, or Maori fortress, in the country (which I guess also makes it the largest pa in the world). While you can still see some of the terracing left behind from its days as a pa, the volcanic remnant (with three craters!) is now just a park, a lookout and, apparently, a maternity ward. There were ewes everywhere, some extremely pregnant and some with one or two delicious kebabs I mean, lambs, trotting behind them.
There is no tree on One Tree Hill, by the way. There was a sacred native tree that got chopped down and replaced with a European tree, which got chopped down, as did its replacement. Finally they stuck a big monument on top of the hill (“There, try chopping down that!” I can imagine them saying).
Here are some springy pix for you. Enjoy.
A sculpture at the botanical gardens that I particularly liked… It looks to me like the big gal is about to jump into water for the start of her triathlon. I’m jus’ sayin’; Icelandic poppies; aloe plant shot from above; a native fern unfurling; more flowery things; Karl at One Tree Hill; a delicious little lamb; a view of both two of the crater rims and manmade terraces on One Tree Hill.