Join me for some of my favourite things and places.....
.... History, crafts, scenery and heaps of other stuff .......

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Conclusion of our Spring Expedition

Stopped here for a snack out of the sun

I was going to do two posts to conclude our tale of Our Spring Expedition but thought I would just put it in one post.
After admiring the tulips we went for a walk up the hill to check out the Herb Garden which is right up at the top and over looks most of the gardens.

It was a nice walk up the hill, most of it in the shade which was nice as we had been in the sun most of the day.
Salem was collecting small pine cones and other conifer cones to take home, probably to make some sort of art work or display.  We always take some plastic bags with us in case Salem finds some "treasures" that he wants to take home.

In the past I've had to be inventive to stop my backpack getting dirty from his treasures, making containers from leaflets, using my thermos for all sorts of bits and pieces.
It is easier to be prepared.

When we got up to the Herb Garden we were a bit disappointed as there wasn't much on display.  It would be better to visit there in a couple of months maybe.
The view was spectacular but I forgot to take a photo of it.  DUH!!!!!!!!

The Peace Flame Garden

So then we walked down the hill taking a route down through the bush.
Then it was a visit to the Peace Flame Garden which is next to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
This is a lovely peaceful water garden with a pond and waterfall.

The Peace Garden contains the preserved flame that came from fires created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
The flame was presented by the people of Japan to the people of New Zealand in recognition of our efforts to halt the spread of atomic weapons.

Wellington City and its citizens have been active in promoting peace, tolerance and understanding in our local community and the worldwide community.
Wellington became a Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone in on the 14th April 1982.
New Zealand as a country is a Nuclear Free Zone.

Ducklings following Mum and Dad

In this lovely peaceful garden, there were more ducklings and their busy parents.
They were delightful to watch.
We could have watched them for hours but it was time to head off to the Railway Station and make our way home.
I had a very tired and sleepy boy when we finally got home.
We had already planned our next trip in to Wellington...............

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Water Wars at the Joy Fountain

Surrounded by beautiful tulips and in the warm sunshine, the kids are all drawn to the Joy Fountain.
The Wellington Botanic Gardens has several fountains and this is a real favorite.

The fountain is of a boy and some birds.  The birds look like pigeons.  Around the sides of the pool are bronze frogs with water coming out of their mouths.
The kids, including Salem, were making the water from the frogs mouths spray everywhere and managed to cover quite a bit of distance.  They were aiming at each other.

Needless to say that the kids kept squirting each other, some were getting quite wet.
Salem got a bit soggy.  He enjoyed that.
I remember doing the same thing many, many moons ago.

I also spied him getting carried away with getting all the other kids to block off the other frogs mouths so that the pressure would build up in his frog so he would end up spraying people going by on the pathway.
Naughty boy!!!!

The Joy Fountain was unveiled in 1946.  It took 16 years to make. 
The cost to make the fountain had escalated from £120 up to £520.  
It was designed by Mr. Alex Fraser and it was originally made from Hinuera stone.

Over the years the soft stone of the fountain had deteriorated, so in 2009 it was remade with reconstituted marble.  The original frogs which have always been popular with generations of small and "big" children, were then recast in bronze. 

Only two more posts to go about our Spring Expedition ...........

Friday, September 28, 2012

Terrific Tulips

Now we come to our main reason for going on our Spring Expedition, The Tulips!!!!!!!

Absolutely Gorgeous!!!!!

It was such a beautiful day and the tulips looked stunning in the sun light.  I think half of Wellington City came along to look at the tulips today.  Mum and Dad's out with the kids, students with their cameras, tourists, couples, Nana and Grandad with the grandkids, all walks of life..... all enjoying the same thing.

Lots of people having picnics on the Sound Shell lawn.  We had our lunch there too.
Salem and I had a lovely time looking at all the tulips.  The Spring Festival doesn't start until the 30th September with Tulip Sunday on the opening day.

I am glad we didn't wait until then as the tulips had opened a couple of weeks early and I think they won't be looking as good for this weekend.  It must be hard getting the timing right for these events as all the spring flowers seem to be blooming earlier and earlier each year.  The seasons are really out of sync.

So this Sunday is Tulip Sunday and there will be lots of entertainment to welcome Spring to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.  Thousands of people will be there to enjoy the music, dancing, food and of course the flowers.

The Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown will be there and so will the Dutch Ambassador Arie van der Wiel.  They will be doing some speeches for the opening day.

Also on offer are guided walks, talks, storytelling, workshops, a visit from zoo critters, children’s activities and exclusive tours of other attractions in the area as part of the festival.

But Salem and I are quite content to just stroll around doing our own thing for now.  We will probably go to one or two activities over the school holidays which have just started today.

I found a nice place to sit down and have another cup of tea and I had a read of the newspaper.  It was lovely to just sit down and relax surrounded with such a beautiful sight.

It was also a good opportunity to let Salem go off to have a bit of an explore by himself in the surrounding trees and bushes.

He just loves to climb a good tree and he told me he made a bit of a fort up in the bushes.
Typical boy!!!!
I'm sure the gardeners wouldn't be too impressed but he only uses dead branches off the ground.

We will be going back there tomorrow hopefully as we have a few things to do in Wellington tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see if his fort is still intact.
He has been talking about it all week.

Here are some facts about the tulips at the Botanic Gardens:

They planted 25,000 tulips.

A warm, wet and mild winter has led to an early flourish for most of Wellington Botanic Garden's tulips.

Last year we had the big snow and the very cold temperatures meant the tulips were very late.  This year the warm wet winter has really got them growing.

The council's parks and reserves manager used to wander down to check out the tulips on a Monday and, after some studying, would duly pronounce: 'We will have Tulip Sunday this week'.
They can now no longer do this as it is now such a big event and needs a lot of planing.

This has been the second year that the tulips haven't bloomed on time.

We didn't get to see them last year unfortunately but this display absolutely made up for missing them last year.

Tulips originate from vast areas with mild climates and need a period of cold dormancy.

They do better in temperate climates with long cool spring and early summer, but they also are frequently produced as many spring flowering annual plantings in temperate areas.

It will be interesting to see how the beautiful tulips have fared since our visit last week. 
The weather this week has been quite mild, some rain but no big gusty windy days to blow all the petals off.
I just love Spring!!!!!

We will hopefully be checking out the gardens at the Hobson Street Park this weekend among other things but I still haven't finished with telling you about this expedition yet.  I think there are about three more installments.  We try to fit as much as we can in one day when we go into Wellington.

So more tomorrow.......

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Begonia House

Next stop on our Spring Expedition is the Begonia House at the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
This is a giant greenhouse which has both a tropical display and the temperate display.

We were only able to visit the temperate part of the Begonia House as the tropical part is closed off due to the earthquake strengthening work taking place.  It was a pity as there is a big fish pond with masses of fish in.

In past visits we were able to feed the fish which is just so much fun.
But we were quite content with having a wander around the temperate displays and admiring the beautiful and brilliantly colourful flowers.

Salem couldn't get over the fact that most of the plants were in pots.  He thought that was great because he has all of his plants in pots at home on our deck so that the chickens don't get at them.  We only have hardy plants and vegetables in the garden that the chickens don't destroy.

Because these plants are in pots, it means that they can change the displays as needed, no digging up.
They also have a great hanging basket collection but I for some reason didn't take any photos of them.

I think I do get a bit carried away with taking photos of flowers etc.  That is the joy of a digital camera.
With the old film cameras you have to be a bit more picky with what you photograph as you are limited to how many you can get on the film.  I do love the quality of real film.

Anyway, the Begonia House's temperate area has seasonal displays that contain tuberous begonias (well, it is the "Begonia House") and gesneriads during the summer.

And during winter, there are displays of primula, cyclamen, cymbidium orchids and impatiens.
So there is always something gorgeous to look at.

Salem was so impressed with the banana tree and wished he could pick some of the banans.
He would also love to grow some banana trees as well.  They couldn't like our place as we get some wicked frosts.  But people do grow them out here in Kapiti.

More tomorrow.... we will be visiting the tulip beds.
You are in for a treat!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lady Norwood Rose Garden - Poppies, Ducks and Ducklings

Salem admiring the poppies

We are now in the Wellington Botanical Gardens and visiting the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens.  We were amazed that the poppies were still blooming.  Last time we saw them was when Salem was in Cinderella with the Royal New Zealand Ballet which was in August.  So that means they have been flowering for two months.  They still looked fabulous!!!!

Mother Duck and her babies

We sat down for a bit and had a cup of tea and a biscuit and had a pleasant surprise.  Instead of roses in the rose beds, there was a mother duck with her little ducklings.  They were sooooo cute.  They were wandering about and poor mum was making sure they didn't stray.  Then they all got tired and had a sleep.

The fountain and ducks

There were a lot of ducks around as usual, some having a swim in the fountain.  The little duckings go for a swim there too and the lovely gardeners have put a ramp in the fountain's pondy bit for the ducklings to get out of the water easily.

It was lovely to see the ducks in the rose beds as there are no roses at this time of year.  The best time to see the roses is from November until May when everything is in full bloom.

The ducks were pretty laid back and let me get up close to them to take photos.  I think they were just lazing in the sun and just couldn't be bothered to waddle away.

But we waddled off and continued on our way....... more tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boulton Street Memorial Park - Upper Trail

We are continuing from where we left off from yesterdays post.
Going up the steep pathway on the upper trail is a lovely display of spring flowers mingling on and surround the grave stones.  The perfume follows us as we walk.

It is really a beautiful day and we are surrounded by beautiful scenery.  Even with the motorway right next to us, you forget that it is even there.  We don't even hear the cars driving by.

In this cemetery only 1334 of the gravestones are still visible since having the motorway built and due to old age.  Also some of the oldest graves were just simple wooden markers used mainly by the poorest settlers.  Later, even cast iron was used as markers.

This grave is in the Jewish part of the cemetery.  It is planted with lovely blue flowers with a rosemary bush in the middle.
It is situated on the edge of the Hort Lawn which is part of the Jewish Cemetery and was still vacant when the cemetery was closed in 1892.

Less than half of the 1334 gravestones are in their original positions.  You can easily recognise the reinstated gravestones as they are grouped close together and are without fences or bases.

It will be nice to come back later when all the roses are in bloom as the cemetery has a large collection of heritage roses which are of national significance.

This memorial was dedicated to Henry Edmund Holland who was a New Zealand politician and unionist. He was the first leader of the New Zealand Labour Party

He was also one of the founding members, although his opinions about the direction of the party were not the same as some of the party's other leaders. Holland had believed that the Labour Party would lay the foundations for socialism.  More moderate members of the party simply wanted to improve the wages and conditions of workers.

Henry "Harry" Holland

During the Great Depression, he believed that it marked the beginning of the end for capitalism.  But the economic problems continued with many workers cast into poverty, he then began to question whether his theories were capable of solving this crisis. Holland started to suffer from depression, exhaustion, and ill health, and began to withdraw from the activities of leadership.

In 1933 he died suddenly of a heart attack at the funeral of  Te Rata Mahuta.  He was given a State Funeral and was succeeded by the more moderate Michael Joseph Savage who lead the Labour Party to victory in the 1935 elections.

It's great exploring the old gravestones and seeing Wellington's history.  Looking closer, they all have stories to tell.

For example, this one pictured above, is in the memory of William Heighton who was in the New Zealand Torpedo Corps and died in an accidental explosion at Shelly Bay here in Wellington.

And Henry Gardiner and his wife Lucy.  They must have met and married over her in New Zealand as they had arrived on different ships and years.  He arrived on the H.M. Survey Ship Acheron in 1947, and Lucy arrived in 1841 on the Lady Nugent.

Tune in tomorrow for another installment of our Spring Expedition...........