Saturday, December 20, 2014


One of the first things we noticed on our arrival to New Zealand is all the many different kinds of trees, shrubs, vines and flowers we encountered. There are so many shades and textures of GREEN beyond anything I've ever experienced. Anyone who knows me all will know I have an absolute passion for trees and flowers. I couldn't even consider buying a new home when we came to Boise four years ago simply because they had no mature trees in the yard. Many times during our search for just the right place, my sweet husband would bring up an image on the Internet of a great house well within our budget, calling me excitedly to show off a perfect kitchen or a wonderful location. Each time I would respond the same: "Does it have trees?" No trees mature was an absolute deal breaker for me.

That's why I held out for the place we have now - a modest late 70's ranch. Our home absolutely meets our needs, but is nothing fancy or special, so far as the house itself is concerned.  But the yard was exactly what I wanted, a true sanctuary of trees, stone walkways, and lush flowerbeds which sooth my soul.

Granted, we have taken out a few trees (several VERY tall pine trees, a locust tree and a couple of fringe trees) to open things up a bit, but we still enjoy lots of shade, privacy, and shifting color with the seasons, which matters to me a lot.

So you can imagine my delight as we have begun to explore our surroundings here.  The abundance of trees and flowers everywhere is truly stunning.  It rains A LOT, which can at times be a bit dreary.  But the payoff of all that precipitation is lush green woodlands and plants that would not grow otherwise.

On a recent walk to Lake Pupuke I was enchanted by this gorgeous j
acaranda tree with an abundance of blue/purple flowers.  The smell is truly heavenly!

Native to Bolivia and Argentina, the Jacaranda Tree is planted worldwide for its beautiful flowers. 

Another tree we see a lot of is the Pohutakawa tree, which has lovely red blooms that come out in late December, making it known as the "New Zealand Christmas Tree"

(we took these photos along Takapuna beach after our arrival).

Another favorite is the Norfolk Island Pine.  These  trees can grow "to a height of 60 metres (200 feet), with a trunk sometimes reaching 3 metres (10 feet) in diameter" (Encyclopedia Britannica) so they often tower over other trees. as seen in the distance in this photo, also taken at Lake Pupuke.


 Here is a closer look at a Norfolk Island Pine from another Auckland Mission Blog,  Search Ponder and the Pacific:

Then there are the cabbage trees that look like something Dr. Suess would have come up with:

There is so much all around us that is unrecognizable to me, from the patterns of the stars in the sky at night (Southern cross rather than big and little dipper) to the birds we see flitting in the trees.  At times I feel wobbly and disoriented by the complete unfamiliarity and strangeness of all I see and hear.  Still, I am awed by the beauty that is New Zealand.  This truly is an amazing place.

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