Spring is scarlet in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington)

big pot of bright scarlet flowers and a small pot of small scarlet flowers. On an apartment deck, blue sky above.
Spring is scarlet on the deck of my apartment.

In Ōtautahi (Christchurch, Aotearoa), spring explodes with pink blossom, yellow daffodils and blue bluebells. But in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), the dominant colour in late October is scarlet.

On the deck of my apartment a big white pot holds a slightly stressed specimen of one of Aotearoa’s plant wonders. It’s known as The Poor Knights Lily, or Raupo Taranga, or Xeronema Callistemon. The flowers are bold in colour and form. Some years my plant produces just one or two flowers, but this spring it cheers me with TEN flowers. (One is paralysed at bud-stage because, tragically, I snapped the stem.)

In the raggle-taggle back yard of our apartment block a few alstroemeria lurk, despite random efforts to rip them out. I adore these and for months gather them for cut flowers.

Bright red flowers pushing through weeds and bushes. Alstroemeria.
Alstroemeria, glorious in their persistence and colour.

Already finished for the spring, a tough orange clivia

Scarlet clivia are booming and blooming in the central city street gardens of Whanganui-a-Tara. This specimen gives barely a hint of their glory. But still so strong. Thick. Solid. Almost macho.

Photo of an orange clivia flower thriving in a corner, with a single scarlet berry.
A clivia, whose name I can rarely remember. Orange flowers fading, a single scarlet berry surviving

Soon now we shall see the most spectacular of red spring flowers—on the pohutukawa and on the ground below. But the flowers are mainly crimson rather than scarlet, and when they bloom, summer is almost here.

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6 thoughts on “Spring is scarlet in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington)

  1. Alan Ralph says:

    Lovely photos. Here it’s autumn, with a vengeance — our clocks went back on Sunday, the light is fading by 4pm, the leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping. But at least we’re still getting late-fruiting raspberries from our garden, plus apples falling from the next-door neighbour’s tree.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you, Alan. Autumn brings its own delights, and scarlet is one of them. Neighbours’ apple trees are surely the ideal type.

  2. Beautiful, bold blooms. Very cheering and life-affirming.

  3. I love the fact that we have balancing seasons across the globe and there are normally wonders to be enjoyed wherever we are and whatever the season.

  4. I love this post for the simplicity of its subject. Yet boldness is introduced with the use of native place-names, and with the vibrance of color in your photos. Thoroughly enjoyed this!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you Ingrid for appreciating what I am trying to do 🙂

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