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.
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.
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.