February 26, 2012
After too many days of cold and rain in the Secret Garden,
I arrived in Wellington last week, to find basking sunshine
and hardly any wind !
Although Christchurch, in its heyday, bore the Garden City garland, Wellington is one great Secret Garden.
Hydrangeas and roses nestle into forest glades or sheltered bush-clad valleys.
All over the hillside suburbs, footpaths make short work of getting around - or leave the flatlander short of breath.
They step and sweep, zig-zag, or boldly take a lift to or from sea level, offering all sorts of glimpses into other people's lives, gardens and wilderness along the way.
Amongst the city towers of mirror glass, ivy races for the sky and native seedlings carelessly take root. In the slots and crannies of park benchs pohutukawa seeds sprout hopefully. It wouldn't take much neglect for this trumpeting commercial centre to disappear into the undergrowth,
so fecund is its moist and mild climate.
But Wellington is New Zealand's capital city, and culture is cultivated, so there are gardens that exceed expectations,
like the lovely native forest garden in the national museum,
and this sea-shore garden on the Waterfront that invites exploration.
But because my hosts, Noreen and Dyk (above centre) live very close to the Botanic Gardens, it is easy to amble around and through that diverse space:
On my own...
or with friends.
We marvel at sculptures, such as Rudderstone
or play with Listening and Viewing Devise.
Naturally we take time to smell the roses.
And when night falls I stroll down to the end of the road and enter the forest margin to say goodnight to the gloworms, glimmering under mossy overhangs above the path and from across the invisible stream.