I had thought to summarise the year; my inaugural year of posting blogs on Artistry, but changed my mind when the Pōhutukawa began showing off all over town. The Pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), a tree native to New Zealand, is affectionately named our Christmas Tree, with very good reason. There’s no need for tinsel, baubles or fairy lights if you happen to have one of these in your garden.
We are especially lucky here in Devonport, as we are a settlement at the end of a peninsula, and Pōhutukawa just love being near the sea. They grow magnificently along our coastline, especially in the north, and are admired for their shape and colour. People stop to admire them all year round, they are that spectacular. In recent years Pōhutukawa have become a protected species, meaning no-one can arbitrarily lop off limbs for improving their views, for example, without seeking local government approval.
I am sure that their are a number of people who do challenge these rules, but if such restrictions weren’t in place, we couldn’t enjoy the Pōhutukawa and all it has to offer.
Yesterday, I strolled down to the water’s edge to yes, view more of these trees and to see what else I could photograph to further this post. There are so many of the species alongside the wharf, in various states of Christmas preparedness. I chose to photograph the trunk of one, whose flowers were yet to appear. I should have found the time to sketch this, but my image should give you a good idea as to the growth pattern of the lower branches. I turned towards the village, and found a child in the fork of the base of another Pōhutukawa.
I wandered further up the road, almost home, when a collection of sun hats displayed at a shop’s entrance caught my eye. I glanced inside, spotting more merchandise featuring our Christmas tree’s flowers, and stepped in. Goodness! I wasn’t surprised to find New Zealand paraphernalia within a tourist shop, but the number of items featuring Pohutukawa was staggering. I got permission to take photos, choosing just a few items as an example of the plethora of products available.
There were purses of all sizes, tiles, cups, tea towels paintings; more articles depicting New Zealand’s ‘Christmas Tree’ than any other icon that I could see.
It is not surprising that this is so, as summer is the time for tourists, visits to the seaside and Christmas. Quite the opposite for blogger friends who live in the Northern hemisphere, who no doubt, in many places shall be warming themselves inside beside their traditional trees on 25th December.
And I do love the sight and smell of a sturdy pine tree dressed in Christmas finery, but, when the time comes to pack away the decorations and rid the house of a yellowing pine and its needles, the Pōhutukawa tree will lose its blossoms to the wind, certainly, but the tree will remain for many Decembers to come.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE