The continuing Pōhutukawa story

Polychromos pencil sketch

This post has been too long in the making, as I got swept away with novel writing – again. Not that I am personally sorry about adding to that storyline, but regret I didn’t continue the sketching theme of my last pōhutukawa post sooner. The plan changed slightly too, when I finally got around to sketching the pōhutukawa buds, which were pale green with a fluffy outer, yet tightly bunched, when I photographed them. They have since undergone a dramatic transformation.

This particular tree had begun to flower on one side and I took a close-up of the gorgeous scarlet flowers to show the transition from the closed bud I sketched. I did plan to do a further drawing or painting of the flower, but decided my photograph would show you the detail, and majesty of the flowers better. I was amazed at how quickly the buds formed colour at the centre then sprang open to reveal their scarlet secrets in just a couple of days.

The tree itself still appeared a little scrappy a couple of days later. See below.

As I have mentioned before, the Pōhutuawa is often referred to as New Zealand’s Christmas tree, usually in full blaze by December. This photo was taken the day after I took the close-up. I shall duck down to the waterfront and take an image of the same tree, and see what the development has been since I last saw it. You may have seen my blog, two back (The nuance of line), which features the bark of the same pōhutukawa.

Well, I have just returned from the waterfront and found no visible change in the blossom cover. These trees extend quite a way along the waterfront, and sad to say ‘my’ tree was the only one in part-bloom. On arriving back from my walk just now, I thought it would be good to write of my delight in finding a proliferation of our famous flowering tree in San Francisco, when I visited there five years ago. So, I checked online as to how how might have come about. Oh dear. It seems our treasure has become another’s plague, as the roots of 5000 pōhutukawa planted in the 80’s to beautify that great city (as they certainly did), are now blocking drains, pushing up pavements, and have generally become a nuisance. Well, they naturally like to hang off cliffs along coastlands and beside the sea. Urban living, isn’t quite their cup of tea.

And, then I decided to do a quick pen sketch of my tree, using selective colour.

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