Every 6 months I am required to get my car checked to ensure it is fit to be on the road and safe for me to drive. I am very fortunate that I have a trustworthy car repair business to call on for this.
It is even more fortunate that the business is located across the road from the Pataka in Porirua.
Pataka in Maori means “storehouse” and in this case the building stores museum collections, our Public Library, art and exhibition galleries as well as meeting and performance spaces and a great café. A perfect place to spend the time it takes for the check to be done on the car.
It is also located near a large recreation facility and open park space.
However the weather was so stunning that day that I went for a wander around the perimeter of the building and visited the Japanese Garden in the central courtyard of this building.
Here are some of the sights that took my eye.
Sometimes nature puts colours together in ways that totally surprise me.
This self sown Aquilegia or Granny’s bonnet is nestled up against this 30 year old azalea, providing an interesting colour contrast.
The other total surprise here is the vibrant and dramatic flowering of this azalea.
I have never seen it bloom with such abundance and intensity in the 24 years I have watched it. The only thing that has been done differently is that I have rinsed out the 2 litre milk bottles on the way to the recycling bin and this plant has been the recipient of these very watery dregs.
Other aquilegias are flowering nearby in several different colourings. They are beautifully delicate in shape and shade.
Earlier this week we left home in warm, calm and sunny conditions and headed into the Wellington Botanical Gardens to view the very early spring flowering.
As can often be the case in our region the weather in the city was cold, heavily overcast and the wind was unpleasant. This meant our visit was shorter than planned.
However, weather aside, I really enjoyed returning to these very familiar Gardens and to a part of the Gardens that has changed very, very little in the 55 plus years that I have been visiting them.
Once my parents bought a car we would often head to the Gardens on a Sunday afternoon to hear the Highland Pipe Bands play and march at the Soundshell or on the grass in front of the Soundshell. My parents loved Pipe Band music and as small children we would march and move to the music or play around the grassy area.
Near this spot was a small fountain which has small concrete frogs around the edging. With any luck you could spray the water coming from their mouths in wide arcs across the fountain. Harmless, childish fun which can still be enjoyed today.
Further along a path is a duck pond where we fed the ducks and in that time honoured way children still do that today.
The tulip beds were full but only a few flowers were blooming. Spring festival with Tulip Sunday will happen later in September. But again this is a long time familiar event.
The aged trees – Magnolia and deciduous are all still there as are the fuchsias along the brick fence line. The difference I noted on this visit was the thickness of the epiphytes clothing the thick branches like sleeves of wearable art of some form.
The familiar can be very comforting in a world that changes so rapidly. It would appear that no one is in a hurry to redevelop this section of the Gardens and I like that.