Tag Archives: Bead Tree

A Tui Tale

The Kowhai trees have finished flowering and so the Tuis need to find other food to sustain them. Tuis have proved to be versatile and adaptable birds which enjoy nectar from introduced trees and plants as well as native trees and flaxes.

Just outside my kitchen window is a “dwarf” Bottle brush shrub (Callistemon Viminalis Little John).

It is well over 1.7 metres tall so not really a dwarf. It is bursting, slowly, into bloom at the moment and I am now treated to the following Tui antics if I am working at the bench.

The tall, wide spreading Melia tree stands above the Bottle brush and provides superb perches for Tui to rest on, sing from and to launch off into the nectary goodness of the bottle brush below.

There is no wing flapping, just a simple drop off this branch into the slender branched bush.

The drop reminds me of children “bomb” diving off the side of a swimming pool.

As the Tui lands the bush shakes and shivers and continues to do this while the bird moves about finding its next feed.

The shaking and shivering often alerts me to the fact that somewhere in the bush a Tui is feeding. Every so often a head pops up or as happened yesterday the flowers, highest and closest, to the house prove irresistible.

Getting to take a photo of any or all of these antics is tricky. The front door opening close by sends the Tui fleeing and standing near the bush waiting for a photo opportunity has not resulted in any activity. Tuis are wily birds.

Taking photos through a window usually results in the spots and marks on the window being captured and the desired object blurred. However yesterday magic happened and I captured our frequent visitor (or are there many visitors?) through the window.

Don’t you love the shawl of feathers across the back of its neck and the glorious feather colours?

It is fascinating to stand and watch the bird come to feed out of this bush. If only the sun would shine and warm us all, the bush might then cover itself in its tasty and fire engine red “bottle brushes”. The other piece of good news is that there are two more of these bushes growing alongside the big one….more Tui Tales to come from those as they mature.


Watching the Melia

I have been taking particular note of the Bead Tree in my garden (Melia Azaderach). You can see it back in this post when I had learnt more about it and the beads it sheds that are used for rosary and prayer beads.

Today’s photo shows my tree with lots of seeds, containing the beads, still on the tree. But at the same time there is evidence of new buds swelling at the branch tips as spring begins to influence the tree.

It got me thinking a bit more about the beads and how this tree and its cycles are like rosary or prayer beads. The tree has a slow, methodical, measured rhythm all of its own. As one part of the cycle ends, the new one is ready and waiting to begin. It has a patience about it, an unhurried quality to it and it can hold to its rhythm despite harsh winds buffeting and shaking the tree and despite bitter conditions at times over winter. It is steadfast rather like our belief in a higher being.

The seeds that were once green have turned through yellow and those remaining are now a cream colour as they shrivel and decay.

On our holiday last week I noticed lots of Melia. The trees I saw in Hawkes Bay were still heavily seeded with cream seeds in dramatic contrast to the barer tree in my garden.

I will keep vigil with this tree in the same way as people hold their personal prayer vigils with the beads and wait and see what more unfolds for me from this noble tree.

What are these pray tell?

We have a Melia azedarach tree in our front garden and it has grown enormously since we first moved in over 22 years ago. We had it trimmed a few years back and the arborist told me he would refuse to cut it down because it was such a beautiful tree.

In the past year or two I have working hard on being more aware and noticing more and my attention on this tree has increased. Then in the last few months I have been reading Juliet Batten’s blog http://seasonalinspiration.blogspot.com and she too is watching Melia trees and we have shared our observations and findings.

I had, until recently known the tree as the Bead tree and I have just learnt why it is so named, thanks to Juliet. The green seeds that are visible on my tree right now, contain a hard, five sided kernel or bead and these beads are used to make rosary beads.

The word “azedarach” comes from a contraction of the Persian vernacular “azaddhirakt” or noble tree.

I have a new and deeper appreciation for my Melia and the small gifts it gives to spiritual seekers and for its ancient noble status.