Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008. Flowers Track and Whitewash Head Track at Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Centaurus Road, Christchurch: red hot pokers & yellow bone seed on the Port Hills, Hillsborough

Wife Leah bought a bunch of SA proteas and leucodendrons from a Taitapu farm stall, which reminded me that SA flowers were migrants too, long before us, enhancing Kiwi lives.

2008. Namaqualand daisies on Opawa Road, Christchurch

One late October Friday, I drove from Burnside to Scarborough to see spring flowers. I drove along Cashmere Road, and stopped on Centaurus Road hill to see SA red hot pokers and Namaqualand daisies in Christchurch "Garden City."

2008. Daisies on Opawa Road, Christchurch

Ahead on the Port Hills was SA bright yellow bone seed "weed," Chrysanthemoides monilifera, mixed with other foreign "weeds" yellow broom and yellow gorse, hated by plant purists, conservationists and farmers. After early Maori had burnt hill vegetation to hunt moa; and later colonial farmers destroyed more native plants while sheep farming; and Herry Ell's Summit Road and Walkway; and Christchurch City Council's Gondola Restaurant on top, purists ignored the binding strength of migrants, like bone seed dune-binder from SA, without which their beloved Port Hills topsoil would pollute the Pacific.

2008. Near McCormack's Bay, Christchurch: Man up a gum tree & young pohutukawa "Christmas" trees in foreground

On Opawa Road, I admired roadside Namaqualand daisies which cheered up the busy trucker road from Lyttelton. When I told the daisy man that gousblomme moved me, that my eldest son was born in Namaqualand, one of the finest floral kingdoms on earth, and that his daisies made a good show, he kindly offered me daisies.

2008. Leucodendron in Beachville Reserve, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch & Shag Rock backdrop. Shag Rock collapsed to approx half size during 2010-2011 quakes

Beyond McCormack's Bay causeway, I watched a man up a gum tree, sawing branches. Around the corner on Avon-Heathcote estuary, I watched the spring tide sucking out. In Beachville Reserve a SA leucodendron overlooked Shag Rock.

2008. Hottentots Fig ice plant, Carpobrotus edulis, Sumner Esplanade, Christchurch & Scarborough Hill backdrop

2008. Leucodendron & Geranium, Sumner Esplanade, Christchurch

At pleasant midday Sumner, without school kids and weekend hordes, along the Esplanade I happy-snapped SA aloes, daisies, geraniums, Hottentots figs (ice plants, dune-binder) cotyledons and vygies.

2008. Namaqualand Daisies, Sumner Esplanade, & Bone Seed on Port Hills, Christchurch

2008. Aloes, Sumner Esplanade, & Bone Seed on Port Hills, Christchurch

From Scarborough Park, I walked to the lifeboat slipway and watched Kiwis instructing tourist kayakers how to paddle calm Sumner sea.

2008. Bottom of Whitewash Head Road: start of circular Whitewash Head Track & Flowers Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

On Scarborough Road corner, at the beginning of Whitewash Head Road Track and Flowers Track, I stared at the concrete monstrosity replacing "The Rocks" house, which reminded me of a North Korean mausoleum. Flowers Track up Scarborough hill was weedy with creepy periwinkles, ivy, dark native shrubs with small pale flowers, overgrowth, and "Remove Your Dog Doo" and "No Entry" signs on backyard gates.

2008. Dappled, flowerless Flowers Track & prohibition signs, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Purple Namaqualand Vygies, Scarborough Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

Near Flowers Track top, I greeted a girl on a bench below a pine tree. Her leashed pitbull barked at me, so I gave it the back of my hand to sniff. Confused, the dog didn't know whether to snarl, bark or tailwag. As the girl looked anxious, I left her and found a Sophora national tree in golden bloom in the kids' playground in Nicholson Park. I had the park to myself, and enjoyed the view of Sumner Esplanade, Cave Rock, Shag Rock, estuary, Christchurch and distant snowy Alps. In front of the loo, SA arum lilies and proteas were nice too.

2008. Sumner & Port Hills from Flowers Track, Scarborough, Christchurch, with dominant Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans

2008. Proteas & Arum Lilies, Nicholson Park, overlooking Sumner Cave Rock, Shag Rock, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch

2008. Namaqualand Vygies, top of Whitewash Head Track, with best view of Pegasus Bay, Christchurch

Since I'd last walked the tracks, some new houses had sprouted along cul de sacs. A two metre high fence blocked my way to Whitewash Head Track - only idiots fenced off views over Pegasus Bay. After clambering over the fence, I stood on new decking and looked down the abyss to Whitewash Head, with gulls whirling over the waves.

2008. Bone Seeds, Daisies, Echiums & Vygies, near top of Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Geraniums, Echiums, Bone Seeds, Macrocarpa & Gulls, Whitewash Head Road Clifftop, Scarborough, Christchurch

Walking down Whitewash Head Road made the one hour circular trek worthwhile, as the clifftop was covered in flowers: SA geraniums, bone seeds, vygies, daisies, cotyledons, other sun-loving migrants too like Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans. Knees wobbling on my way down, I met unsmiling codgers slogging upwards. In the distance below, backdropped by Sumner, the kayakers were paddling waves.

2008. Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, with dominant Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans. Sumner & Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

Photo-film finished, I walked along the spring tide line to my car, and drove back to Burnside.

2008. Bone Seed, Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, & Kayakers on Sumner Beach, Christchurch

On Sunday, Leah and I both walked the tracks. Sumner was busy with beach-lovers. Parking was crowded. Nicholson Park was full of picnickers and kids in the playground. Parapenters soared cliff winds, like gulls off Whitewash Head. Girls jogged Sumner beach alone, middle-aged women walked the tracks alone, female buddies sat on benches, chatting and enjoying views over Pegasus Bay.

Coda: The 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquakes badly damaged Sumner, huge rockfalls. During the 13.06.11 quake, a big chunk of Whitewash Head at the end of Scarborough fell into the Pacific, thus changing Whitewash Head Track.

Content & Pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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