I went seeking the light today. Truly, literally! It was a grey, blank-canvas sky day; a neither here nor there day; not cold, not warm, not raining but not especially dry either. A nothing sort of day. So, I put on my cheerful face and went to look for the light; actually lights, in the city, which are to form part of a public art exhibition called ‘Solidarity Grid’ http://www.scapepublicart.org.nz/. Now, search as I might, I couldn’t find them, for a very simple reason, which hit me like a blinding flash; the exhibition isn’t open until 27 September, 5 days hence! 🙂
Determined not to make my drive to the city a complete waste of time, I drove in to the Botanic Gardens car park for some visual refreshment. And there, right before my eyes, I suddenly saw the very thing I had been wanting to visit, to find out about, for months. Can you see it?
Take a closer look….
Looks like a home for a large bird, or, maybe, a sculptural rendition of a modern-day Tardis, come to rest in the midst of the pines of Christchurch. Strange things happen here these days, but, perhaps not quite that strange. Let’s cross the river for a proper look.
On we go, past the kowhai and blossom, along the path,
until we have our destination in sight.
Nearly there; getting closer…
until here we are, the closest we can get to ……
THE WOLLEMI PINE.
The Wollemi Pine is New Zealand’s first dinosaur plant. It is a relic pine with a 200 million year old history and is one of the oldest and rarest trees in the world. It was thought to be extinct until its discovery in the Blue Mountains of Australia in 1994. There are less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild. This little Wollemi pine was grown by tissue culture,
in Christchurch, and planted in our Botanic Gardens to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gardens’ establishment. It is the cornerstone of an area in the Gardens which will be known as the Gondwana Garden http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/features/8474759/The-botanic-gardens-guardian
“Wollemi” is an Aboriginal word meaning “Watch out and look around you”. I am very glad I did today. I may have missed the lights I was originally looking for, but I feel that I found another type of light or, perhaps, enlightenment, of equal brilliance. And, in a funny, odd way, strange as I thought it might be when I mentioned it earlier, I did find a Tardis; a Tardis in a tree.
The Wollemi Pine http://www.wollemipine.com/index.php project which is dedicated to the preservation of the Wollemi Pine has Wollemi Pines centres all over the world. There may be a Wollemi Pine near you. Check it out on their website 🙂
So, with a final look around me, I went down the path, across the bridge and home to tea.
The Blue Mountains are one place I visited, even if briefly, when we spent a week or so in Sydney in 2005. I never heard about the rare Wollemi pine there, nor anywhere else till now, but it’s always encouraging to learn about a species that was thought extinct and turned out not to be.
Maybe someday I’ll get to see your Sophora in person and you’ll get to see the kind that’s prominent in Texas:
The mountain laurel is beautiful. I would like to visit the US again….maybe I will, one day. When I was much, much younger I always imagined I would visit the UK and Europe (and I did) but I didn’t give any thought to visiting the US. However, I ended up with 5 visits to the US and only one of them was actually planned by me.
There is absolutely no way that pine can have a 200-million-year history. U.S. Republican religious zealots tell me that the world is only about 10,000 years old, and they know what they are talking about……………………lol
LOL! This is a worry then that I have my facts so wrong LOL!
A fascinating and beautiful tree…really enjoyed the links! I’m happy to see that there are conservation efforts in place for its kind.
Just as well too. Currently the Blue Mountain area of Australia is being devastated by the most horrendous bushfires. I keep wondering if the area of the Wollemi pine is safe.
That was not so disappointed day in finding light 🙂 You sounded like a kid who miss a toy but have very sweet treat instead 🙂 That is a beautiful garden. I like at “Tardis in a tree” concept. This is the first time I have heard of growing a plant from tissues. I think this is a test tube Wollemi pine.
Ah, I did get a very sweet treat indeed 🙂 I was fascinated by the way the wee tree was brought in to existence through tissue culture.
What a beautiful and brave little tree, and so wise to have a name which calls us to look and listen and feel him in our world. Balm to the crushed spirit after a difficult day, friend!
So glad. I found the little tree uplifting too. But I will be happy when it is free to grow without its cage.
It will be really great to keep returning to track it’s progress. Good luck little tree!
I will have to make another visit sooner than I thought to pass on all these good wishes to the little tree. I can see it growing an inch ,at once, when I convey the good wishes 🙂
I’m sure it will with all the good wishes!
Oh, and I just posted some photos from the Singapore Botanic Gardens which look decidedly warmer! 🙂
Yes, I have just read your post; lovely colours and lots of warmth and intriguing shapes. The dragonfly is utterly gorgeous.
Isn’t it? I can’t remember taking that photo and I was pleasantly surprised when I found it again!
I sense dragon fly earrings 🙂
Beautiful scenery on the way to such a wonderful find. Fascinating stuff that they’re doing with your pine. I have never heard of that before….here is to a successful return of an endangered species of plant!
Yes, it’s an exciting project! I agree, a toast to its success is in order 🙂
how deeply cool.
a test tube tree!
A suitable post for *tg*’s Who we are in RL, considering her future gazing/writing/technologising at the moment. Although this is now, not the future, I suppose.
I do love to gallivant with you! You take me to such wonderful places.
“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”William Shakespeare
And I love you to accompany me with your wonderful store of wise words and quotes.
It was meant to be – not open yet! These are beautiful pictures of wonderful discoveries. The little pine is just precious. I hope it grows to a very tall and strong adult 🙂
Yes, I agree…it was meant to be…not open yet! I am thinking there should be a measuring tape painted on the side of the cage so we can go back, year by year, and see how much the little one has grown!
The measuring tape is a great idea!
Lovely. Grow, baby, grow…
Yes, yes! I wonder how long it will take to outgrow the cage?
You’ll just have to keep us posted 🙂
Now there’s an incentive to get myself back to the Gardens more regularly!
It is a beautiful Tardis. You amaze me always with more wonderful information about your country, nature, etc.
And it seems when you walk around with your eyes open for new things you find more amazuing things. This Pine is first of all beautiful, I checked the links and wow so old…. Fantastic that they can grow this like in a test tube. Just amazing our world today!
Thank you for this great post! … oh an dyou rpictures are lovely as is the Botanic Garden!
Our world is amazing! You would love walking in our Botanic Gardens, Ute. I don’t visit them often enough, which is naughty, because they are an absolute treasure.
There is one of these little guys in Kew Gardens in London, near where we used to live before moving North. We loved those gardens, so got to know him quite well. Not sure that I have any photos of him though. But he looks very similar to his NZ cousin, as one might expect, cage included!
I am ever so glad you have seen his cousin. Google seems to indicate that there may be a cousin at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh!!! And there is a grove at Inverewe Garden, Scotland, their northern most location in the world. Imagine! thought extinct, until 1994, and now a type of ambassador for the conservation of our plant heritage.
Oh of course! I should have known that we would have one here in Edinburgh too – I will check it out (a trip to the botanics is always a pleasure) and report back accordingly. And as for the other one, well that gives an opportunity for some further exploring, doesn’t it. Again, a report in due course, although that may take a bit more time to sort out….! But what fun. I have recently become very interested in all this kind of thing, since I found out that parts of Western Scotland are the oldest rock formations in the world – imagine!
Oh, that’s tremendously exciting. So old!!!! Is this interest connected with your reading of John Muir? So glad you introduced me to him 🙂
I’m not sure where it came from, but it is truly fascinating, isn’t it! 🙂
It is, it is.
Great to see the Wollemi pine in Christchurch. We loved the story of it being found after it was thought to be extinct, which we read on a similar cage in Kew Gardens.
Yes, yes, it is a wonderful story and Kew Gardens has a vigorous Wollemi Pine propagation unit. Glad you have seen this tenacious survivor. This little tree connects the world 🙂
That is a lovely tree with an amazing history. Is the cage to protect the tree from animals? I know the deer here love to nibble pine trees, Annie
I think the cage is to protect the tree from accidental damage by people and deliberate damage by vandals.
Great storytelling here on this post…love how you reeled us in♥
And I could have stretched the line further for you to see the trout in the river and on to the playground, where you could have taken gorgeous pictures of Little Man 🙂 And there were ducklings, too, by the river. No Yellow Duck tours though 😦
Well worth the nearly wasted visit!
Very worth while. The Wollemi Pine has been in that spot for some months. I really don’t know how I haven’t noticed it before today. It has been on my ‘wish list’ to see since the day it was planted!
All good things come to those who wait 🙂
Thank goodness that is the case!
Wonderful post! We had a similar gray day here as well and I felt pleased that I made it out for a little walk with the little ones! It always feels refreshing to get out even if the weather is a “nothing” but gray!
Thank you. I have a hard time making myself go out on a gray day but just being outside, whatever the weather, is good for body and soul….and little ones 🙂 There were little ones at the Gardens today, feeding the fish and the ducks, with the help of a parent.
Oh how gorgeous…all of it! That amazingly lush garden, your persistance and openess towards finding a beauty even if it wasn’t the one you had been searching.
Thank you Heather. It was my first time to take photos on a gloomy day. I liked the atmospheric light, and the contrasts of the shapes and the intensity of the colours against the bleak sky but, with a little camera, it was hard to capture the sharpness of the contrasts…..and I am not one for photo-editing (sssh…I don’t really know how 🙂 )
Ooh, it is easy. If you lived around the corner, I could show you in no time! True, I had a pro show me the basics (and that is pretty much all I use) but it is enough to make the photos look like what you saw. I have a little camera too and it really does help! I work with Photoshop and Bridge. But I know that there are programs that do the basics too that came with the camera…
Just a thought. And your photos are good as they are!
You live around the ‘virtual’ corner!!! I need to investigate more. Bridge sounds interesting. Thank you for your thoughts. As an indication of my sometimes-silliness with computer-y things, you will laugh when I tell you that I wrote my entire post yesterday on a Page format, instead of a Post format. Took me ages to reset everything in the proper format. 😦 Got there eventually!
Oh my, reading the below makes me think that you are on PC! No wonder! If you can afford to switch to Mac it will make your life so much easier. I can’t begin to understand PC but Mac is easy pieces…
😦 I think I just need a new something, full stop. 🙂 Technology is rather expensive here, sadly.