Stop Press! You simply must not miss the display of our New Zealand Christmas Trees, Metrosideros excelsa, two of which are in full bloom at Tir N’an Og. A eye-popping Santa-worthy crimson blossom takes your breath away, especially when you are reminded by fellow garden team member, Louise that the advent of the bloom means it is only 23 shopping weeks to Christmas!
Sometimes referred to as the Antipodean Holly, branches are used for seasonal decoration in New Zealand. For the Maori people, a gnarled twisted pohutukawa on a cliff top at the northernmost point of New Zealand is the place where the spirits of the dead begin their journey to the traditional homeland of Hawaiki. The spirits leap from the headland and climb down the trunk of the 800 year old tree, descending into a cave which takes them to the underworld on their return journey. Sort of chimes with Lady Edith’s Celtic mythology ideas, and our trees fittingly sit atop the hill of Tir N’an Og. Must look and see if there is a hidden cave at the roots……..
Talking of roots, the trees have interesting aerial or, adventitious roots, dangling from the branches like birds’ nests. In botany ‘adventitious’ refers to structures that develop in unusual places, and so I learn yet another new word……perhaps Santa could leave a gardening dictionary in my stocking this year?