Invermay is an agricultural research centre on the rural edge of Dunedin, near Mosgiel. Nigel and I were there on Sunday 26 Nov 2017 because I was hoping to see a research collection of Cordyline australis (the NZ ‘cabbage tree’) that they have on site somewhere. I didn’t spot where they are but we were easily distracted into wandering around the campus and enjoying the park and garden areas. The Paradise Shelduck photos of yesterday’s post were also taken during this visit.
Nigel parked near these lovely trees which provided welcome shade on a hot day. We’re just transitioning into summer after enjoying a particularly nice spring. Its warmer than usual and shade is very desirable.
Nearby is the pond where the Paradise Shelduck family were. This was one of the last photos I took before we headed home.
Looking back toward where we’d come from (the red car is ours). The view is toward the west and I wanted you to get a feel for how spacious this parkland is. The open space is really beautiful with a nice mix of sun and shade.
We left the pond and headed toward the campus buildings. My attention was immediately taken by this wonderful Monkey Puzzle Tree. What a beautiful specimen, looking for all the world like a decorated Christmas Tree, with big round cones forming on the branches. I’ll be re-visiting this tree in another post. Beside the Monkey Puzzle Tree is a native beech tree and the green, mounded plants in the foreground are a type of Hebe (most of which are endemic to New Zealand). NB: Monkey Puzzle Tree is not native to NZ.
We followed the path closer to the buildings and I had to photograph these fine, flowing Red Tussocks. They’re magnificent specimens and seen to advantage here by the path. Imagine them flowing in the wind when there’s a westerly! These have to be some of the best I’ve seen with each plant having plenty of space to grow and flow. Native plants looking their best!
This is looking back toward the tussocks after walking further up the path. The silver-grey shrub near the front is a form of Brachyglottis greyi, whether it is the true form or not I don’t know as Brachyglottis hybridises very readily.
Having crossed the road, I took an overview photo of where we’d come from
and then continued along the path and I took this photo to show you how close we are to sheep grazing on a green hillside. The shrubby plants you can see in the garden are different forms of native NZ divaricating shrubs, in various hues. We have a lot of these in our flora and you commonly see them in native plantings – they’re tough, wind and drought-tolerant, clip well, and provide shelter. They naturally come in a variety of foliage or stem colours, female plants often have attractive berries (albeit small, you need to look quite close) and some put on a good display of small flowers.
I spotted some cabbage trees and hurried over to investigate, hoping they might lead to the collection I’d been hoping to see. But this is just a tiny planting between an assembly area and a carpark/truck turning yard. Nevertheless, I was astounded by these trees – the trunks are densely covered with the old, dead leaves. I’m quite mystified as to why these leaves haven’t shed. Cordyline australis in a garden situation is notorious for shedding its tough, fibrous leaves all over the lawn (our current rental has a small group of cabbage trees uphill of a lawn and I can attest to what a nuisance they are in this situation!).
I found Nigel back on the road we’d crossed earlier and we looked at the narrow plantings by the buildings. The skinny taller trees are called lancewoods and they are real characters. In the juvenile form the long, stiff, narrow, toothed leaves grow straight out of the trunk and hang downwards – real oddities. After many years they start to branch and eventually end up having a rounded crown (with leaves that are shorter, wider, and point upwards). With the ones in the photo you can see that the apex is starting to broaden. Today I’ve learned that this condition of having very distinct juvenile and adult forms is known as ‘heteroblasty’. Native Pseudopanax species.
More extensive view of the same garden.
Click the photo to view large-size version. As I walked around the campus I came across these sheep and lambs grazing near a shearing shed, and the road heading off into the distance. I found the view very appealing, it is classic New Zealand scenery.
Text and Photos by Exploring Colour (2017) unless otherwise attributed