Part of my Heart’s in Central

When Nigel returned from promoting his landscape design business Growplan at Wanaka A&P Show, he came home via Central Otago. This is a region of extremes, baking hot in the summer, cold in the winter and lots of vineyards and fruit orchards. Spring and Autumn are gorgeous for their blossom and foliage.  I’m pretty peeved we won’t be able to drive into ‘Central’ this weekend to get photos of the colourful autumn foliage as I’d anticipated we would – before Covid-19 changed everything.


When Nigel returned home, traffic was already much lighter on the road. Usually it’s not possible to park on this stretch of busy road but he was able to stop and take photos of the fabulous colourful blooms of wild valerian, Centranthus ruber.

Photos taken by Nigel 17 March 2020
March is the first month of autumn in New Zealand

Wild Valerian in Cromwell Gorge

Click on photo to enlarge

Next photo is a riot of colour with golden yellow Californian poppies as well! This is a larger size image – click on the photo for a closer view.

Here we have colourful rosehips as well as Californian poppies and wild valerian, and the grey low ground cover is thyme (flowering finished). Thyme carpets the mountain sides throughout Central Otago. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Across the road is Lake Dunstan, a loooong lake created when the hydro dam was constructed at Clyde (Clutha River).

Further Information

Nigel Cowburn is a New Zealand landscape architect based in the south of the South Island. His blog is at  Growplan.

The impetus for this post came from Damien’s lovely photo-post of French coastal cliffs, sea and wildflowers. Wild valerian was prominent in the first photo, reminding Nigel of these which he’d forgotten to pass on to me. Damien’s post has 16 photos.

Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2020)

7 thoughts on “Part of my Heart’s in Central

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  1. They are so stunning. I never saw them before until Marseille. So funny the things nature shares regardless of place and temperature and distances. So much to connect the earth and each other 👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are fortunate here in New England to have states that value flowering plants along the highways and in the medians. Those valerian swaths of color have to make the drives more peaceful and pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s great to see the valerian doing it’s thing and taking over a large space…it wants to do that here too but is made to behave and self-restrict. (Well, maye not ‘self’ – some assistance from me is usually needed..hehe!) I have had Californian poppies…want to grow them again… 🙂

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  4. Beautiful flowers, Liz. I love it when there are large expanses of color on the sides of hills like that. Thanks too for the reminder that March is the start of autumn there–we Northern Hemisphere people tend to be forgetful that the whole world does not follow our seasonal schedule. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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