Columns and Colour

I spent a little time in Dunedin Botanic Garden today, not much as the wind was cold. Couldn’t resist taking some photos near the main entrance because the red foliage was looking great (usually it’s difficult to get this particular foliage to come out ‘right’ in the camera).

Click on any photo to enlarge.


You may recall in my recent post Very Familiar I mentioned an endemic tree called Pseudowintera colorata or pepper tree and that a local nurseryman in Tapanui, Denis Hughes, has bred a wildly popular cultivar named ‘Red Leopard’. I would think that this Pseudowintera colorata in my photos is ‘Red Leopard’ although I have no proof of that.

Pseudowintera colorata / horopito / pepper tree.

Pepper tree in the foreground with pretty clipped mounds of native Lophomyrtus behind (another native plant of which there are really beautiful garden cultivars).

Here’s a closer look at the foliage of the two trees.

I found an interesting paragraph about pepper tree from the website The Meaning of Trees / A Guide to Native New Zealand Tea Plants.

“The other New Zealand Pepper tree, Horopito is packed full of antifungal compounds which leave a burning sensation in the mouth. It makes for a spicy, warming tea, and is certainly one of my favourites. Infusions of the leaves were known as “bushman’s painkiller” and were drunk to soothe chest complaints and diarrhoea.”

There’s also a good 2015 info article written by the Dunedin Botanic Garden curator of the native plant collection – in the Otago Daily Times:
Native tree adds spice.


The Main Entrance, Dunedin Botanic Garden (where the red foliage is)

This work is by Stuart Griffiths (1999). Stone columns and steel.

Excerpt from Art seen / Otago Daily Times 12 Jan 2012 ~last segment on page:

“Given the work’s commemoration of European settlement, there is no small irony in the pronounced Maori aspects of the structure’s columns.”

“The koru is a major design element, and the columns are strongly reminiscent of that most famous Maori carving, the imposing and gracile Uenuku, albeit in a more robust form.”

[koru is the spiral shape of a young fern frond,
and here’s a link to a photo of Uenuku]

The red foliage I was photographing is just beyond the pedestrian’s head …


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

12 thoughts on “Columns and Colour

Add yours

  1. Lovely foliage colours – something to brighten up the day. 🙂 I like the fern-like look of the columns and the irony of the shape gives extra interest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds good eh? That opinion was from the writer at the website rather than me – he ended up having a book published called ‘The Meaning of Trees’, he’s another Robert though .. Robert Vennell 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve. I imagine the dense foliage and tiny leaves would make them quite easy to clip to any animal shape! There is a large elephant topiary in a little town called Edendale about an hour’s drive south from home. Beside it is a tall moa. Done in cypress, and on a standard residential property. The two topiary animals stand together staring at the house. A few years back the old house was removed and a new one built but the iconic topiary wildlife remain – thankfully 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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