Wild Bright Blooms

These photos of beloved Central Otago wildflowers were taken on my birthday trip on 31 October (spring in New Zealand). We’d stopped on the roadside near Cromwell to take a closer look at them. The bridge in the 2nd pic provides access to the town of Cromwell, and the route carries on to the Queenstown Lakes District.


Click on any photo to enlarge.

Pink and white ‘false’ valerian. Centranthus ruber. Thyme in background.
~ ‘real’ valerian is a herb.

Nigel took a shot at me while I was focused on my own efforts! The yellow flowers are Californian poppies. Eschscholzia californica. California poppy. California sunlight or cup of gold. 🙂

There are yellow and orange poppies, and some flowers are both!

And on my way back to the car I was quietly looking at flowers when a skink crept out of a crevice and into the open! Couldn’t believe my good fortune, so the next photo is the skink!

Click on photo to enlarge.

I sent my photo to the zoology department at the University of Otago and received a kind reply with advice as follows: “How nice that this skink made an appearance for you. I’m confident that it is a native skink in the genus Oligosoma. It might be a McCann’s skink, but small brown skinks are notoriously difficult to identify without additional information …”

Very happy knowing that it’s a native!


Kay McKenzie Cooke recently posted a poem about heading to Queenstown from Dunedin, referencing the orange poppies along the route. They’re an iconic part of Central Otago, New Zealand.

See: orange poppy place in her post Directly Corresponds (scroll down a bit).


Text and photos by Liz except 2nd pic by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2021)

9 thoughts on “Wild Bright Blooms

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  1. A fabulous roadside display, Liz, and what a variety. Quite a testament to these flowers hardiness to grow amongst those rocks, which are pretty in their own right.

    Good job capturing the skink, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Real’ valerian has been used as a sleep aid in the past, and maybe today, too. I especially like the setting for these flowers. A combination of rocks and flowers is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You must have been keeping your eyes open to catch the skink! We have Centranthus ruber in the garden and last year I saw a hummingbird hawk moth on it. The first time I’ve seen one of these moths in our garden. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was lucky the skink popped out near to me, and in my field of view. Such a thing would rarely happen! A hummingbird hawk moth would be a wonderful reason to retain Centranthus in the garden! What colour(s) of Centranthus do you have? In the wild I’ve seen three colours.. white, pink, as above, and also one that’s more red than pink.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mostly red, with a bit of white in the front garden – we’ve had a bit of pink too. It tends to move around a lot and seeds itself in a lot of the gardens around here. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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