Friday, June 17, 2011

The Orange Tree

During the colder months it's the citrus trees that spring into life. In addition to adding some much needed colour to the garden, it's great to be able to pick fresh fruit over the winter. The fruit on this tree is not sweet enough to eat until we get a few good frosts, until then they're still quite sour.
This tree was already mature when we bought the property more than 20 years ago so I estimate that it's more than 30 years old.

The tree itself is not much to look at for most of the year, until the winter. This probably explains why I've not given it the attention it needs over the years. I don't like using chemicals and sprays if I can help it but this year I decided to spray all my fruit trees with copper as some were showing signs of disease including this orange.

Several years ago when I decided to landscape this area I had to hack into its roots quite severely to put the steps in, which caused it to suffer a bit, but I think it's bounced back now.

Izumi uses the oranges quite a bit in salads as shown in my post about Florence Fennel

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Wood Pigeon comes for a visit

One of the more privileged sights for bird watchers in New Zealand is that of the Native NZ Wood Pigeon. (Also known as Kereru which is the Maori name) The Wood pigeon would have to be the biggest bird to ever visit my garden. According to Wikipedia, they can grow to be 55cm long (20 inches) from head to tail weighing up to 850grams (1.87 pounds). When you witness one up close they seem much bigger. They're often seen gorging themselves on tree borne berries. This shot was taken in a tree privot outside our kitchen window. (In NZ Privot is classified as a noxious weed and at this time of year they're covered in berries.)

The first time I witnessed a wood pigeon landing in Loquat tree (which is one of their favourites), I swore the branch was nearly going to snap under its weight. They can be quite comical to watch after they get a belly full of berries. Not only are they weighed down all the more from pigging-out on all the fruit but as the fruit ferments in their gut they become intoxicated and have difficulty getting air borne again.

But when they do it's a spectacular sight. If you're ever standing nearby, the "Wooshing" sound they make when they take to flight is quite breathtaking. You can't help but marvel at these beautiful creatures. And then he was gone...

This photo taken by Michelle from Christchurch 
shows off the beauty of this birds' paua shell colouring...

I really must get myself a decent camera!