Publication:

NZ Gardener - 2021-10-01

Data:

Flower of the Day

TARANAKI

It began in the Begonia House at Pukekura Park. The flouncy flowers were out while I was there on a garden story job and, after taking notes, I kept on looking, noticing, studying. I pointed my early version iPhone at a yellow bloom and snapped. I posted the tuberous begonia on Facebook and so, Flower of the Day was born. That was back in March 2013, and I’ve continued this practice every day since (except for a couple of hospital stints that kept me away from beautiful blooms). My calculations show I’ve posted about 3100 flowers, but because I take six or seven shots each time, that’s a collection of about 20,000 floral photos. Since starting my daily ritual, I’ve developed a superpower – the ability to see floral stars everywhere. I call it my flower radar. While in the car (as the passenger), my peripheral vision scans Taranaki streets as gardens flash by. Almost subconsciously, I name the flowers – rose, hibiscus, luculia, tibouchina, michelia, kākā beak, daisy, hebe, kōwhai – and note whether they are photo fit and close enough to a front fence for me to capture them. I have knocked on a couple of doors, but generally I peer, perch and sometimes teeter precariously over walls, on one foot, reaching, stretching to get the best picture. Some homeowners have come out for a chat and invited me in for more comfortable viewing. Even though I’m obviously stalking their garden, nobody has told me to bugger off. That shows me people who foster flowers and nurture nature are open, kind and tolerant. I’ve also learnt the art of noticing. I pause and take time, to smell the roses and to soak in the healing powers of a flower. Look there’s a tiny spider, see how those rain droplets look like jewels; careful, don’t move, there’s a butterfly about to alight. These are the dream moments. As the past eight years have floated by, I’ve selected more and more flowers for their dramatic beauty, and love seeing

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