It had been a beautiful morning and I had been at the computer for hours. So I decided to take Madam for a walk in the bush. What is ‘the bush’? In New Zealand, it is the native forest, which once covered most of the land. Dense and dark, it was alive with birds, insects and lizards, but sometimes impenetrable to humans.
Much of it was cleared by the settlers but here in Wellington we are fortunate to have the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve. This is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to New Zealand native plants.
The reserve consists of 100 hectares of native forest, and five hectares of plant collections. Some of Wellington’s oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu. The reserve is owned and managed by the Wellington City Council
The area now known as Otari Wilton’s bush was originally covered in forest. The name “Otari” is Māori for “Place of Snares”. The bush/forest was cleared by the settlers for farming and timber. Then in 1860 a far-sighted local farmer, Job Wilton, fenced off a 7 hectare block of land from cattle. This was the beginning of the reserve.
Paths have been created to allow one to walk freely in among the trees.
This is a native NZ flax with strange bright flowers growing on it. I couldn’t find the name tag for the plant alas.
By the time we arrived it had started to rain but the dense bush gave good shelter to us. At first I was surprised that there was little birdsong but once the rain stopped the birds came out and we saw many of them flying around. Native birds here include tui, kereru, fantail, silver eye, kingfisher, grey warbler and morepork.
We spent about an hour wandering the paths and taking photos with my trust i-phone – how I love that small phone. Then it was time to go home, but Madam aka Lotte and I shall return again soon.
Another exciting day for one small dog, comes to an end and she finds somewhere to rest her tired little legs.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?“