Saturday 10 December 2011

Lupins galore

Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country, South Island, New Zealand

Our first view of turquoise Lake Tekapo was soon after Burke’s Pass, ~500 m. We were in picture postcard territory but what interested me were the lupins by the roadside; the rest of the country is either pasture fields or conifer plantations. By the time we arrived at our Holiday Park by the lake shore the lupins Lupinus polyphyllus had come down from the slopes right to the lake’s shore.

Absolutely amazing display of colour predominantly purple and deep blue, but pink, brown, yellow and white flowers were also there. Sweet scent. What a view for breakfast!

Lake Tekapo view from the campsite

I wasn’t the only tourist out with a camera...

Boys jumping for joy
This picture was taken along the path to the village which was bordered not just with lupins but with other garden escapes like the Californian poppy Eschscholzia californica. Both plants are mentioned as baddies in a little booklet that I’ve been given by the Department of Conservation: PLANT ME INSTEAD! Published by Weedbusters, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-9582844-1-7
There it says that both garden escapes invade river systems and destroy nesting sites for some endangered native birds.   

Plants growing by the lake shore
On the picture above one can see clearly how they have established themselves on the lake’s shingle shore. Indeed a very successful colonization. Just think how difficult it would have been if one had wanted to start a garden in just a place! 

By the village it seems that they are trying hard by landscaping with native plants.

Tussock grasses in the background, lupins in the foreground

Closer view of native tussock grasses vs lupins. And birch trees
Which one would you have?
According to someone we talked to, the locals like the lupins. They even export the seeds; but in conservation areas they are sprayed. 
Other naturalised plants we have seen: verbascum, thistles, viper's bulgloss, lots of yellow daisies, broom, various grasses, pine trees, larch, sycamore, willow, birches, flowering plums, etc.
Just guess about the birds? Well, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, chaffinches and even skylarks are filling the skies with their song. I must say, I find all this a bit disconcerting.     

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