Things that go bump in the night

I was quite taken by this sight of epiphytes on a cornus tree down in the park. It is a natural occurrence here that I have written about before  – the establishment over decades of a matrix of interdependent growths spread by wind and birds which can thrive because of our particular climate.

Mark then asked me if I had seen the maple lawn. I hadn’t but there was the result of a branch on high collapsing under the weight of epiphytes, clipping the maple tree for which that small enclosure is named.

What you are looking at is somewhere close to three cubic metres of collapsed branch and epiphytic growth so there is a lot of it to clear. We had been watching that branch but as it was a good eight metres up and almost certainly rotten, the dangers of trying to remove it were potentially greater than leaving it to nature to take its course.

Even more two dimensional than it was just last week

I am amused by the small maple with its wonderful gnarled form. It has been somewhat one-sided for many years. In spring and summer, it forms a curtain of fine, burgundy foliage from its top to the base, but mostly on the side that faces the light. Now it is fully two dimensional. What few branches were on the shady side were snapped off by the falling debris. All I will do is trim any ugly, snapped branches back to the trunk. We can live with a fully one-sided maple tree.

This, too, will fall in due course

There is more to fall from above but it seems unlikely that will hit the little maple unless the remaining trunk snaps at the base. The tree beneath those epiphytes is a fairly unremarkable Australian native that neither Mark nor I can name, though Mark surprised me with the random information that he understands it has some culinary uses in traditional Aboriginal diets.

Sometimes I think that I forget to look up so this lovely sight above surprised me afresh, as it does every autumn. There is much to be said for a multi-layered garden as long as you keep looking at the various layers and not just at ground and eye-level.

Autumn at Tikorangi

8 thoughts on “Things that go bump in the night

  1. Susan Oliver

    felt an earthquake in new plymouth late last night – didn’t realise it was probably just your epiphytes crashing to the ground

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Things that fall here tend to land with an almighty whump whereas earthquakes mostly just shimmy shake. Didn’t feel the one last night.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      We get patches of colour. More a case of individual trees than a blaze of colour in the landscape. Still lovely, though.

  2. elainebolitho

    Hi Abbie,

    MOST Interesting to read about your prolific Taranaki epiphytes – here in our Khandallah garden we just have ferns, ferns and more ferns growing on the trunks of tree ferns (and popping up in the garden) . Occasionally hebes take root up on the trees too, but usually get pulled off. Cabbage trees just take root in the ground, along with pepper trees, rangiora, Kowhai etc – we are on the site of original native bush, not far from the Khandallah reserve where giant powelliphanta snails are very much at home – having been repositioned there in the 1940s.

    It’s a wonderful clear warm sunny day in Wellington – great for walking out to brunch and enjuoying the plantings outside the local restaurant window.

    Hope its fine where you are too.

    Elaine Bolitho

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Powelliphantas! They would be something to see alive and in a natural environment. I am surprised you don’t get native orchids, collospermum and astelias in such a rich environment. Lovely to hear from you, Elaine.

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