The kowhai have been in incredible bloom this year. Or maybe they’ve always bloomed like that, and it’s the first year I’ve noticed. Every tree had huge yellow bell shaped flowers in such abundance.

Why have I noticed it this year? Much of my work in the last 18 months has been with scientists in the environmental sector. As such I’ve, by osmosis, learned a lot more about our native flora. Very few plants native to NZ have coloured flowers, most just having small white flowers. Many people see NZ bush as being uninteresting, and all the same. Once you spend some time with it though, different textures, shapes and hues emerge out of what seemed an homogenous green. Many of the leaves are small and the branches variegated. All of this means that you look at the bush more closely to identify and appreciate what’s there. It forces you to become more focused, intent, and discerning. So when the kowhai blooms with its vivid swath of yellow, it’s all the more impressive. It’s such a contrast that it leaps out and grabs you, at least it does for me.

So maybe its OK to be focused on what you’re doing. It can make beauty that much more intense when it appears. Just make sure you do look up and see the flowers from time to time.


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