Friday, November 29, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

While in Auckland I visited the Wintergarden where they had two huge glass houses. Inside one they had Victoria amazonica  which is well known for its huge circular leaves, which are often pictured with a small child sitting supported in the center as a demonstration of their size and strength. The species is highly prized as an ornamental, despite having somewhat particular requirements for successful cultivation. Native to tropical South America, Victoria amazonica was first discovered in Bolivia in 1801 and named Eurgale amazonica. It was subsequently moved to a new genus named in honor of Queen Victoria (originally as Victoria regia). In South America it grows in the backwaters of rivers in the Amazon basin, the Guianas and the Pantanal. The enormous circular leaves, which grow to over 2.5 m across, have upturned rims and are anchored by long stalks arising from an underground stem buried in the mud of the river bottom. The leaves first appear as spiny heads but expand rapidly up to half a square meter per day. The upper surface has a rather quilted appearance and a waxy layer that repels water. The purplish red under-surface has a network of ribs clad in abundant sharp spines, possibly a defense against herbivorous fishes and manatees. Air trapped in the spaces between the ribs enables the leaves to float. They are so buoyant that they can easily support the weight of a small child, and a mature leaf can support 45 kg if the load is evenly distributed. In a single season, each plant produces some 40 to 50 leaves, which cover the water surface and exclude light, thus restricting the growth of most other plants. While I shot many images of this plant, this is my favorite.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

This image was taken at the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial in Auckland.

Monday, November 25, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

My next destination was the vibrant city of Auckland. This sign was too humorous to pass up.

Friday, November 22, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Here is one last view of Tauranga showcasing its wide crescent shaped beach with Mount Maunganui in the background.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

You gotta love the color of the South Pacific waters.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

It was a gorgeous day and the trail around the mountain offered many pleasant views.

Monday, November 18, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Then we were off to our next destination which was Tauranga (within the Bay of Plenty). Here we went on a hike around Mount Maunganui.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Within the Wellington Botanic Garden is the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. It is set around a heritage fountain and this formally styled rose garden has over 3,000 roses. I will be showcasing my five top images from this collection this week. Today is Monday Yellow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013