Cardrona Station

There’s a frontier feel to Cardona.  Like the last outpost of some great adventure story, where explorers gather to share tales of discovery as they unwind, their weathered faces forming uncharacteristic smiles.  Which may have been the very scene in the 1860’s within the clapboard Cardona Hotel. 

Against this most rugged of New Zealand Alpine settings, the Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ grows upright and narrow.  Also known by the rather magnificent name ‘European Hornbeam’ (you can almost imagine there was once an adventurer called ‘Captain Hornbeam’) it’s a very hardy tree whose own personality is so suited to the environment.  Indeed, it’s hardwood was once used to make yoke for oxen.  

As the Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ grows, eventually to a height approaching 8 metres, it produces dark green leaves that reach to the pyramidal or oval shaped crown at the top.  In Autumn, that strong green colour will change to a more gentle yellow, before eventually resting as a rather delicate orange. 

By contrast, the Prunus sub.autumnalis – Southern Gem’ works to soften the rugged edges.  A cherry tree with an exceptionally long blooming season, from late Autumn through until early spring, it has these wonderfully delicate clusters of pale-pink to white flowers.  As the flowers finally fade, they are replaced with pea-sized black fruits which attract ravenous birds throughout the summer months.  It’s an elegant, deciduous tree ideally suited to situations where it might warm the senses and provide balance to trees of strength and stature.  

Together at Cardona, the trees are a nod to the heritage of the area, whilst forging a new legacy which signifies a welcoming outpost.  One which retains just enough of the frontier feeling to make you feel as if you are living an adventure.  But with more smiles.