Have you ever taken a slow stroll on a Sunday afternoon, stopping briefly to view an old tree and wondering what it might have seen over the years? Was it there before the motorcar? Maybe even before the horse and carriage?
Stroll around parts of Invercargill and the answer is a resounding yes. Especially, if you happen to be strolling the Gladstone area. It’s there you’ll find the former home of John Turnball Thompson. The house itself is quite remarkable. But the garden is where the excitement is.
We’ll be sharing the story of this unique property, its gardens, and its legacy in an upcoming series of articles. In the meantime, we’d like to draw your attention to one particularly interesting tree found in the gardens.
Native to Eastern Europe, named after a German naturalist (Friedrich Parrot), and completely at home in New Zealand. It is thought to be one of the oldest street trees in the world! Early older street plantings can be veiwed in Iran and Eastern Europe.
The oval leaves are glossy, with a lustrous green hue during the summer months. The deep veins create a slightly quilted-like aesthetic, with the small rises and falls in the surface brilliantly able to reflect the light, bringing the foliage to life.
The green gives way to a kaleidoscope of colour in Autumn, as rust, copper and golden hues compete for your attention. Spread broadly on branches that reach away from the short trunk, this is a tree that spreads its display for a widescreen show. That display will hold for several weeks, even months, before finally giving way to its deciduous nature. A mature specimen will reach 6 x 4 metres.
Vivid flame like foliage of the Parotia persica – Persian Hazel