Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Will there be lupins?

7 Comments

That is the question I asked Tom when we’d booked the flights to New Zealand,  all  the websites and brochures I’d looked at showed photogenic images of luscious lupins, framing ice blue water and snow topped mountains. ‘ Yes, they are every where Mum’ he replied. Which is a bit of an issue, but we’ll come to that later, first, lupins. Enjoy.

Lupin 4 NZ

These images were taken at Lake Tekapo,  on South Island, the water  really is that blue, no filters here. In the distance Mount Cook and Mount Cook National Park. They were taken in November, so early summer for New Zealand

You can imagine how excited I was by this vista, Tom and Mr Uphilldowndale couldn’t stop sneezing though, but they tolerated the pollen long enough for me to play amongst the lupins and bag my very own lupin shots.

NZ Lupin close up

So how did they get here? The plant is native to  North America.

The story goes that,

As a schoolboy in 1949, Scott helped his mother, Connie Scott, of Godley Peaks Station, near Tekapo, scatter lupin seeds along the roadside. She bought about £100 worth from the local stock and station agent, hiding the bill from her husband for many months, hoping simply to make the world more beautiful.

1949, £100 of seed? That would have been an awful lot of money!

Maybe there is some artistic licence in that story?

NZ Lupin pink and blue_

Some see them as an invasive species.

The Russell lupin, Lupinus polyphyllus, hailing from North America, and used in a hybridisation program that subsequently gave it increased vigour, is such a mild-mannered and quintessential cottage garden plant here in the UK and a complete thug in New Zealand. Colonising streambanks, just like in the picture, they are taking over a habitat so important for New Zealand’s unique wildlife. Riverbed birds such as wrybill, black stilt and banded dotterel are being pushed out of their natural home by a garden plant introduced to New Zealand.

NZ Lupin_

and others see them as a valuable fodder for sheep

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZMCo) is drafting a new protocol to promote lupins as a high-country fodder crop, and seeking the support of Environment Canterbury, as well as conservation groups and farmers. It’s a bid to stay on the right side of environmentalists and ecologists who see lupins as an environmental time bomb.

 

NZ Lupin shore line_

I’ve tried growing them at home, I’ve never managed to get them established, they seem to be a slug magnet. The trip has inspired me to try again though, I’m confident they won’t be colonising the Todbrook reservoir though.

 

 

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

7 thoughts on “Will there be lupins?

  1. beautiful photographs. The colours and the scenery look fantastic.

  2. Such beautiful colours! Ok so it the lupins look rather unnatural in that setting, but they gorgeous nevertheless. I like the bold move of putting orange with purple, but I guess the lupins did that themselves, not Connie Scott.

  3. What a sight. Lupins grow well in our garden and are very well behaved too so I hope that you get some going.

  4. I’m sorry — the sight of all those lupins in NZ makes me quiver, and not in a good way. I’ve read too much about the damage they’ve done to the country. We have entirely too many plants that have been brought into the U.S. — for landscaping, for crop, for fencing — that have run amok and caused terrible problems. There aren’t enough sheep in the world to keep those lupines under control, just as we can’t seem to get control of our invasive plants.

    Of course, our state wildflower — collectively, five species of bluebonnet — also is a lupine. Since it’s native, it’s very well-behaved. I do hope that you can get some to prosper in your garden. They are beautiful.

  5. Wonderful post and pictures. I seem to recollect mum growing them but don’t see them often nowadays. xx

  6. Pingback: Brides on tour | Uphilldowndale

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