It had been raining lightly for various periods before and during our visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens, four days ago now and of the overcast skies, of course, provided an ideal softbox effect for the myriad flora that grow there. Especially striking for us were a few groups of tall, brilliant, and obviously flourishing poppies, which we at first thought were the California variety (Eschscholzia californica), but an identification sign corrected our understandable error; they were, in fact, Icelandic poppies (Papaver nudicaule). It was also quite breezy, which made it a challenge to catch the long-stemmed flowers in a moment of relative rest. The white one, fortunately was in the wind shadow of a nearby hedge, and the orange one had nestled into the maze of branches of an adjacent shrubby tororaro (Muehlenbeckia astonii), which is called MingiMingi by the indigenous Māori; the word translates as “twisted.” This is a plant that we would like to grow in our own garden. It’s a hardy endemic shrub that grows naturally in coastal areas of New Zealand, around Wellington (at the southern end of the North Island) and in the eastern part of the northern half of the South Island. It grows up to 2½ meters tall and lends itself very nicely to topiary trimming. (As usual, click on a photo if you’d like to see it in higher resolution.)
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The white poppy looks somewhat like the white prickly poppy we have in Austin. I’m sorry I never got to see any Muehlenbeckia astonii on our two visits to NZ. I see the possibility for abstractions with it.
It looks so full of potential; CD is very eager to see what we can do with it.
The poppies are lovely, but the MingiMingi blows my mind! Normal for you maybe, but amazing to me! I will now google it.
It’s very interesting. MingiMingi is a rather general term that is used for several varieties of plants with diverticulated (“twisted”) stems. As you google it, some in the genus Coprosma are likely to come up, but there are more as well. I hope to do more studies of this one.
The MingiMingi looks like something from Mars! What an unusual and beautiful shrub. The poppies are rather beautiful, too.
If we can get it to grow here in our garden, it could be an exciting addition.
When I saw the MingiMingi, my first thought was of piled tumbleweeds, which take that same shape naturally — the better to tumble.
The natural shape and structure are quite similar, though these are quite a bit larger and are, of course, firmly rooted. But the comparison is well-founded.
Beautiful pictures, Gary – that of the white poppy and its associated greenery being simply exquisite. :)
I don’t mind telling you that that I have CD to thank for this one–she spotted it first and called it to my attention, while I was back trying to get a good shot of the orange one without a tripod. I’ll be sure to let you know that it was your favourite.
Beautiful poppies of course, but that MingiMingi is something else. I myself am not a fan of topiary but can see that it would be an outstanding medium for those who do. It also looks like it would make an almost impenetrable hedge for anything larger than a squirrel.
Even squirrels would definitely have a hard time with this. It’s probably not very hospitable for anything much larger than a small gecko.
Yesah, those insurance salesmen are pretty determined buggers.
Love your photo of the white poppy sitting there so demurely next to the greenery; very pretty. It – and particularly the orange variety – are very much like our Welsh Poppies which I thought were Papaver but are actually Meconopsis Cambrica and indigenous to Europe.
Thank you! I keep trying to imagine a whole field of these–a flashback to that unforgettable scene in The Wizard of Oz.
What a treat this is, and what a pleasure it must have been to visit a botanical garden – I’m envious. Icelandic poppies are always delightful, as are the California ones and just about any other poppies! But oh, the Mingi-Mingi – that is outrageous! I hope you can get a few for your garden. What fun! Thank you!
You’re very welcome, and I really hope to be able to bring you some Mingi-Mingi at some point in the not-too-distant future. We’re planning some serious back-garden renovation and hope that can be an integral part of it. Stay tuned.