PEEL FOREST TRIP – Saturday 14th December

Trip Leaders: Heather and Alister

Trip Report: Rod

It was a group of around 15 of us that met up on a cloudy, but mild day for coffee at the Green Man Cafe, located in Peel Forest, before beginning the day.

Peel Forest is a small community in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. It is located near the Peel Forest Park Scenic Reserve. The Acland family have farmed this area for many years and are keen conservationists.

We were advised of a couple of locations for the lilies, but the best display by far was in the gardens of the Peel Forest homestead, located in the grounds of the local church. The church itself was a beautiful site on this day, settled on the top of a small hill.  The church is known as The Church of the Holy Innocents, possibly named due to a number of very young children buried in the grounds. Earthquake repairs complete, the stained glass windows and sense of peace in the church was quite something.

What a beautiful display it was of these Himalayan Lilies (also known as Peel Forest Lilies).  There were hundreds in bloom, nestled in the shade of large, English trees. This is their preferred place to grow.  Eager photographers took pictures not just of the lily flowers but also of their stunning heart shaped leaves.  Cardiocrinum giganteum is the Latin name for these beauties, cardio of course relating to the heart. Ellen mentioned that the seeds were blown from a glasshouse in the area, some years ago during a storm and settled under the trees where they grow so well today.

Following this we all met for lunch on the Te Whanahu flat. By this time the sun was out and it was quite warm. Some of us took off to see the big tree and what a stunning tree it was.  It can be a bit hard to tell the difference between the Kahikatea and the Totara, but this big tree was certainly Totara, with an extremely wide girth and apparently 1,000 years old.

Many thanks to Heather and Alister for organising this very interesting trip.

Himalayan Lilies
Rod Walker: Peel Forest Lily