Spring blossoms early

By Roger Moroney

Winter has 32 days left to run before the first day of spring is celebrated - although it appears the plant world across parts of Hawke's Bay isn't prepared to sit around and wait that long to bring some colour to the landscape.

While the mountains to the west are smothered in snow, the Westminster Ave stretch of Tamatea which faces them is dotted with roadside blossoming fruit trees with one resident, who said she had lived there for "quite a few years now" saying the bloom was one of the earliest.

"It usually comes out toward the end of this month but this has been a bit earlier than usual," she said.

Her tree is an apricot, with plum trees on either side - while further along the avenue there are also peach trees.

"Most of the residents prune them and look after them themselves - and we get good fruit."

That however did not go unnoticed in the summer when people would stop and help themselves - some using rakes to dislodge the higher fruit.

"Which I don't mind too much, as long as they don't damage the tree."

Green buds, showing growth, have been spotted on other trees which did not usually begin to show signs until early August.

"There's no real pattern to it," Napier City Council Parks and Reserves manager Tony Billing said.

"It's entirely down to the weather. We've had a week of anti-cyclones with sunshine and little wind - you get a modicum of warmth and the sap starts to rise."

Mr Billing said while the blossoms of Westminster Ave were a little earlier than usual he spotted blossom emerging on one tree near the central city about three weeks ago.

Trees in Kennedy Rd have also begun to flower.

"The days are also now starting to get noticeably longer and the lambs are out and about."

He said the early arrival of the blossoms had an additional bonus apart from suggesting spring was almost here.

"It is good to see the bees out and about - that's a good sign."

The mild daytime weather is set to continue through to Friday when rain is forecast to arrive into the weekend.

Temperatures will remain mild from Sunday through to Tuesday with 17C-18C expected to accompany some showers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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