NZ Native Forest Takes Root in Seattle
A New Zealand forest exhibit has opened at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, the first of five eco-geographic forests to be completed in the Pacific Connections Garden, which eventually will cover 14 acres and be the largest exhibit of its kind in North America.
Officials from the Seattle Parks Department, the Arboretum Foundation and the University of Washington Botanical Gardens, believe the forest is home to the largest single collection of New Zealand plant species outside the country.
Of the 10,000 plantings, there are tea trees and pepper plants with pungent leaves, lemon wood, a tiny fuchsia capable of growing to 40 feet, another so small it looks like curling ground cover.
Along the rocky paths in the forest exhibit is an ipe-wood bench carved in Maori designs by New Zealander Caine Tauwhare.
“The wood had a mind of its own,” Tauwhare said. “I greet the wood like a friend. Then I beat the heck out of it and form a bit of a relationship.”
What emerges are carvings that capture the stories of the mother Earth and father sky and man’s relationship to both, and a reminder to be grateful for the gifts from nature – like the “gift of a spider web,” he said.