26 September 2008

princess fiona

The Gardens of Larnach Castle / Dunedin, New Zealand
Larnach Castle is New Zealand's only castle and sits on the ridge of Otago Peninsula, offering incredible views of the peninsula and Dunedin harbor. The castle was built in 1871, taking three years to complete the exterior and twelve to finish the interior. It was constructed by William Larnach, a prominent entrepreneur and politician in colonial New Zealand, as a gift to his wife. After a series of personal and financial disasters he committed suicide in New Zealand's Parliament Buildings in October 1898. Sadly, the castle suffered a similar demise and fell into disrepair until it was purchased by Barry and Margaret Barker in 1967. Together, the Barker family has beautifully restored both the castle and its acres of beautiful gardens. We stayed at the castle for two nights where I found the grounds particularly enticing for shooting photos. According to Fiona, the castle's Head Gardener, the berries shown here are the fruit of Solanum laciniatum, more commonly known on the islands as poroporo (North Island) or bullibulli (South Island) - both Maori names. The unripe berries are poisonous but the ripe berries were used by both Maori and early European settlers to make jam. Thanks Princess Fiona!

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