Last Sunday (October 7th) a group of keen volunteers put over 50 native plants in the ground at Korimako Corner
including nationally vulnerable Olearia fimbriata and nationally endangered Olearia hectorii.
Korimako Corner is located at the Clyde end of the Rail Trail carpark at the corner of SH8 and Springvale Road. It is Haehaeata’s own planting project. It is both a dryland planting experiment and a living herbaria of wild sourced dryland local native plants. The climate is extreme, very hot, cold and exposed; a very tough environment for plants. This former railyard site has extremely difficult soil conditions with underlying ballast, tarseal, coal and rubbish. Volunteers began planting in spring 2016, and further plantings have followed in autumn and spring 2017 - 2018. There are now over 700 plants of 26 species in the ground, wild sourced from local native plants.
The planting is not irrigated and last summer a group of very dedicated volunteers hand watered the plants to keep them alive in extremely hot, dry year.
We are calling for volunteers to start up a watering roster again. It’s a pleasant job to water a small area once a week. If you’d like to help with this please contact us.
Last night's meeting in Cromwell gave us an opportunity to talk about our Curious Minds native plant/soil fungus project with Department of Botany, University of Otago at the "Sharing of Knowledge Workshop" focused on landscape-scale native vegetation restoration projects in Central Otago/Lakes Districts.
What had started as a small focus group for mycorhizzae research blossomed into a gathering of more than 70 like-minded, hard-working, people trying to bring native biodiversity back to the Central Otago District Council and the Queenstown Lakes District Council areas.
Thanks to Hilary for organisation and Cathy for images.
It’s hard for us in Central Otago to imagine what the pre-human vegetation looked like. The ravages of human-induced fire, domestic and feral mammalian herbivores and invasive weed species have almost completely erased our forest, but not quite everywhere.
A recent field trip to the Lauder Basin Conservation Area took us back in time to a lush Broadleaf-Totara forest. Paleobotantist Mike Pole shared his expert knowledge of pre-human flora and fauna with us. It was cold and we got wet feet but all agreed it was worth the trek to see this protected rocky gorge.
Thanks to Duncan and Raf for scoping the area and liasing with the landholder. If you missed out on this trip we hope to revisit the area in spring.
This field trip completes our Seed Fund Investigation through the Otago Participatory Science Platform which is a collaborative partnership involving: Otago Museum (lead and host institution), Ngāi Tahu, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, NZ International Science Festival.
Thanks to: Craig Grant and the Otago Science Into Action (OSIA) Board; David Orlovich, Cathy Rufaut and the Otago University Botany Department; John Barkla and Craig Wilson, Department of Conservation; Bill Lee, Landcare Research; and the Knight and Shaw families for access to their properties.
If you could go back in time to see Otago before the impact of humans it would look something like the Rongahere Gorge. A small group of Haehaeata Trust volunteers recently took a field trip to a privately owned property on the left bank of the Clutha River that still retains its rare mixed beech forest. This was part of the investigation to find out about pre-human plant species and the relationships they have with each other and with topography eg, the difference between the sunny and shady faces, and the slopes and the flats.
The area was logged up until 1953. Beech logs were removed by floating down the Clutha. Amazingly there are still huge specimens of Kahikatea, Matai and Lowland Totara with relict large beech trees. A stunning array of subcanopy species has survived and are regenerating where deer have been excluded. On the drier sites huge Kanuka, Kowhai, Ti kouka (cabbage tree), Halls Totara, Prickly Mingimingi and the at risk shrub Teucridium. The vegetation supports a healthy bird population with Kereru (wood pigeon), Piwakawaka (fantail), Karearea (falcon) and many Korimako (bellbird) seen and heard on the day.
While it was disappointing to realise this is the only remaining example of its type along the length of the river from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific Ocean, what we saw on the field trip gives us a good idea of the plants that could have been in specific habitats prior to humans arriving in Central Otago.
Thyme Festival participants from "Bring Back The Birds" admire the Olearia's they have just planted using the Dry-land Planting Technique.
Seed collection for next year's plants is under way. Another successful day hunting plants.
Thanks to those landowners who give us permission to explore their properties for native plant remnants!
Some of the finds; another big (well, biggish) kowhai out in the hills - 31cm DBH and showing severe damage; probably wind but could be lightning. Also korokio and fool's beech.
Thanks to Joe and Abi for photographs.
#sophoramicrophylla #corokiacotoneaster #gaultheriaantipoda #nznativeplants #nzdrylands#centralotago
Central Otago District Mayor, Tim Cadogan, visited the nursery on a fact-finding mission and then accompanied us on a seed collection trip.
We are grateful to Tim for sharing his time with us and we look forward to his next visit.
(And we hope to see our native dryland biodiversity featuring in CODC documents and in parks and reserves!!!)
Winners of Best Large Trade Display at the Central Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Show 2017!
A collaboration of MAD4CO members representing Waste Minimisation, Love Food Hate Waste NZ, Sustainable Living and Clyde Railhead Community Eco-Nursery.
Thanks to all who participated!
The rain is great for the plants but not for people and the forecast wind will make it even more unpleasant.
So today's working bee is postponed until next Sunday, 29 January.
(Image from - https://earth.nullschool.net/)
We are a group of volunteers working to bring eco-sourced dryland native plants to parks, reserves and home gardens in Central Otago.
Volunteer with us
We have regular working bees on: