Planting post COVID

In late 2020, I think a lot of us were feeling it; the urge to get out and move on from the restraints of COVID lockdowns and all the associated concerns.

In the last week of August, a large group of Wellingtonians made the pilgrimage across to the Bay and, along with some locals, let loose their pent-up energy to plant 1,200 trees over two quite different sites.

Planting super tough species on the explosed spur facing northwest below the Great Expectations pine block

It was a wild time planting 200 native trees down the exposed spur. We planted: flax, puahou (five finger), akeake, kānuka, kāpuka and kōhūhū. We’ll be monitoring this site with great interest, and any species that survive the challenging conditions of the area – and particularly those that flourish – we’ll be looking to plant more of in future. So, the word is out; start growing now!

Obviously, the site wasn’t as daunting as we anticipated – or at least, not for these two intrepid backpackers who joined us (but remain known only as the ‘cool hats backpackers’)!

Thanks to Bevan and Gera and Chris and Bob from Nelson; Geoff, Maryann, Marilyn, Jeff, Bronnie, Richard, Nicole, Jonathan and the ‘cool hats backpackers’ for their awesome efforts scrambling all over this site.

The next site to be planted was a big area near the connector track, which avoids a bit of road section for the historic track at the top of the project. This sits about 450 m above sea level and faces east. The bulk of the plants went into this site. The planters involved in blitzing this large area included Amy Thornborrow, Phil Castle, Ricky and Corina Ward and Paul Kilgour of Golden Bay; Helen, Jeff, Marilyn, Bronnie, Nicole, Richard, Geoff, Jonathan, Terry, Merryn, Ann-Louise, Evan, Stuart, Rick, Winnie, John and Andrew of Wellington. Here are a few pics of the team in action …

The site had been sprayed months earlier to remove rank grass and make the planting easier.
Each plant needed a plastic guard to protect it from weeds, wind and pests that might want to nibble at it. The guard also makes it easier to find the plant again months later once the weeds have grown up again.
The ground wasn’t as easy to work as Marilyn and Richard are making it look – there were rocks and holes hidden all over the place.
Nicole is standing in an area of trees we planted in 2017. It looks like they’ve finally settled in and should take off from now on.

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