8/7/12 – A glorious day in paradise and perfect weather for weeding in preparation for the forthcoming planting day with Trees for Survival volunteers. Our trusty volunteer, Richard Taylor was the only person who turned up. Chris got to work with his weed eater. Richard and I got to work with our Niwashis. My ears pricked up when I heard a car stop at the top of the hills and doors opening and shutting, only to discover it was a couple collecting firewood. After 2 1/2 hours the area was prepared for the planting day scheduled for 27 July.
Chris and I collected the first trailer load of trees from Takapuna Intermediate on Saturday, 16 June and delivered them to Leigh on Monday morning so they could acclimatize before the scheduled planting day on 27 July.
There are approximately 600 more to collect. They are healthy specimens and considerably taller than the ones planted last year.
This was one of our most successful planting weekends so far, thanks to the sunny, calm weather and the brute strength of 6 enthusiastic Auckland Grammar rowing boys.
The morning of day one was spent clearing weeds and planting on Julie Turner’s property (cnr Tenetahi and Pakiri Rds).
The afternoon was spent shifting plants down to the valley and rolling/bagging Tradescantia.
On day two we returned to the valley and spent another 2 hours planting and filling 9 of the 10 bags.
The boys spent a further 2 hours weeding and planting on the Lees/Scotts property.
Thanks to our volunteers Jo Evans and Sue Gibbings, Richard Taylor, Rupert Harrison, Julie Turner, Dexter, Narvin, Felix, Niklas, Chris and Zeke.
Thanks also to the Mums who assisted with preparing meals and to the Lees and Scotts who kindly offered their cottage as accommodation for the volunteers.
Further weeding and spraying was carried out on Monday morning before heading back to Auckland.
Chris and I met with Richard Taylor on Sunday 27/5/12 to carry out some weeding on the wetland area at the corner of Tenetahi and Pakiri Rds which was planted by Ponsonby Intermediate last year.
The plants are doing extremely well, despite competing with kikuya. Chris sprayed at one end of the area while Richard and I released the plants at the other end. After an hour it started to rain so we packed up and headed to the wetland area to position the 5 composting bags in preparation for next weekend’s planting day with Auckland Grammar boys. Richard and I partly filled three bags to secure them and completely filled one. We soon realised we will need to purchase more bags. However, the area certainly looked a lot clearer after just over an hour of weeding.
Spent an hour weeding at the bottom of Tenetahi Rd (the concrete driveway).
Met with Chris Floyd, the QEII representative who carried out an inspection of the covenanted land on our property.
Chris is a lovely chap who shares my passion for weed control and most of his inspection was spent pulling out weeds.
Chris joined us for a late lunch at the brown cottage. Thanks Linda and Allen for your kind hospitality.
I recently came across this photograph taken about 17 years ago in the valley.
It is a reminder of how much progress we have made with planting. The area was previous grazed and, as you can see, Niklas is almost knee deep in kikuya.
Arthur, Tricia and I met with David Wilson from DoC to show him how the Weedbusters funds are being spent. Anita, Emily and I spent 2 1/2 hours in the valley rolling Tradescantia and replacing it with eco-sourced Parataniwha.
The afternoon was spent weeding on our property while Chris replaced the stairs washed away in the slips of early 2011.
If any local residents heard a blood curdling scream, it was me after discovering we have successfully caught our third stoat.
Friday 6/4/12 – Spent several hours with brother Keith dividing and replanting sedges and flaxes on the Dingle’s wetland area. In the afternoon released plants from the kikuyu on Sir Duncan McMullin’s property.
Saturday 7/4/12 – Glorious weather for our 2nd working bee of the year and a great turn-out which was extremely heartening. Thanks to all our volunteers Jo Evans, John Haigh, Rupert Harrison, Keith Paine, Alistair and Margaret Scott, Neil Sutherland, Richard Taylor, Troy and Kristin, Pete Watkinson and Anita Erikson (the official photographer). Further progress was made. Tradescantia was rolled, weed mat positioned and about 50 eco-sourced wetland plants planted. The plan is to place as much tradesantia as possible in large black polythene bags.
In the afternoon Keith and I headed down to the valley again to split up and replant some more sedges.
Sunday 8/4/12 – Another beautiful day. Spent more time spot spraying and weeding on Sir Duncan McMullin’s property in preparation for the next Trees for Survival volunteer day. The afternoon was spent carrying out further weeding on our property. Chris plans to re-build the steps which were destroyed in the last major slips.
Monday 9/4/12 – Further weeding and spraying on Sir Duncan McMullin’s property. While the progress report might sound a bit repetitive, the photographs show we are winning the war on weeds.
We are finally making progress in the valley. A total of 32 hours involving 6 volunteers was spent weeding the wetland area on the Dingle’s property from late January to early February. Thanks to Keith and Alexander Paine, Ian Paine, Margaret Young and James Young for all their efforts. Thanks also to Ian Paine for donating 6 rolls of weed mat and pegs. 7 society members including Sue Haigh, Sue Gibbings, Jo Evans, Richard Taylor, Pete Watkinson and Niklas Erikson headed down to the valley after the AGM on Sunday 12 February where 2 hours were spent positioning the weedmat over the tradescantia and weeding alongside the stream, as well as placing cardboard around the trees. It certainly is a lot easier when you have a team approach! Note the progress since the first photograph of Margaret Scott, Ian, Niklas and Alexander was taken working in the area in October. The second photograph taken on 12/2/12 was taken from the other direction. I must remember to photograph from the same position!
While the dismal summer weather, particularly the relentless, heavy rainfall, meant less time at the beach, on a positive note we haven’t had to worry about watering any of the trees. I had promised the family there would be no weeding this Christmas holiday but a bush walk in early January soon changed that. I stared at a whole lot of moth plant seedlings and resisted until Anita, my 13 year old daughter said “go on, I know you want to”. 40 minutes later I was still digging and pulling! By the end of the week we had progressed to clearing weeds in the valley. Bindweed has once again taken hold in the wetland area and has strangled a number of smaller trees planted in the valley last year. This is a particularly nasty vine and next year we plan to spray the area in late November.
Liz Watkinson had great success with her Helpex workers – 2 young men (a Venezuelan followed soon after by a chap from the USA). An English couple are due to arrive in early March. Apparently they are keen gardeners; which sounds promising.
Sue Crawshay from Trees for Survival inspected the plants which were planted on Sir Duncan McMullin’s property, and was very impressed. She managed to uncover a few of the smaller trees which had become lost under the kikuya, despite our weeding efforts, and she has recommended we use longer stakes in future (at least 900 mm). Sue has radar vision when it comes to spotting weeds, as I discovered when we went on a bush walk.
Peter Wyatt has approached the society about fencing the catchment area on his property along Pakiri Rd, and an application for funding is currently underway.
A fencing contractor will be commencing work on Mrs Wainwright’s property at the end of January.