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Sunday Muddy Sunday!

Sunday, 22 May.

It had threatened to be a wet and stormy day but we received reports the sun was shining at Leigh so decided to head up for our planned weeding day.  We arrived at Tenetahi Rd shortly after 9.30am where we met Nola and John Harvey and helped them transport some plants down to the wetland area.  Richard Taylor, Arthur and Trish Gundy approached the valley from Pakiri Rd and continued weeding in that area.  After several days of torrential rain it was rather slippery and very muddy under foot and it was evident the from the flattened sedges that the stream had reached a high level during the heavy rain fall.  Nik planted the remaining sedges stream side and we planted some of the pratia angulata upstream.  We then headed back down the valley and started rolling a large area of tradescantia.  Further pratia was planted along with some eco-sourced sedges.  We packed up our tools at about 1.00pm when the weather started to turn.

In the afternoon I met with Chris Floyd from QEII and took him through parts of the covenant and to other areas of our project.  He provided some helpful advice regarding how best to approach various weed challenges; in particular controlling the tradescantia.  Like Cam, he was of the view that we should ensure this weed is cleared before planting to avoid the risk it becoming re-established.  He recommended a few drought-tolerant species for the Carlyon’s property including astelia.  All in all, a successful day.

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Transplanting Flaxes/Removing Large Privet trees

Sunday 15 May – 2 hours was spent splitting flaxes which had been donated by Sue Haigh  and planting them on the Carlyons property, along with some sedges.  The pratia angulata is looking very healthy, however, a number of weeds have become established within these plants and it was rather time-consuming digging them out.

On Thursday, 19 May and Friday 19 May, Cam spent several hours clearing weeds on the Harvey’s property (mainly chainsawing and pasting privet along the stream edges).  He said he had never seen such large privet trees.  The area has been opened up and will need to be planted as soon as possible before other weeds become established.

Sedges – controlling the invasion of Tradescantia

On Sunday 24 April, Trish and Arthur Gundy and Richard Taylor met with me in the valley (on the Harvey’s wetland area) to weed around the sedges planted last year.  The Council’s recommendation to plant sedges has proved to be a positive move.  While they were covered in convolvulus, there was very little Tradescantia amongst the plants.  While there are concerns regarding the ongoing management of this nuisance weed, the general view is that if we wait until the Tradescantia is fully under control before planting, we might all die of old age first, due to it recolonising from upstream every time there is a decent flood!  Tradescantia is well established further up Pakiri Rd which is a whole project in itself.

We therefore plan to continue planting sedges along the border of the stream and carry out hand-control where necessary.

The 4 of us spent 2 hours weeding.  We were so involved we forgot to take a before and after photograph.

Time series photographs of planted wetland area

Thanks to Richard Taylor, we have time-series of photographs of the restored wetland area on Julie Turner’s property (corner Tenetahi and Pakiri Rds) taken between 31/1/11 and 3/4/16.   The first 5 photographs were taken in 2011 when the area was fenced and Ponsonby Primary planted the first plants with Trees for Survival.  The other photographs show the effects of regular follow-up weeding which was carried out between 2012 and 2014 to ensure survival of the plants.  The final photograph shows how well established the plants have become and that all the hard work has paid off.   2011-01-31 (2) 2011-04-12 (2) 2011-05-24 (2) 2011-08-20 (2) 2011-12-06 (2) 2012-05-26 (2) 2012-06-15 (3) 2012-06-30 (2) 2013-07-30 (2) 2013-08-25 (2) 2014-02-06 (2) 2014-02-25 (2) 2014-06-29 (2) 2016-04-03 (2)

Creeping Convolvulus / Progress in the Valley

It has been a disappointing start to the year with the climatic conditions proving to be particularly weed-friendly.  Convolvulus became established over the plants on the Carlyons’ property despite two hand-clearing efforts in preparation for spraying.  Many other varieties of weeds including  mothplant also made their presence felt but the convolvulus formed a thick carpet over the plants.  No doubt this was due the fact this weed, which was already established at the top of the property, was disturbed in spring when Cam sprayed the area.  The muggy temperatures during February prevented us from doing much follow-up weeding and Cam was unavailable for most of the month.  While it had already been concluded that the selected plants (pratia angulata and muehlenbeckia) were  not hardy enough to compete with certain weeds and more suitable native plants needed to be planted instead, my heart sank when I saw the area two weeks ago.

However, it is easy to forget how many weeds we have removed including large areas of moth plant and eleagnus which were threatening to strangle the bush.  Patience is necessary and with regular follow-up spraying, a selection of more suitable plants, as well of regular control of weeds, our efforts will pay off.

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March has gone off to a promising start.  Cam carried out 14 hours of weeding in the valley and on the Carlyon’s property, cutting and pasting privet and other larger weeds and spraying tradescantia 1 metre from the stream edge.

Our first formal working bee for some time was held on Saturday 12 March.  We were thrilled to see how great the area was looking since we last worked there just under a year ago.  Thanks to our volunteers Richard Taylor, Nik Erikson, Trish and Arthur Gundy and John and Nola Harvey, a large area of Tradescantia further downstream was cleared.  Richard, Nik and I planted about 20 sedges in the early afternoon.  It was difficult for Richard to get a spade into the rocky stream banks and stream bed, so at times we resorted to using our hands.  I think the pratia angulata John Harvey has been propagating will be a good plant for this rocky area.

Nik set some further stoat traps and then we distributed some of the remaining sedges to other property owners.

We both worked for another 4 hours in the afternoon, finishing just before 7pm.  Nik mowed our lawns which came up to his knees and I carried out further weeding on the Carlyons’ and planted a few sedges around the surviving plants.

Our water pump at the bach was out of action so we were unable to have a nice shower after all our efforts.  We headed home very dirty and received some strange glances when we stopped in at a Japanese restaurant to pick up takeaways at around 8.30pm!

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First efforts for 2016

31/1/16 – 2 hours spent clearing a grove of privet using the cut and paste method.

4/1/16 – Spent 4 hours clearing weeds including privet, monthplant, ginger, African Clubmoss on McMullan’s while Chris formed a track to the ridge to assist with pest control.

5/1/16 – Spent 3 hours with Chris clearing the bottom track alongside the creek running from McMullan’s to the wetland area (harbour end).  Chris formed bridges with Manuka and I cleared a large area of mothplant.

6/1/16 – 8.30am start with Cam clearing privet while Chris formed a track from the ridge to the stream and then along the reek.  I was stung on the arm and then chased by a very aggressive German wasp.  Cam kindly located and eradicated the nest.  Cam and I later walked up the valley to survey the area and cleared a small number of weeds.  A decision was made to spray the majority of Tradescantia and clear it by hand streamside.

7/1/16 – 8.30 start.  Cam, Richard Taylor, his children (Troy and Kristin) and I transported some remaining wetland plants to the top of the catchment area.  The tradescantia and asparagus fern cleared from this area a year ago is becoming re-established.  We hand-cleared weeds and planted about 50 sedges.

8/1/16 – 8am start – 3 hours were spent weeding around plants on Carlyons which had become smothered with bindweed.  The Pratia Angulata is becoming established.  The Muehlenbeckia is taking a bit longer.  My work was cut short by a thunderstorm.

10/1/16 – 3 hours were spent weeding/spraying on our wetland area.  The sedges planted further up the valley were hand weeded.  Bindweed is once again a major problem.  Areas of Tradescantia and African Clubmoss were also cleared.

18/1/16 – 3 hours weeding around the flaxes and tea tree plants on the Carlyon’s.  Weeds area already becoming re-established around the Pratia Angulata and Muehlenbeckia

Fundraising Classical Guitar Concert

A fundraising classical guitar fundraising concert was held at The Vivian gallery on Sunday, 8 November. It was a very enjoyable occasion. The weather was brilliant and The Vivian proved to be the perfect location – a relaxing, beautiful atmosphere with great acoustics.

Internationally renowned guitarist, Bruce Paine, kindly donated his time to support the Baddeley’s Beach and Leigh Harbour Valley Society restoration projects. His performance was described as ‘stunning’ and ‘quite incredible’

If you would like to hear some of Bruce’s music, while supporting our fundraising efforts, you can purchase from him directly by emailing orders@bruce.paine.co.nz. Mention you are supporting the Leigh Harbour Valley or Baddeleys Beach projects and he will donate $5 from each CD sold to our restoration efforts. CD titles can be viewed on-line at www.brucepaine.co.nz. His CD’s are available to supporters for a special price of $25.

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September/October in Summary

On Monday, 7 September Chris and I spent 5 hours planting the sedges at the bottom of the valley and weeding around the existing plants.  On Sunday, 11 October 5 hours were spent weeding and spraying around plants on the Carlyons.  Unfortunately a number the plants (pratia angulata and Muehlenbeckia axillaris) which were positioned near the large pohutukawa were looking quite unhealthy, due to the dry conditions although I am hoping some of them will survive with a bit of TLC (and some watering).  The transplanted flaxes appear to be doing well.   On Friday, 23 October Trish Gundy and Richard Taylor joined Cam Rathe where they cleared and pasted privet along the stream edges.  Cam will continue this work throughout the valley.  On Monday, 26 October, Chris and I spent 4 hours planting the remaining sedges and weeding around plants on the Harvey’s property which had become covered in bind weed as well as plants on the wetland area at the bottom of the valley.

Along with Ngaire Wallen from the Baddeley’s and Buckletons Beach restoration group, Chris and I visited Cue Haven where we met the owners Tom and Mahrukh.  We were blown away by their wonderful restoration work on what was previously bare pasture with only a narrow strip of established native trees alongside a stream.  They clearly have incredible organisational skills and appear to be the experts in recruiting volunteers.  They work with a number schools and tertiary educational groups including students participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award programme, Unitec students as well as Auckland University students and other charitable trusts.  We also met their friends and neighbours at Mataia, Gill & Kevin Adshead, who were responsible for initiating The Forest Bridge Trust www.theforestbridgetrust.org.nz and Sue Cameron (a previous DoC employee who works for the trust).  Their vision is to create a pest and predator free green belt from the Kaipara Harbour to the Omaha Estuary.  They hope to soon be working with Leigh School which should have positive spin-offs for our project.  An enjoyable afternoon was spent sharing ideas and restoration experiences.

Kathryn and Chris Erikson during visit to Cue Haven

Kathryn and Chris Erikson at Cue Haven

Kathryn, Chris and Ngaire Wallen at Cue Haven

Kathryn, Chris and Ngaire Wallen at Cue Haven

Further Planting on Harveys

Unfortunately Chris and I had to cancel a planned trip to Leigh on Sunday, 16 August.   Thanks to our supportive team of volunteers, the working bee still went ahead.  6 volunteers (Arthur and Tricia Gundy, Sue Gibbings, Richard Taylor, John and Nola Harvey transported the plants to valley.  Two trips were required by 3 of the volunteers.  Tradescantia was cleared and an area alongside the stream was planted.  Weeding around existing plants was also carried out.  An enjoyable day was had by all.

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Planting Sedges on the Harvey’s

We were only expecting a couple of volunteers at our most recent planting day on Sunday, 26 July and were pleasantly surprised to be joined by an enthusiastic team of 6 (8 of us in total) including Frankie Hofland and her husband Nick; landowners at Pakiri.  Frankie is a co-ordinator for Trees for Survival and along with Nick is involved in the local Pakiri Landcare Group.

We met at 9.30am and carted the sedges further up the valley to the Harvey’s wetland area.  Approximately 10 square metres of tradescantia was cleared and planted with a selection of sedges.  In no time we had filled 3 large weed bags and were reminded what a mammoth task we have ahead of us.  The rain held off until 1.00pm when it became slippery under foot and we decided to call it a day.

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Weeding prior to planting

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Happy group of volunteers admiring a job well done

 

 

 

 

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Planted sedges