Native Planting Area
At the southern end of gardens bordering the fence line is an approximately 52 x 15 metre area devoted to New Zealand native plants and shrubs. Most of these plants are locally occurring in the Queenstown area.
The plantings were established thanks to the efforts of the community gardens members over many working bees. Some 564 trees and shrubs have been so far planted (as at May 2017).
The bulk of the plants were kindly supplied by the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust. Additional donations have come from the Otago Polytechnic Cromwell and Neal McAloon's backyard.
It may seem incongruous to have a native planting in a community garden, however, if you look at the gardens and its location it makes a lot of sense. Firstly, the gardens has the opportunity to actively help the wildlife in the Gorge Road area by providing foraging and nesting habitat. The gardens has a fence around it to keep out the wild goats and possums in the area so the trees and shrubs have an opportunity to establish without predation.
The gardens volunteers will, in time as the trees grow, actively trap stoats and rats to allow a safe nesting refuge for birds. This will enable birds to recolonise the Gorge Road area. Trees and plants have been selected for their insect habitat, fruiting and flowering characteristics to support a rich eco-system. These efforts will make the community gardens an even better and enjoyable place to garden.
As you look toward Queenstown from the gardens, the plants have been planted with flaxes, cabbage trees and toe toe on the lower slopes where the ground should be a little wetter. On the furtherest edge of the plantings are large beech trees and ribbonwoods which will form a canopy layer and act as a wind break for the smaller shrub and tree layer that borders the internal roads in the gardens.
An interpretive walk is also planned, in time, through the native planting to educate people to heighten understanding and increase the enjoyment of this area.
Trees and shrubs in the native planting area include:
- Pittosporum tenuifolium (pittosporum)
- Leptospermum scoparium (manuka)
- Kunzea ericoides (kanuka)
- Fuscospora cliffortioides (mountain beech)
- Olearia lineata (olearia)
- Olearia odorata (olearia)
- Coprosma virescens (coprosma)
- Coprosma propinqua (coprosma)
- Coprosma robusta (coprosma)
- Coprosma crassifolia (coprosma)
- coprosma rugosa (coprosma)
- Lophozonia menziesii (silver beech)
- Podocarpus laetus syn. P. hallii, P. cunninghamii (Hall's totara or mountain totara)
- Cordyline australis (cabbage tree)
- Phormium tenax (swamp flax)
- Phormium cookianum (mountain flax)
- Plagianthus regius (lowland ribbonwood)
- Austroderia spp. (toetoe)
- Sophora microphylla (kowhai)
- Hebe spp.
- Lophomyrtus obcordata (Rohutu, New Zealand myrtle)
The planting area - October 2016: