Welcome to the PRG Diary page, a brief summary of the latest work down in the valley and also a chance to add opinions, thoughts and ideas about the project.
|Posted by pat on January 22, 2018 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
Incredibly hot morning these weeks.
Derek is putting further work into his section overgrown with mainly honeysuckle and gorse. Martin and I and last week Thomas, Gigi, Martin and I tackled the remnants of what was called the Peace Garden.Since this was started it has not been able to be attended and everything is covered in bindweed and convolvulus.
We found two new Kauri that are doing pretty well. Thankfully neither of the newly uncovered trees had had the tips weighed over and permanently bent.
We found an outline of planning in the area, someone had laid punga logs to shape the space. I nearly sprained my ankle as they were covered and/or grown over. I was able to clear some of them to perhaps perceive the original plan.
A large Macrocarpa near the school playing field had fallen down and the path had been blocked. Martin had to trim branches fin order for us to be able to proceed.
|Posted by pat on January 9, 2018 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Well what an interval between posts. Sorry about that.
Many new things happening. Thomas and Gigi have joined us as a volunteers. It is so good to have extra people to tackle the huge proliferation of bindweed and other creepers encroaching on the area. The longed for rain and the heat has made the growth of climbers a danger to the smaller plants and even to established growth..
Derek, Martin and Pat are still weeding away. Derek has been with us for over 2 years now. What a difference he has made. He has adopted his own area which was previously covered with Honeysuckle.
As November in Auckland had no rain at all we were looking at the prospect of dying plantings. Martin and his employers, Plant and Food had made a video of Kenyan farmers enhancing their Avocado trees to increase yeild. They placed a 20ltr bottle beside each tree with a pin prick in it to provide a slow, steady, constant supply of water to each tree. We decided to follow this example and called several companies to seek out free bottles.
Two companies were absolute stars and gave us free bottles. One company provided 800ltr barrels that had had shampoo in them. This was the Auckland Drum Company The other company, Bottles Ltd in East Tamaki, provided over 50 10ltr bottles that were rejects. We pin pricked each bottle, filled it with water and placed it next to each plant we were trying to save. The Hebes are the worst affected in this type of situation. The larger containers act as way stations as no water reaches the midvalley onwards.
Having five people to pull and cut is a huge advantage and provides the capacity for us to watch and support more areas. In this way those areas do not fall off the radar and we get to them before plantings are killed by the vines. In the area we cleared last week one quite large tea-tree had died from vine infestation.
If you would like to join us come along to the rear carpark at Selwyn College each Sunday at 8.30am, it would be great to see you. We do two hours work - no more.
|Posted by pat on October 14, 2017 at 10:10 PM||comments (1)|
Derek was not with us this week. Martin and Pat spent the time doing mega weeding. The weeds are rampant but the soil is still soft so it is not too difficult. The top of the mini slope and the bottom of Derek's slope were the focus of this energy,
In previous weeks we have continued to free up the vegetation from another planted area further down the valley where the Kauri was permanently bent.
Total joy. We saw two small dragonflies. I have not seen one in Auckland for years. Our stream must be good for them and the valley canopy is certainy increasing.
|Posted by pat on September 12, 2017 at 5:40 PM||comments (1)|
Derek has returned and has been very energetic on his return to working in the valley. Unfortunately Stephanie has had to leave us for a couple of months as she has personal issues to solve.
The amount of water in the valley makes it pretty dangerous navigating around the vsrious weeding areas needing attention. Last week was just too wet.The previous week saw Pat slipping over a couple of times.
However that was the week we located an area that had been planted and left. It had a very sprightly Kauri that had been so smothered by creeper in the summer/autumn that the growing tip had bent right over. Several Woolly Nightshade inspired the guys to set about with vigour and demolished the lot. Water logged conditions had killed a couple of Whau and a number of Five Finger. We will keep an eye on this area and incorporate it into our schedule as it is stupid to let trees like Kauri be killed off by neglect.
The weeds are shooting up and are a real challenge. So a recent visit from CVNZ was very welcome. Their ongoing help is vital to the management of the valley. This visit they attacked emerging spring creeper near the felled Macrocarpa and the help was so appreciated. We are only 3 persons and we cannot get to all the areas we would like to tackle. See CVNZ here.
Sustainable Coastlines at Drury are having a olanting day and looking for volunteers. See them here. Are you able to help them create a bush strip?
The renewed trapping cycle has caught a possum and several rats and mice. Great work guys.
|Posted by pat on August 15, 2017 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
Derek will be back with us very soon. His valley site offers him a real challenge after the torrential rain we have had. We have transfered valley seedlings to this area and although it is a water run off site we may have made enough channels for the seedlings to grow and not drown. They are Lacebark from the edge of the gravel path below the bank.
Many Lacebark seedlings from Pat's place were also big enough to bring back for the season. Coprosma has also been transplanted. Last weekend we put the rest on the far side of the Mini slope. Very hard to keep ones balance as the area is so wet it is hard to stand. All the seedlings came from the Valley floor.
A lot of weeding has been done as this is the time it is easiest. The soil is so water logged the grasses come out easily. Even the Marshmallow creeper comes out roots and all.
A lot of finches and Tui around, Fantails are more common as we work. The trapping has started again and the trappers report less animals are turning up in the traps. The birdsong at the bottom of the valley has increaed in volume quite markedly. So it seems the trappers have made a tremendous difference to the bird population of the valley.
A review walk around shows that plantings in the upper areas near the fenced field have made great growth spurts. We arelooking for Whau to increase the canopy areas and cut down on the weed growth. We have found a huge variation in the growth rates of Whau in various areas of the valley. Can only put it down to soil type.
|Posted by pat on May 21, 2017 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Today we welcomed Stephanie and Carolyn who are considering joining the Sunday weeding group.
Having more volunteers opens up more opportunities to restore this bush so thank you very much for your support!
|Posted by pat on April 29, 2017 at 10:20 PM||comments (0)|
It is exciting to announce that we are now officially an Incorporated Society. We have been talking about it for years.
We are missing Derek, but he is having a great time on his trip.
Scattered some Karaka seeds on the mini slop and hope for the best. The growth in that area has been pretty good. The Whau is really spreading. Such a reward to see it actually happening.
The weather has been a bit of a challenge as we had the spinoff from the two cyclones and the amount of water that must have rushed down the valley was intense. This makes the water meadow area near the stream nearly impossibe to navigate. However Martin hopped over the stream, Pat fell in, to rescue some fairly new plantings from smothering in morning glory vines.
Then we found a HUGE moth plant up the top by the soccer field that was smothering one of the trees by the old Macrocarpa. We pulled seed pods that have filled 5 large bags. Will have to finish it next week as it rained today and Martin was rostered on for trapping.
Sel has been helping us as he can and we are so grateful for his help.
|Posted by pat on February 25, 2017 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
Derek has left us for six months, he and his wife are having an extended O/E and his energy will be missed. It is so astounding what a differnce one more pair of arms makes to the ongoing work we do,
Our group was directed to move all the drying branches under the stadium stairs, so Sel and Roy came along last week and we all cleaned up the area. Contributing to the college as volunteer grounds people. This waste came from the tree that fell over the bank last year which we cleaned up for the college at no cost. We were instructed to stack the sawn up wood neatly by the rubbish bins so those who wanted the wood for free could take it. Shame they could not come and help with the cutting and stacking.
There is a constant water overflow in that area and Sel dug channels to take the water down the bank. Weeds were raked and put into weed bags. Next week when the area has dried out we will be spreading mulch over the whole space to provide a uniform appearance.
|Posted by pat on February 25, 2017 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
We finished the year with Derek and Martin doing most of the work. Pat managed to develop a sore back just as it got warmer.
The guys did a sterling job of heavy duty maintenance readying the various areas for the summer break.
A fair amount of mulching needs to be done, especially on the mini slope, as we are are alwaya in danger of losing plants as the soil dries out. Fortunately the summer has not been as hot as usual.
|Posted by pat on October 28, 2016 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
We have worked our way around the various blocks to weed and clear as the spring brings rapid growth of weeds in all our established areas.
Keith seems to have left us and we thank him for the time he gave us.
Derek and Pat have pulled, heaved and conquered various blocks ot docks, grasses and sprouting paspallum, a new weed bag has been filled on the min i slope.
Martin has been having a break during the last two weeks but prior to that was also conquering weeds as they take over the various areas we have cleared this year. We have concentrated on the mini slope and the Honeysuckle slope where Derek did so much work. The bank behind the stadium has to be next as well as the lower bank on the left of the path.
Growth has been good this spring for the planted items and we see the areas slowly being filled with vegetation.
|Posted by pat on August 14, 2016 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
Now that Keith has joined us, the guys are making a real difference to plant pest areas. The guys cut and slash at Gorse and Honeysuckle and Pat weeds and pulls out docks. If they are pulled early then they do not grow to 6 foot.
Derek, Martin and Keith have been attacking the gorse at the top of the Honeysuckle bank. They have made a real incursion into the growth. We have also had a hard time propping up a couple of Kanuka that are directly in the path of strong winds. I think Derek has fixed it for now. Very wet soil contrubuted to the way the plants moved and sagged.
One week in July we helped Roy relocate plants from his area and CVNZ came to give us some time that week and replanted them in the M11 block.
Some Sundays were too wet to venture into to the valley but the most time was spent on maintenance. This is the time of the year when weeds are taking off.
|Posted by pat on June 19, 2016 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Ongoing work on Derek's Slope. Martin and Derek did the hard bits cutting down the honeysuckle and gorse and carting it down the slope to the residue pile, and Pat did weeding at the bottom of the slope. A huge pile of drying material at the bottom of the slope.
A blitz was made on emerging gorse seedlings. There suddenly seems to be a lot around.
Keith, a visitor from Canada came to help on the 5th June. Having 3 men on the honeysuckle slope made such a difference. Keith spent the next two weeks planting at Motatapu.
Martin and Pat inspected the area for fallen branches after high winds in the beginning of June.
Sel and Melissa have been helping in the areas infested with Tradescantia.
|Posted by pat on May 14, 2016 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
Very heavy duty work happening. Derek transported on his back, all the ginger he had dug, up to the tool area then took it away gradually in an old wheelie bin.
Martin has been away in Australia for his job so while he has been away Pat and Derek have been digging gorse and paspalum out of the path dividing the upper and lower valley. Derek has done most of the work Pat has dug out paspalum on the bottom ot the bank and created piles. It is so interesting that gorse seeds are dormant in the soil.
The previous week we cleaned up the area below the stadium bank and weeded the growth in that area. The plants think it is spring and are growing accordingly. Onion weed everywhere.