Berhampore Nursery Planting Programme

3 June 2014

As native bush and trees take hold again on Wellington hillsides, a small powerhouse in the city’s southern suburbs is helping to make this happen.

Berhampore Nursery Manager Nicky Oliver-Smith.

Berhampore Nursery Manager Nicky Oliver-Smith

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Seven staff at our Berhampore Nursery each year produce around 100,000 native plants which are transforming the city. Now, with the winter planting season about to start, nearly 80,000 of these will be distributed to more than 70 community planting groups involved in restoration projects, to residents planting on road reserves and Council plantings says Nursery Manager Nicky Oliver-Smith.

All this requires a lot of forward planning. It takes between two and five years from the time the seeds are collected and propagated, and the seedlings put in tubes, until they are finally bagged ready for planting.

When the June 2013 storm knocked over hundreds of trees, Berhampore Nursery provided plants to repair some of the most ravaged areas. Replanting started immediately at Tawatawa Reserve in Island Bay as contractors removed many trees felled by the storm.

“We had some excess plants available for that,” says Nicky. “We always have a buffer for extra orders.”

In addition to the usual planting programme, the Council has just allocated $162,000 a year for five years to pay for replanting the city’s stormdamaged areas.

The nursery grows between 80–100 species – from hardy pioneer species such as manuka, kanuka, coprosma and mahoe for bare hillsides, to emergent tree species, such as tawa, totara, miro, matai and rimu. The plants are all grown from eco-sourced seeds – collected by nursery staff only from species that originate in Wellington.

“Everything we are growing here is to enhance Wellington City – to put native plants back on the hillsides, the coastline and beside streams – to provide a better environment for us to live and for birds, lizards and insects,” says Nicky.

“It’s good to be part of the bigger picture and wider community.”