Each year the nursery grows around 90,000 native plants, which are then distributed to community groups and the Wellington City Council parks and gardens team for planting.
They are planted in Council reserves, new housing developments, sites where it is no longer safe for the Council mowing team to mow, and also the nursery’s road reserve scheme.
Valissa’s busiest time of the year for collecting seed is December through to April.
Each year the challenge is to collect seed and propagate a range of native species, such as kawakawa, rangiora, mahoe and kowhai - just to name a few. The seeds are eco-sourced from the local Wellington reserves to preserve the ecological integrity of the region.
“Nature dictates how much seed I can collect and from what species. Some years, certain species might not produce seeds, so I try to collect more from other species to compensate for that.”
The success of Valissa’s seed collecting is all about understanding what is happening in our native reserves.
“I have a purpose-built app, created by Council's mapping team, on my phone to plot specific species and their location. I can map where the plants are, whether it’s in flower and if it has green or ripe seed. I can also document if I’ve collected seed from a particular plant before and record when I think I need to go back and revisit that site.”
It can take time to find and collect seed of certain species such as matai, totara or kahikatea.
Wellington City Council works with more than 100 volunteer groups, many of which have contributed significantly to the regeneration of Pōneke’s biodiversity through planting and trapping.