What a dismal day it was here in Ōtautahi the other Sunday. Raining and cold. I really did not feel like going outside and working in the māra. However, the day was clearing and I had my Pirita to sow.
In an effort to boost diversity and bring native birds back into the city, Christchurch City Council have launched a Citizen Science Project. The Backyard Mistletoe Project is a city wide project that encourages people to sow native mistletoe in their backyards. 9000 Pirita seeds have been harvested from Banks Peninsula and distributed to 450 eager Christchurch gardeners.
Each gardener has registered with CCC and has committed to sowing and monitoring 20 seeds. With a success rate of 5% we will be lucky if one plant germinates from 20 seeds.
My friend Sally and I registered. She collected our seeds from the Botanic Gardens. They had to be sown the following day. So out into the cold, wet garden I traipsed looking for bare branches of appropriate host trees to sow these tiny taonga.
Meanwhile, my devoted little gardening pal Buddy Boy elected to remain inside. Curled up tight, asleep on the bed.
Although seed sowing registration has now closed, anyone interested can still register online to follow the projects progress.
Winter garden are beautiful with the stark contrast of twig and berry. I am enjoying the bellbirds, fantails and wax eyes visiting my garden seeking out winter flowering shrubs.
As the cloud level comes down and the weather cools, native birds arrive to take their luck in domestic gardens. If you’re lucky enough to have a neighbour with large trees or you have nectar rich flowering shrubs in your garden you may have had a visit. The liquid sound of bellbirds singing in Christchurch gardens is on the increase. Have you had any visit your garden?
If you haven’t had any bellbirds visit you could take advantage of the wet ground and plant a tree or shrub with the family. Take a visit to your nearest garden centre and get the children to select their own to plant, break out the gumboots and spades and spend the weekend planting. It’s a great way to get everyone outside enjoying the garden and connecting with nature. The kids will remember the time they planted their tree or shrub and you can compare how much they’ve both grown in years to come.
Got a pocket sized garden? Then take advantage of Council planting programmes and connect with your local community. It is surprising how many hands make light work big planting schemes, you’ll see the rewards of your labors quicker than you think. A few years is all it has taken to make a change from paddock to park at the Halswell Quarry.
Christchurch has a proud tradition of public planting days we first celebrated Arbor Day on 4 August 1892. Augustus Florance waxed lyrical and advised on how Arbor Day might be even more successfully observed in the future.