By MARK PRICE
THE never-ending building boom in the Queenstown Lakes district appears to be putting a
strain on supplies of native plants.
Glenorchy Community Association chairman John Glover (right) says new subdivisions are soaking up supplies, and growers and nurseries are ‘‘struggling’’ to keep up.
One nursery business he’s aware of is ‘‘booked out’’ for the next two years.
‘‘Lack of plants is a real barrier to doing some biodiversity work.’’
So, to improve the situation, the association’s going to set up its own plant nursery.
It has just received word of an $18,000 grant from the Otago Regional Council, and is hoping for a contribution from Queenstown’s council later in the month.
The money will mostly be spent on materials for a tunnel house, potting shed and fencing.
Glover says in ‘‘totally Glenorchy fashion’’, 90% of the materials are likely to be sourced locally.
‘‘I’m sure there’s a whole heap of things lying around unneeded and unwanted.’’
The association’s discussing with the council siting the nursery on a reserve near the township, a small part of which is used for the cemetery.
‘‘The idea is that we’ve got somewhere we can walk to pretty easily.’’
Glover says the association got knocked back on an application for $700,000 from the government’s Jobs for Nature programme, which would’ve paid for labour for three years.
So instead, most of the work will be done by volunteers.
That will include raising plants and clearing an eight-hectare area of broom and bracken in
readiness for replanting.
The emphasis will be on plants ‘‘super-friendly’’ to birds, such as kowhai, ribbonwood,
pittosporum and flaxes — species that once grew on the margins of the area’s beech forests.
Glover says the town has residents who’ve worked in commercial nurseries, and others
with gardening expertise — although he does not count himself among them.