Mahurangi College Year 8 students, camping at Tawharanui Regional Park earlier this year, spent time in the Tossi nursery learning how it runs and potting manuka seedlings for the coming winter planting days. They saw a variety of seed types that are raised in the nursery. Some are dispersed by birds (karamu, puriri, tikouka and karaka), while some have small sails to aid dispersal by wind (harakeke and akeake ). The size also varies from large puriri seeds which are as big as a small grape to manuka with over 1000 seeds in half a teaspoon.
After walking through the nursery, seeing the seedlings and the plants the seeds produce, the students teamed up with Tossi volunteer nursery workers. They were shown what was required in potting a seedling and then were given the opportunity to try it themselves. They all worked with enthusiasm, keeping the volunteers busy as the trays were filled, watered and laid out in the nursery. As an encouragement, the students were offered the chance to put their name or a message on an ice cream stick, so planting this winter may be a little slower as people stop to read the odd message.
The 210 students who visited the nursery during their camp potted 2360 manuka seedlings, assisted by some parent help and senior students attending the camp. The enthusiasm with which these students worked was great to see and frequently commented on by the nursery volunteers. All were encouraged to return and plant the seedlings they had potted on the organised planting days. These days are very popular, with a barbecue lunch and hot and cold drinks provided for all planters courtesy of Tossi and the Tawharanui Park ranger staff. This year the public planting days will be on Queen’s Birthday weekend in May, July 5 and August 2, so organise a carload of friends complete with gloves, strong footwear and a good raincoat. Spades are provided. Many thanks Mahurangi College and we’ll see you again soon. Thank you also to those Tossi nursery volunteers who spent those extra days assisting with the nursery side of the college camp.
Save the dates
The next Tossi Sunday in the Park will be two planting days on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, starting at 9.15am. The planting site will be signposted from the woolshed. A barbeque lunch is provided.