cWeed Open Day at Schooner Bay
by Fenella Christian

On Saturday 18th October 18 people met at “Kusalo’s” house at Schooner Bay to learn about weeds. We learnt about the weeds that D.o.C and ARC are targeting for removal from Great Barrier Island and we learnt about the unlisted ones that we all have in our own gardens that have the potential to become pests. There were displays lent to us by “Weedbusters” and pamphlets and books as give-a- ways so we could go home and identify the weeds in our gardens.

“Kusalo’s house is an example of an unoccupied house where a weed eradication programme has started with the kind support of the Biodiversity Condition Fund. Peter Edmonds and Ben Hauraki have almost completely removed a large area of Jasmine, climbing rose, and Plectanthus. There are still large areas of Cotoneaster to remove and the funding will allow them to come back to the area in the next two years to go over the area and help to keep on top of the problem.

George Wilson, Weed ranger from D.o.C showed examples of some of the really nasty ones that we have on Great Barrier Island: Khahili Ginger, Smilax, Tobacco plant, and Woolly nightshade. Fenella Christian talked about the history of the Schooner Bay land and how many of the plants that have become weeds there were innocently brought onto the property as a means of introducing colour into the gardens. She also spoke about the difficulties of disposing of much of the plant rubbish when land is isolated from rubbish dumps etc and how the areas where the disposal of weeds happens can become problems in themselves.

After the talks and a sumptuous lunch, everyone walked to down the hill to Fenella Christian and Peter Edmonds house. The garden is being managed but has the potential to get away from them if they don’t keep on top of the weeds. We all then walked down to another house on the property that is unoccupied and where no weed eradication has started. Jasmine, Loquat, Cotoneaster, Agapanthus and many more common weeds are on the verge of becoming impossible to eradicate. They balance on the edge of a huge cliff and if not contained soon will be very difficult to eradicate. It was a good example of why we all need to be aware of what we put into our gardens and how quickly weeds can take over when we move away.

Finally before wending our way back up the hill to our respective cars we watched the baby shags in the shag colony at the bottom of the property to remind ourselves why we live here and what precious things we have to preserve.