Away back in May (Sunday 10th) Canterbury Tree Croppers had an interesting visit to a very productive garden in Fernside, where good shelter and hard graft had turned a stony, windswept field into an oasis. In the afternoon we proceeded to Southern Cypresses in Ohoka to have a tour around the South Island’s number 1 nursery for cloned cypresses. Turned out it was Mother’s Day, which saw the bulk of people head off early to do things with Mum.
Our first host, Dudley was a scientist with the now defunct Forest Research Institute (FRI) at nearby Rangiora. That background shows through in the success of this smallholding, nothing planted on a whim and all well laid out with considerable thought.
Dudley also gave us a demonstration of how he makes his fruit leathers. Feijoa, and quince are the main varieties he makes. More like fruit bars than leathers in my opinion, he then passes them on to the Farm Forestry Assn to sell to members for fund-raising.
At Southern Cypresses we followed through the cycle from rooting cuttings to final planting stock. Patrick Milne (also of FRI origin) started the nursery when FRI(Rangiora) closed around 20 years ago with just 2 people doing everything by hand. He has quietly grown the business to where they are now getting quite automated and moving away from bare rooted planting stock to containers of various sizes and a bigger variety of trees including natives, redwoods and eucalypts. We finished up with a look at some recently felled shining gum, Eucalyptus nitens, that were samples from several select provenances. Quite a few had tipped over in a big wind (50 year event), so time for the rest to go as well. Bottom logs are going to a specialist processor of hardwoods and knotty top logs (if memory serves) are being exported to Korea.