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Monday, December 10, 2012

Love Your Mountain Day winners!

Here are the four winners of the prize draw that we conducted on Love Your Mountain Day yesterday, using the Programme/Comment forms handed in to the information tables on the west and east sides of the maunga:

  • A 6-month subscription to the Weekend Gardener: Tracy Owen
  • A $50 voucher from the City Cake Company: Véronique Cornille
  • Another $50 voucher from the City Cake Company: Joan Baker
  • Toiletries from the Mt Eden Pharmacy: Jenny Boyd

Congratulations, and thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments
about the day.

Our thanks also to the Mt Eden businesses that contributed:

Bakers Delight
Barfoot & Thompson Mt Eden
Bay Audiology Mt Eden Clinic
Burger Wisconsin
Casa del Gelato
Chapter Book Café and Tea Shop
City Cake Company
Civic Video
De Post Belgian Beer Pub
Dream of Italy
Hair & Body Bliss
Ironique Café
Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust
Mt Eden Jewellers
Mt Eden Pharmacy
Mt Eden Village Business Association
Sierra Mt Eden
The Candyman
The Digital Darkroom
The Essential Deli
Vital Health
Volcanic Café

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guided tours of Government House grounds on Love Your Mountain Day

Clint Jensen and NZSL interpreter
Ginette Rawlinson
Today we had a private guided tour of Government House grounds in preparation for the NZSL-interpreted free public tour at 10:30am on Love Your Mountain Day. 

Head gardener Clint Jensen showed us around the landscaped garden developed over a period of 45 years by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin and gifted to the Crown in 1966.

Among the many notable trees in the garden is a very special tecomanthe speciosa. Native to the Three Kings Islands, the species was almost wiped out by goats until the chance discovery in 1945 of one solitary plant which still exists on the island.

Two plants were propagated from this one remaining plant in the wild. One was sent to the former DSIR, and it is the source of the tecomanthe plants now widely available in garden centres, Clint told us. The other cutting was entrusted to the Mappins, a testament to their horticultural knowledge and experience.

The tecomanthe specimen propagated from the sole survivor on the Three Kings Islands is still thriving in the grounds of Government House, carefully tended as the Mappins wished when they gave their garden to the Crown.

On Love Your Mountain Day, you can visit and learn more about the garden, its history and plants, and its lava-flow forest which is a designated ecologically significant area, one of only three pockets of lava-flow forest remaining in Auckland. 

Tours leave from our information table at the Pavilion inside the grounds at 10:30am (signed) and 2:30pm (not signed). A tour of Withiel Thomas reserve, another lava-flow forest pocket, starts at 12:30pm. It is led by Sel Arbuckle, a highly knowledgeable volunteer who has weeded and looked after the reserve for over 15 years.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Release of rare native Red Admiral butterflies on Love Your Mountain Day

Our native Red Admiral and Yellow Admiral butterflies, once common in New Zealand, are seldom seen these days. They depend on a favourite food plant, the stinging nettle. They lay their eggs on the nettle leaves, which provide food for the hatched larvae. 

Thanks to naturalists and butterfly enthusiasts, including Friends of Maungawhau committee member Rob Jones and the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust, stinging nettles are now being planted and grown in Auckland.

Because Admiral butterflies tend to congregate around hilltops to find mates, the nettles on Maungawhau are an important habitat in a coordinated breeding programme. Nettles have been planted in several places, well away from paths and tracks, in Eden Garden and on the maunga. These vtial patches of ground nettles (Urtica Incisa) must not be dug out or mistakenly sprayed, as happened earlier this year (see the photo below).

Stinging nettles on Maungawhau
inadvertently sprayed by contractors
in an attempt to kill Italian aru
On Love Your Mountain Day, Sunday 9 December, there will be a release of Red Admiral and monarch butterflies in Government House grounds. 

Come along at 12pm to see this rare and special event, and learn more about preserving and nurturing Admiral butterflies from Jacqui Knight, trustee and secretary of the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust.

Weather check: The butterfly release is weather-dependent.

Music on the maunga

There'll be music on the maunga (west side from Mt Eden Road) all through Love Your Mountain Day:
Eden Roberts

10:45      Flautist sisters Audrey van Ryn
               and Hazel Lamb

11:10      Blind harpist and folksinger
               Mara Kelland

12:30      Guitarist Eden Roberts, winner of
               the SmokefreeRockquest National
               Women's musicianship award, and
               the Play it Strange Peace Song

Audrey van Ryn and Hazel Lamb
1:15       Singer/songwriter Gerald Waters,
              valued volunteer with our Tuesday
              weeding group

2:00       Bolivian guitarist Sergio Arellano

Audrey and Hazel, Gerald and Sergio played for us last year, and it's great to have them back again.

Eden Roberts will be a special treat: She's a talented 17-year-old who performed with her kauri guitar in the film Song of the Kauri.