1000 trees for community garden
After a year’s pause in its planting endeavours, the Onehunga People’s Garden (OPG) is ready to take root again. In May, a large crowd of volunteers turned up to help weed, pick up rubbish, and plant 1000 trees, donated by Auckland Council’s Million Trees programme.
The garden, which is situated on a large area of disused railway land at the Normans Hill Road end of Arthur Street, used to be overgrown with weeds and full of dumped rubbish. In 2014, a group of residents who live near the land, got permission from Auckland Council (which leases the land from Kiwirail), to clear it and planted over 12,000 native trees and shrubs.
Current chair of the OPG , Barbara Gaston, says they cleared “tonnes and tonnes of rubbish.There were even old cars which had sunk into the ground.”
Two streams run through the land and down the gully, via pipes, into the lagoon. Barbara says the water quality has improved vastly, as the plants act as a natural filter. “We have even found tiny native fish in there.”
She says they created the garden initally to create a place where their children could play safely in an open space, free of rubbish; they also wanted to make a pleasant space for all residents to enjoy. While the majority of the planting is cabbage trees, manuka and flax, there are also Puriri and Kowhai trees planted for native bird flight paths.. “The point is to bring back birds,” Barbara says.
The OPG relies on volunteers and grant funding to help keep it going, and they are waiting for a sublease agreement to be finalised with Auckland Council. Once it’s signed off, they will be able to have a small workshed on the area to hold all their tools.
The next planting day is on Sunday 9th June between 9 am and 12pm. Go to the Onehunga People’s Garden Facebook page to find out more.