The Waterfall - Our Own Revegetation Project

Down by the river

This is our own little slice of paradise. 1.5km from our home is this paddock, with a gorgeous river boundary on 3 sides. The feature of the entire property is this stunning 11.5m high waterfall. Over the years we have built a mud brick pizza oven, with a pergola, picnic tables etc, and spend lots of our time down there over summer and autumn, either just our family, or with friends and neighbours. Kayaking, swimming, fossil hunting, grass sliding, petanque, camping, eating! George has plans for glamping sites, water wheels, electricity generation, alfresco baths, enormous flying fox etc, but in the meantime, it is just a fabulous spot to spend our energy and leisure time.

Construction of the mud brick pizza oven (clay off the farm)

End product!

Sam and Phoebe staining the pergola posts
Grass sliding action!
We built a pergola over the top, and fenced the pizza oven area off from the
paddock so we could plant around it.

June 2013
June 2013, the planting is starting to fill out. 
The trunks of the Kanuka trees behind add a sculptural feel.

Jumping from the top (only the mad), swimming and kayaking.....


Back at the road, we split the paddock in two, and fenced off the central gully. I have spent the last few winters (since 2009) planting planting planting the gully, which includes the driveway, and a series of pools creating a wetland area that leads down to the river, and lots of meandering paths. This has been my personal revegetation project, doing my bit to filter the water before it hits the river. It is finally starting to take shape, with plenty of trees now over head height, and safe from the occasional deer or farm animal that wanders in. My thrill is watching birds playing in the trees I have planted. Cheap thrill, I know!! But genuinely delighted that trees I have nurtured from seed, or been given by my father and other family, that they have grown - this makes me feel so fulfilled. I have bought hardly any plants at all, it is almost all from seedlings and patient splitting of flaxes etc.

ABOVE: The first plantings in 2009 - there are actually little trees beside each wooden stake!
BELOW: Same area in 2013. This is a harsh dry bank, so I am thrilled the trees have survived..

ABOVE: First planting 2009. The wetland filters water from surrounding farmland before it enters the river
BELOW: View of the wetlands in 2013. Planting starting to take shape at last.

ABOVE: New planting, seen from the top of the drive 2009. Note the freshly split bronze flaxes on the right?
BELOW: From the top of the driveway entry, 2013. Those same flaxes have filled out nicely.

Early planting at the driveway entry - I planted in the snow this day!
So dedicated!!
Pathways meander between the plants
Young Rimu tree beside the boardwalk
Steps and an old totara slab seat above the pond
Finally some trees are large enough to afford shade and frost protection
to tender species underneath
Young Nikau Palm in full protection mode - frost, shade, shelter, and
wire netting hare protection!!
A few prized non-natives are allowed in. Here a young Magnolia grandiflora  'Little Gem'
picks up the russets and olives of the native species around it.
Non-native Magnolia grandflora. I adore this next to the needle-like russet
leaves of the Totara (Podocarpus totara, not shown in photo).
Phormium cookianum Surfer Bronze flax edges the drive. 
Michelia yunnanensis - another non-native, with
Anamanthele  lessoniana behind.
Contrasting leaf forms and textures
Corokia seeds
Another view over the wetlands of what was once open  paddock. You can just see the
horizontal line of the pizza oven in the central distance, above the black cattle.
Love this! The Hebe stricta is finally self-seeding.  
Fossil rocks from down in the stream bed
June 2013 - a new path and planting in progress.......
This whole project will never be finished, just added to.
Pseudopanex arboreous - Five finger. Love this tree 
Silver Fern - brought to the waterfall as a seedling from up
in the pine forest
Looking back up to the road. The green plastic is ugly, but protects the young plants
from marauding wildlife!!They will come off next year. Ugly but practical. 
Libertia, freshly split and planted

Gorgeous old Totara tree stump
Dwarf Kowhai - Sophora 'Dragon's Gold'
Hebe stricta (I think). Love the light green leaves of this plant, and the
pretty flowers are a bonus.
So there you are! Some snap shots of our special place on this earth. This is the reason I love being home on the weekends, just so I can be down at the waterfall planting, refining paths, placing rocks etc, and now I can add bird watching. This place is so magical, and so satisfying to have these trees now well over my head, and self-seeding. This truly is my happy place!

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