By Alison Ballance
Chris Rance with plants grown from seed and from cuttings - the Southland community nursery grows thousands of plants each year for use in replanting projects (images: A. Ballance)
When botanists Brian and Chris Rance began growing native plants for their own garden 15 years ago they little realised that they had set in motion an award-winning community nursery that has inspired volunteers and produced thousands of plants for revegetation projects around Southland. The Southland community nursery has won many awards, including the New Zealand Native Plant Conservation Network ‘Plant Nursery Involved in Plant Conservation’ award in 2011 for its unique approach to the growth, preservation and education of the public about native plant species. They also won the Supreme Award at the TrustPower Invercargill Southland Community Awards in 2009. Alison Ballance visits the nursery to meet Chris Rance, keen volunteer Linda Jackson, and a few of the many native plants that the nursery grows each year.
An area of coastal wetland forest on Chris and Brian Rance's Otatara proerty has been enhanced with a wetland revegatation project. The bush and wetland are protected with a QE 2 covenant (images: A. Ballance)