Even as a young fella in Scouts I enjoyed Camping Trips into the back country and later Tramping Trips into the New Zealand Bush and out on the Hills. Arthurs Pass, Lewis Pass, Craigieburn and places closer to home like the Port Hills.
I always enjoyed looking at plants, and in those days probably didn’t know the difference between Native and Exotic plants. I remember having younger folks with me on tramping trips and encouraging them to try the ‘Fruit Salad Plant’ where if they did they soon had a numb mouth from the horopito or Pepper Tree.
Just looking at how the plants interacted with each other. How some grew at the margins of the bush, while others waited for their old mates to die and fall down before pushing for the sunlight their demise gave them.
How the Lancewoods had a juvenile and interesting stage before becoming just a tree with a really neat trunk.
The High Country Grasslands held a special fascination for me. Especially in summer on a day when the Nor Wester was puffing. The colour, texture and movement was something grand.
I never considered the possibility of a nursery until we started growing trees for ourselves after buying a property with my brother at Orari.
We had too many so sold a few and it quite simply grew from there. We now have 5 staff working in the nursery on a permanent basis with others called in when the need arises. From growing just 5000 plants in 1996 to our planned production this season of 500,000 it has been a fast ride.
All my training has come from books, the net and “trial and terror”