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Unfortunately, Oratia Native Plant Nursery has now closed down. For further information, click here.

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Plant purchases direct from this website are thriving. It is convenient, saves travelling to ONPN, and can be done 24/7. Here is the response of a recent client:

"Thank you very much. My cordylines arrived today :) I am very impressed with your prompt service and the quality of my new babies.

I will definitely order plants from you in the future.

Thanks again, Courtney"
November 2010

What's News?

- Escape Christmas in the malls!
  (Give a living Christmas tree, plant gift packs, or plant voucher)
- Bonsai workshop
- Our latest plant picks
- NZ Plant Conservation Network conference
- NZ Native Forests Restoration Trust 30th anniversary
- Holiday hours of business


Escape Christmas in the malls!

Good grief, the Christmas countdown is upon us already! If you're anything like us and dislike shopping malls, you might prefer to escape to the calm of Oratia instead.

A living Christmas tree makes for a very special Christmas. Kawaka, Libocedrus plumosa, most closely resembles the traditional conifer, and each year we have more people choosing this lovely alternative which can then be moved to a large pot or take its place in your garden. Click here for an article on kawaka and for a selection of photographs.

Libocedrus plumosa

Pohutukawa, Metrosideros excelsa, is another favourite and the quintessential Kiwi Christmas tree. It is usually possible to find a specimen that will be in full flower for Christmas.

Gift packs of native plants provide a great solution for the plant-lovers. They also make a welcome change from the hampers of wine, chocolate and goodies in so many corporate gift boxes.

Each gift pack contains a selection of little natives, from groundcovers to forest trees. The plants are all specially grown, so make sure you order well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Because Christmas is not always the easiest time to receive a gift that needs some care, consider giving an IOU for a gift pack to be collected after the holiday period is over, or a plant voucher which allows the receiver a free choice.

Whatever present you decide to give, come and visit us at Oratia - we promise a shopping experience without all the frenetic bustle and piped Christmas music!


Bonsai workshop with John Lyall:

A number of people have asked whether we would be running any more bonsai workshops. We're pleased to announce the answer is YES!

Leading NZ artist John Lyall has agreed to hold another of his popular and informative hands-on workshops on Saturday 27 November from 2 - 4pm. Come and learn how great some of our native plants can look as bonsai specimens. The cost is $55, and you'll get three different plants to work on and take home afterwards. The feedback we receive after these classes is very positive, so to find out more, go to:


Current plant picks:

Our Chatham Island forget-me-nots, Myosotidium hortensia, are currently looking magnificent and coming into flower. In the right site, these are stunning with their large glossy leaves even when they are not in flower. Myosotidium hortensiaWe also have Pseudopanax ferox and Pseudopanax crassifolius, both looking wonderful. These make excellent specimen trees with their unusual foliage.

Our supplies of rimu, Dacrydium cupressinum, and kahikatea, Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, are great value for money. In PB3s and PB5s, these are big, sturdy specimens. Planted out, they will be fine specimen trees, or for those with larger areas they are ideal for 2nd stage revegetation planting.

Hierochloe redolens, karetu or Holy Grass, grows in many countries and its delicate scent has made it culturally important throughout.

Carmichaelia and Hebe 'Wiri Mist' are both at their best at present. Carmichaelia species, native broom, have for the most part small but attractive flowers and provide an interesting structural component in any garden.


NZ Plant Conservation Network conference:

Geoff attended the recent NZ Plant Conservation Network conference on "Plants in a human landscape - conservation outside nature reserves". Held in Christchurch a month after the big quake, the aftershocks continued and the human landscape looked quite fragile. Along the Avon the slumped banks occurred where there was only grass. In the few stretches of native revegetation, the banks had held up well.

The Network focuses on endangered native species and we heard that despite making progress with some species, overall the number of threatened plants was still increasing. We now have 184 threatened and 651 at-risk species - all too many, especially when we know at least 6 plant species have gone extinct in the last 100 years. (See "Threatened Plants of New Zealand", Peter de Lange et al. Canterbury University Press 2010).

An after-conference jaunt to the McKenzie Basin revealed the extent of dairy developments there, and the threats to innumerable species if that development continues to expand. Many of those species are diminutive and cryptic. Botanists and ecologists are now becoming aware of the relationships and ecological importance of such plants and their potential importance to our future.


NZ Native Forests Restoration Trust 30th anniversary

Geoff is a founding trustee of the NZ Native Forests Restoration Trust, which recently celebrated 30 years of conservation in NZ. It was born out of the anti-logging protests in Pureora Forest in the late ‘70s where the Trust began its work by growing seedlings, initially kahikatea, for replanting in logged areas. It soon became apparent that the preservation of significant areas of forest was a priority, and the Trust turned its focus to fundraising and purchasing land of high ecological value in areas where it would add to existing reserve land. In such cases, where there is an established existing seed-source, replanting has become less important than predator and weed control because nature can then look after itself.

The current tally is 30 reserves and 6,000 hectares scattered throughout the country. The Trust also played a leading role in persuading the government to purchase Kaikoura Island at Great Barrier.

The NZNFRT is better at actions than self-publicity and is not as widely known as it deserves. If you're interested in its work, either as a supporter receiving regular newsletters, or as a potential helper, give Geoff a call. He much prefers talking about Trust business to nursery business anyway!


Holiday hours of business

Summer usually brings out-of-town visitors with a special interest in natives. We love meeting such people and will be open throughout with our usual hours, Monday - Saturday, with the exception of all Statutory holidays.
Monday - Friday 8am - 4.30pm
Saturday 9am - 4.30pm

As we approach the end of the year, we would like to thank our customers for their continuing loyal support. We look forward to being able to provide you with great plants and great service. And may your Christmas countdown bring more joy and fellowship than stress!

The team at Oratia.