Bloomin’ gorgeous in Rakaia
An area of reclaimed riverbed has been transformed into a blooming beautiful new addition to the growing Rakaia Walkway.
The area was covered in massive, thick broom, gorse and blackberry when the Rakaia Community Association (RCA) saw an opportunity to turn it into a feature part of the walkway, and just a year after the project started the new village green’s true colours are shining through.
The Rakaia Walkway starts at Salmon Tales and runs behind Rakaia School. From there people had to walk down a sealed street to again meet up with the walkway until the two hectare section of land beside the Rakaia Recycling Park was transformed.
RCA chairman Neil Pluck said with permission from the Ashburton District Council and ECan the RCA set about clearing the land – an exercise that came with a $16,000 bill footed by the RCA – and now it is covered by a wide variety clovers.
Pluck and Dorothy Knight have been the driving forces behind the project, with Knight spending countless hours adding coffee grinds and pulling weeds. Rakaia School kids helped with planting, and people serving community work sentences also helped to make the gardens and with collecting stones from the river bed to make the walkway and the river-stone border.
Pluck said the project had of wildflowers and received incredible support from local businesses and farmers who had lent machinery and given their time. Help was always welcome and Pluck and Knight urged people using the walkway to jump in and pull weeds out if they saw them, to keep the garden in tip-top shape.
At the end of the day, Pluck said the garden was created on what was once a riverbed and the area was sandy. If not looked after, it could easily go back to the overgrown mess it was before.
‘‘In two or three years it will start to look after itself and whether the wildflowers will stay around for that long, who knows,’’ Pluck said.
‘‘Dorothy and I are at the coalface of this but sometimes I like to come down here and try and be a stranger and you come over the rise and think ‘wow, this is quite cool really’.’’
The Rakaia Walkway first began around a decade ago and has gradually grown to what is now a 7km walk out and back.
Neil Pluck and Dorothy Knight at the new section of the Rakaia Walkway.