Mt Chocolate is the name given to a 10,000 square meter paddock (1 Ha, or 2.5 acre).
Located on the edge of town in semi-rural
Clifton, a suburb in Invercargill, NZ. On one side are houses and on the other
Mt Chocolate was formerly pasture that had been over
grazed in recent years by horses and cattle. It was originally Miro
swamp forest that was burned by a major fire in 1905.
The land was purchased on August 1 2014 to build a family home and art studio for the owners Mike & Tracy Peters.
In September 2014, the entire paddock was sprayed with Glysophate to
kill all grass and weeds and to expose a mountain of buried rubbiish.
A loaned digger (back-hoe) from a neighbour was used to break up the
compacted soil and all buried rubbish was carefully removed. This took 2
Planting of NZ native species began in June 2015 in areas where the damaged soil structure had been repaired.
A native plant nursery has been established on site to grow 200
different plant species using Seaward Bush as the ecosystem template to
copy. Seaward Bush is a nearby forest remnant from the original fire and
has similar geography, climate, and soil.
The nursery grows an average of 1000 plants a year from seed which
are then usually planted in July and August during the winter.
Experimental planting trials are being used to find the most
efficient way to establish tall Miro swamp forest. The main experiment
is with using the native Poroporo as a nursery species to eliminate
competition from introduced grasses. The trials are also to work out
timing, the best combinations of species, the most effective use of
chemical control, and any feedback loops, etc.
There have also been experiments with plant propagation methods
including seed processing, watering, use of pine needles as acidifier
Visitors are welcome by prior arrangement.