It was 1995 when Guy was managing the Tutukaka Marina and his wife Sandra, a nurse, decided to grow and sell native plants.
Guy had inherited a passion for growing native plants from his father and had already set up a greenhouse. He was growing a wide range of native plants as a hobby and had also constructed a 'Poor Knight's Island garden' at the Tutukaka Marina. Sandy, a keen gardener, was ready to balance her role as mother of two young children with the opportunity to work with plants and develop the nursery with the appropriate accounting skills necessary to run a small business.
Over the past fourteen years a native plant nursery along with an extensive native garden and a collection of 'offshore island' and coastal plants has been created on the coastal farm at Matapouri.
The farm and nursery are both named after the Tawapou, a rare coastal tree found growing on the property and along the adjacent coastline.
The nursery is a wholesale / retail operation growing approximately 100,000 bagged plants a year from a PB 3 size onwards. Almost all of what we grow we produce ourselves, collecting seed and cutting material from the property. We buy our ferns from a local grower who produces them from spores.
Our success has been achieved by focusing specifically on plants growing from the warmer northern coastal regions of New Zealand. We have also benefited from the growing awareness of and the reliability of natives that are sought after by today's gardener who has to balance the time spent gardening with many other aspects of modern life.
Initially our main focus was with five garden centres in Auckland, the Kings Plant Barns. Garden centres told us which native plants sold well and we quickly tailored production to meet their demands, although there was constant change and challenge to ensure we had the sufficient stock of the right plant species, while also trialing our potentially popular plants in our garden to add to the range.
Open to the public
A few years after starting the nursery we opened the garden and retail area to the public. We no longer focus solely on Garden Centres but sell to a large number of landscape gardeners, Department of Conservation, District Councils, property developers and the public.
Our vision has not changed...
Our vision from the beginning, which is still our aim today, is to be the leading supplier and provider of quality coastal native plants, and to create a large native garden of national importance to share our knowledge of native plants. We also strive to protect threatened plant species, and to encourage people to adopt sound environmental practises through planting New Zealand native plants.