How The Nursery Works

The Southland Community Nursery is available for local people and groups to grow locally sourced native plants best suited for Southland conditions. The nursery supplies a range of native seedlings, potting mix, pots, seed mix and facilities, you supply the labour. It’s a great way for you to produce hundreds of native plants for restoration schemes at no cost excepting your own time. Find out more about the nursery and how you can get involved.

We also sell locally sourced and grown plants for $5 a plant in PB3 size pots. Buying plants from the Community Nursery supports our Charitable Trust.

Read the Project Document for the Community Nursery and Education Centre

Read The Community Nursery Health and Safety Plan

Meet like-minded people

Nursery volunteers enjoying morning tea.Nursery volunteers enjoying morning tea.Visit our nursery on a Friday morning and you’ll meet other like-minded people in our community. The nursery has become an important networking place for a wide range of people - volunteers, landowners, new residents, overseas travellers – all interested in the environment. Our Friday morning pot-luck morning teas are legendary! Be a part of the friendly team - ‘bring a plate’ and enjoy a cuppa. We are family friendly. Enjoy the Southland Community Nursery Recipe Book - packed with recipes donated by our volunteers!

How to find us

The nursery is located on Chris and Brian Rance’s property, 185 Grant Road, Otatara. Otatara is located 7km west of Invercargill, 4km from Invercargill Airport and 3km from Oreti Beach.

See our map for directions.

Opening hours

The nursery is open most Fridays (except public holidays), from September to June. Chris is available during this time to assist with enquiries, offer advice with projects or to point you in the direction of a task at the nursery you can help out with.

Potting seedlings***
Seed Collecting**
Planting Out**
Sowing Seed*
Taking Cuttings*
Plan for Next Year*
Take a Holiday!*

Community Nursery Objectives

Woodlands scouts get their hands dirty at the nursery.Woodlands scouts get their hands dirty at the nursery.We’ve put together some objectives for the nursery. Check them out below:

  • To inspire people to create and protect natural environments and provide a practical means of doing that, thereby helping to add to the wealth of Southland’s natural areas.
  • To provide nursery facilities, materials and local native plant stock for free to the public of Southland – landowners, schools, farmers, conservation groups.
  • To encourage volunteers to become active in conservation by providing a positive experience and a learning environment.
  • To actively promote education opportunities outside the classroom for schoolchildren.
  • To provide a friendly and hospitable environment for people to meet, share ideas, enjoy company while learning about native plants and growing plants in general.
  • To lead by example at the nursery and on the property generally – native forest remnant protected by QEII Covenant, wetland restoration areas, native shelterbelts and a threatened plant garden – all open to the public.

Local is best - ecosourcing

Locally sourced native plants are best suited to the range of Southland conditions. They make attractive, low maintenance landscapes and bring in a wealth of native birds and wildlife.

The Southland Community Nursery is all about ecosourcing native plants. This means growing native plants from seeds or cuttings that come from parent plants that are naturally found in our area.

Planting local species actually increases biodiversity (the variety of life) in an area. It helps retain the local differences that make each place distinctive and recognisable.

Planting trees and shrubs that are local to our area will also help reclaim and rebuild some of what we have lost in our region.

Find out more about how forests work, what grows best where and the different habitat types (such as forest, wetland or shrubland) in Southland.

Get Involved

Bronwyn and Liam helping out at the nursery.Bronwyn and Liam helping out at the nursery.The Southland Community Nursery relies on ongoing volunteer support.

We provide a friendly, supportive environment where we supply:

  • materials, such as local native seedlings, potting mix, pots and seed mix
  • facilities, such as a shadehouse, cloches and standing areas
  • experience, encouragement and expertise.

You supply:

  • labour - you pot up your own plants or help with nursery jobs.

Want to learn more about propagating your own plants? Check out our workshops (events) and see our section on get growing get started.

Accommodation for conservation volunteers is available at our place from October to June. Find out more about volunteering at our place, what’s involved and other projects you could get involved with in Southland.

A volunteer get togetherA volunteer get togetherLocal volunteers and community groups are welcome to visit or come to lend a hand. Find out about getting your school or community group involved in nursery projects.

If you or your group has a project where you wish us to grow plants on contract, contact us for reasonable rates.

Establishing a Community Nursery

A community nursery can be started with very basic facilities. Find out about establishing your own community nursery.

Contact us

Contact us here