Tropical Fruit Growing Workshops Look Set For Island

Islanders eager to diversify their gardening skills have a unique opportunity coming up this March. 

Hugh Rose, the Chair of New Zealand Tropical Fruit Growers, is planning to host workshops focused on growing tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapples on Aotea, GBI.

Tentatively scheduled for Friday, 22nd March, and/or Saturday, 23rd March, the workshops aim to cover all aspects of tropical fruit cultivation. The day-long sessions, running from approximately 9 am to 3 pm, are designed to accommodate 10-16 participants each. 

With around 20 people already having RSVP’d, the event looks set to offer islanders hands-on learning experiences with bananas, pineapples, and other tropical fruits. The cost is estimated to be between $90 – $120 per head, varying with the final number of participants, covering the expenses of bringing Hugh Rose to the island, including flights and accommodation.

Hugh Rose’s expertise in tropical fruit cultivation comes from years of experience transforming a once swampy wasteland into a thriving subtropical paradise near Whangārei. 

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Alongside his wife Pauline, Hugh has nurtured over 40 varieties of bananas and numerous pineapple plants on their 57-acre property. Their land, adorned with Lady Finger banana borders, canna lilies, and lotus ponds, showcases the potential of what can be achieved with dedication and understanding of whenua.

The Roses’ journey began two decades ago with the simple purchase of two banana plants. Their curiosity and passion for tropical fruits blossomed into an extensive collection and a wealth of knowledge, much of it gained from fellow Northland grower Owen Schafli. 

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

Today, Hugh is eager to share his insights, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right varieties for local conditions and providing detailed care instructions to ensure successful cultivation.

Participants in the Great Barrier Island workshops can look forward to learning about the ideal conditions for growing tropical fruits, from the significance of warmth, light, and shelter to the necessity of heavy feeding and proper watering techniques. Hugh’s innovative approach, including the use of banana circles for efficient composting and feeding, will be among the many techniques shared.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

Those interested in joining the tropical fruit growing workshops can contact Peter Boardman.

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