Marlborough Mid-Week : August 27th 2014
10 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, AUGUST 27, 2014 NEWS Watch where you place your feet This week Department of Conservation community relations ranger Clare Moore talks about the remarkable plants that live at alpine levels. At this chilly time of year when the snow and ice lies on the mountain-tops, you might wonder how the plants up there survive it. Most of the plants we are fam- iliar with wouldn’t last two minutes up above the treeline in winter, but there are plenty that do, and they have effective methods of coping. Alpine plants have to cope with extremely cold, windy and dry conditions. They often grow in infertile soil or shattered rock, with great changes in temperature from searing heat to extreme cold. They are often lashed by gale force winds. Many alpine plants have wiry, tough branches with densely packed leaves at the tips to reduce wind battering. Their leaves are also generally small and tough, which makes them less easily frozen or dried out and less likely to be damaged by wind, hail and snow. Hairs on the leaves prevent air movement over the leaf surface and thereby protect the leaves from the cold. Another feature of many alpine plants is a deep root system that provides strong anchorage. Water and available nutrients often lie far below the surface in mountain habitats, and plants with deep root systems are better able to exploit available resources. Cushion plants such as vege- table sheep are actually a collection of thousands of tiny individual plants. Individual alpine plants would not survive on their own but by growing in closely packed clusters, they trap warm air and moisture and protect themselves from wind and movements of snow down a slope. White and yellow flowers domi- nate the New Zealand alpine flora. This is because most of our alpine plants are pollinated by flies, moths and beetles, which cannot detect different colours like bees and butterflies, which are attracted to brightly coloured flowers. Alpine habitats and the plants that grow in these places are extremely fragile and easily disturbed. During the past few decades, human activity has increased in alpine environments and our disturbance is probably the biggest threat to them. In addition, browsing by invasive mammals such as hares, RECIPE OF THE WEEK Survivor: The alpine plant called vegetable sheep endures the harsh climate high up on the mountains by growing in closely packed clusters. chamois and thar is also a significant problem. If you visit the alpine zone (which is best done in the summer, for easier viewing conditions), please be very careful to stick to marked paths and avoid crushing or trampling the vegetation. Because alpine plants grow very slowly, they cannot quickly regrow leaves or flowers that are lost. They are often hard to see and can be quickly destroyed Photo: SUPPLIED by a few misplaced footprints. Some of our best Marlborough walks for seeing alpine plants are Mt Stokes, Mt Fishtail, and Mt Richmond, as well as Parachute Rocks and Mt Robert at Nelson Lakes. OVEN BAKED CHICKEN BACON AND CHEESE RISOTTO (Serves 1-just multiple ingredients by the number of servings required) Ingredients: • 1 spring onion, fi nely chopped • 1 tsp butter • 85g risotto rice • 250ml chicken stock • 1 small chicken breast, chopped into bite size chunks • 2 slices of bacon, roughly chopped • 2 sundried tomatoes, chopped • 2 heaped tbsp cream cheese • 1 tbsp parmesan, grated • cracked pepper Directions: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Fry the spring onion in the butter until softened, then add the rice and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, bring it to the boil for 2 minutes and then transfer it to an ovenproof dish. Cover the dish with a lid (foil will work too) and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a oiled pan cook the chicken for several minutes until fully cooked through. Then add the chopped up bacon and sundried tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes. After 20 minutes of the risotto cooking in the oven, add the chicken mixture and then return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the cream cheese, parmesan and cracked pepper until it’s started to melt in. Put the lid back on and popped back in the oven for a few more minutes. Serve with a fresh crispy salad and devour! Send your favourite recipe to: firstname.lastname@example.org, post to Box 242, Blenheim 7240 or drop in. Supported by 5846339BH Cruising: Around 200 bikers turned out on Saturday for the Rescue Ride hosted by the Marlborough Ulysses Motorcycle Club in aid of the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter. Photo:ANNAWILLIAMS Bikers ride for helicopter By ANNA WILLIAMS Hundreds of motorcycles headed through Blenheim on Saturday to raise money for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter. It was the first time the Marlborough Ulysses Motorcycle Club had fundraised for the helicopter, and the riders left Havelock and drove to Waterlea Racecourse in Blenheim. Ulysses Motorcycle Club member and event spokesman Murray Brooks says the day was a huge success. Last year heavy rain saw just 25 people turn up to ride for St John Ambulance. ‘‘You are totally at the mercy of the weather,’’ he says. However on Saturday more than 200 keen riders were involved, with bikers coming from the Nelson branch of the club and members of the Patriot Defence Force Motorcycle Club also joining the ride. The club had 100 badges made with helicopters on them which sold out almost immediately, Murray says. A sausage sizzle and a raffle also contributed to the fundraising effort. The total amount raised will be tallied later in the week. The popular club has around 160 members. To get into the club, riders must be over the age of 40 and of ‘‘good character’’, Murray says. Murray, 73, has been riding for about 30 years and leads the Retread mid-week ride, where up to 20 people hop on their bikes and ride to a cafe in the country. It’s a nice, relaxed ride that suits retired people, he says. ‘‘People like the company, and we’re very careful on the open road,’’ he says.
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