What’s the buzz

Sunshine Day at the Dowse on Sunday was so much fun! We spread our blankets under John Reynolds’ Titoki Gallery and helped visitors make sunshine necklaces, turn milk bottles into watering cans and paint seed packets. Lots of people had their faces and arms painted, coloured in our ‘how sunflowers grow’ page and drew their own bee designs on Project Sunshine stickers – then took home seeds and seedlings for a gold coin donation. You can check out more photos from the day here.

We also launched our special limited edition packs of red sunflower seeds. Each packet contains 12 red sunflower seeds – these plants grow tall like the Giant Russian variety and range from deep red to beautiful rusty-coloured petals. We’re selling these for $3 a packet, so please get in touch if you’d like some.

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We love hearing from people with updates about how their seeds are growing. Sam from Giant Pumpkins NZ shared us this awesome photo, along with his beautiful 4-legged friend in the background:

Jennifer in the Bay of Plenty has just finished planting out her sunflower seedlings – 47 in total. They’re going to look amazing once they’re fully-grown and flowering!

Our friend Shane sent us an update on the sunflowers that the Epuni School children planted at Carrara Park in Newtown. He says “Sunflowers and swan plants growing in Carrara Park, Newtown, not all survived but the ones that have are looking strong…thanks Kids and Julia Milne”

And Catherine headed along to see how the plants in Glover Park were doing – they’re just outside Radio Active in Wellington:

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Hataitai School in Wellington has set up their own Emerald Army gardening blog, and are encouraging every child in the school to “bring in their own reused planting box to grow their sunflower seedlings in – the wackier the better”. Check out their blog to see some of the awesome planters that have been brought in so far!

Doubtless Bay Kindergarten

Doubtless Bay Kindergarten in Northland also emailed us their blog, to let us know that their “seeds are cosy in their planter box and we are patiently waiting and watering!”

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What’s the buzz

This week we made the ultimate Sunshine Mobile by upcycling an old BBQ table (cheers Andy!) Doesn’t it look cool?! We also posted out more packets of seeds and did some event planning – see below for more info.

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Keep Sunday 24 November, 10.00-11.30am, free for our special Sunshine Day at the Dowse, in Lower Hutt. Check out our world-famous Sunshine Mobile and take home some beautiful sunflower seeds or seedlings for a gold coin donation. Make your own bee sticker, or bring along an empty milk bottle and we’ll help you turn it into a watering can. There will be lots of fun craft activities too – we hope to see you there!

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A special tena koe to Tāne this week for decorating such beautiful sunflower seed packets for us. Love your bees Tāne!

Tane packets

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Here are two letters that we received from Manurewa Central School and Paremata Kindergarten asking for packets of seeds. Thanks for such colourful letters – we’ve posted your seed packets, so hopefully they arrive soon.

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What’s the buzz

Our Project Sunshine stall at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt last Saturday was great fun. Bella and Tāne managed our stall on a gorgeous sunny morning. Lots of people gave us donations for sunflower seedlings and seed packets, and for Common Unity heritage tomato plants – it was a lovely way to meet lots of new people!

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Look at all these envelopes full of sunflower seeds! These are about half the envelopes that we’ve posted out to people all around New Zealand this week.

We’ve received over 85 emails from people in NZ, from the top of the country in Northland, all the way down to Gore in the South Island. One of our favourite emails contained a fantastic bit of history about Epuni School:

Hi Kids at Epuni school,
I would love to have some sunflower seeds to plant in my garden.
When I was small I attended Epuni school, in the 1950’s, and recently I visited Lower Hutt and took a ‘trip down memory lane’, it was such a pleasure to stroll through the grounds of Epuni school and admire the marvellous garden out in the back field.
I remember I had James K Baxter for a teacher one year, his only foray into teaching, a wonderful and inspiring teacher, I remember when he left, telling my parents “he’s leaving to go to a poet factory” and their amusement… I hope the school continues to be a happy place of learning in the local community, well done on such a great garden.

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We received these colourful letters from Mrs Green and Waipu Primary School – they’re up the top of North Island too! It’s great to hear that their seeds have sprouted already, and we hope the plants are growing well. The seedlings must be getting quite tall by now?

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If you’d like some of our sunflower seeds and you know someone who works in the Xero office in Wellington, then get in touch with them! Our seed packets are available there for a donation, and are sitting on the Xero kitchen bench. (Thank you Simon for helping us out!)

What’s the buzz

Our little farmers’ seed packets will be available at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt tomorrow morning (from very early ’til about lunchtime). We will also have sunflower seedlings for sale, and a limited amount of heritage tomato seedlings. All proceeds received will go towards funding a beehive at Epuni School. We’d love to see you there – come say hi!

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This week has been an awesome arty week for Project Sunshine. It’s been really wet and windy here in Wellington, so instead of spending lots of time in the garden, we’ve snuggled up inside with lovely art supplies and decorated lots of seed packets.

This morning we had visitors from Epuni Kindergarten. The gorgeous little people turned up to the library for a book reading session and saw us painting seed packets. Julia told them all about the magic sunflowers and asked them to choose a packet of seeds. They chose the rainbow packet, which they have taken back to plant at their kindergarten.

Here are some of the beautiful seed packets that the Epuni School children decorated today. Check out the clever collage!

Beautiful bright colours here too!

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This afternoon Project Sunshine was mentioned in the NZ Gardener Magazine‘s email ‘Get Growing’ newsletter. It gets emailed to lots of people around New Zealand and is full of interesting gardening tips and tricks, and advice on how to grow things like fruit and vegetables.

When the newsletter was emailed out, we started receiving lots of emails from people wanting packets of sunflower seeds. We posted out 14 envelopes this afternoon to Carterton, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Ngaruawahia, Porirua, Blenheim, Northland and Gisborne and we have many, many more to send out over the weekend!

What’s the buzz

For our update this week, we’re sharing a few of the awesome letters we’ve received. Term 4 started with an armful of letters and packages – we love all this mail!

Lots of mail!

Julie_letter

Kapiti Primary

Denise

A special thanks to Julie from Napier, Kapiti Primary School and Denise from Auckland for their beautiful letters. We hope our seeds grow big and tall, and bloom beautifully for you all 🙂

What’s the buzz

Here’s the buzz from this week. Keep reading below to see what we’ve been up to!

Our ‘Sunshine Day‘ got a mention in the Hutt News newspaper, thanks to reporter Karoline who joined us for part of the morning. (You can check out more photos from the day here). We’re hoping to do a few more community plantings like this at some point this term, so watch this space for further information.

We’ve posted out many, many envelopes full of sunflower seeds this week. It has been bloomin’ lovely! Please get in touch if you’d like a packet, or if you know someone in New Zealand that would.

We’ve also updated our map – it’s really cool to see the little trail of flowers spreading around the country and we think our little farmers will be really surprised when they come back from the school holiday break and see how far their seeds have been sent.

We’ve been decorating more seed packets – trying to keep up with the demand! It has been fun watching my six-year-old paint these seed packets with watercolour and acrylic paint, and this morning we experimented with some hand-made stamps.

And finally, we want to say a huge sunshiney *thank you* to everyone who has given us financial donations, or other forms of koha this week. We’ll do a separate blogpost about some of the fantastic things that we have received in return for packets of seed, which will all go to the children at Epuni School. And the financial donations mean that we’ve been able to buy lots more stamps, so we can post out more envelopes! We’re a little bit in love with these gorgeous bee stamps, which just go so well with the aims of our project.

What’s the buzz

We’ve had a great week here at Project Sunshine headquarters and have been busy planting and posting lots of sunflower seeds. Check out what we’ve been up to below:

This week we’ve been really excited to send ‘seed mail’ to some of our supporters. We’ve posted seeds to the Food Forest in Waiheke Island; Waipu Primary School up north; to Sam the giant pumpkin grower in Hamilton; friends in Featherston, Waipukurau and Blenheim; locally in Wellington to friends in Khandallah; to an apartment dweller who maintains his apartment community garden in the central city; and the Brooklyn Community Orchard.

It’s great to see our sunflower seeds travelling so far, and we’ve added many of these locations to our distribution map.

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We also visited the Brooklyn Community Orchard on the weekend, to have a look at their amazing garden and orchard. We gave orchard gardeners Kelda and Mel two packets of seeds – and as well as sharing them with other people locally in the Brooklyn area, Sunday’s working bee saw Mel, Kelda and other garden volunteers working hard to prepare a special garden bed for the sunflower seeds to be sown into directly.

The orchard is springing into life at this time of year. Self-seeded borage, calendula and alyssum flowers wander prettily down the stairs, providing food for the bees, which are vital to the pollination of many of the trees in the orchard. The espaliered pear trees are covered in white blossoms and Kelda pointed out the almond tree that is already bearing fruit. We hope that our sunflowers thrive in this beautiful garden space and are keen to report back on their progress at a later date.

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On Tuesday morning, the Project Sunshine Team and an awesome band of volunteers met up in Epuni in Lower Hutt. Our focus was on a particular street, which is having a hard time because of its many boarded-up Housing NZ homes. Because we know that beautiful environments can increase our sense of well-being and create abundance in our communities, we thought we’d do a mass planting of seeds and seedlings in the area, with our volunteers and many of the local children.

We planted in the front gardens of residents, as well as in the gardens of the empty and sad houses. It was a warm, sunny day and we spent a gorgeous morning planting sunflowers, talking to our happy volunteers and hanging out with our little farmers.

You can check out more photos from the morning here. And a huge *thank you* to everyone who turned up to help on Tuesday.

We look forward to the next planting day in a few weeks, where we will add veges to these new plantings as well as more sunflowers around the neighbourhood. Keep an eye on our blog or Facebook page for more details.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to get involved in our special little project, or if you would like some of our seeds sent to you!