Following discussions with the Park staff at Tidal River, an application for funding for a native nursery was lodged in 1994, as the natural vegetation at numerous sites in the Park had been degraded.
The funds were granted in 1996 and the area around the old glass house at Tidal River was levelled and a poly house was purchased and erected. Since then a watering system in both houses has been installed and over the last 3 years many other improvements have been made.
For the past 10 years on alternate Thursdays, a small band of Prom enthusiasts has gathered at the nursery in Tidal River. This group, mainly, but not all, from the south Gippsland area, propagates all types of plants for revegetation of the National Park. These folk have provided thousands of stock for a wide variety of projects, working at the direction of a designated ranger.
The Nursery has the use of a large shed for storage of boxes, tubes and pots, potting mix, fertilizers and large equipment. Plants are grown from seed in heated propagation enclosures and from cuttings in a poly house.
The group has a license allowing collection of material for cuttings and seeds within the Park, so at various times expeditions go out to gather the raw materials. There is a great deal of horticultural and botanical knowledge, some formal and some learned over time, among the group. This is put to use in knowing where and how to collect for different species and how to treat the seeds and cuttings prior to planting.
Over time, with warmth from the propagation house and water from the sprinkler systems, the seeds sprout and the cuttings take root. Then it's the task of these Friends to painstakingly pick the tiny plants out from the trays into tubes. Boxes of the tubes are put into the large poly house then outside to harden off in an area suitably protected from marauding rabbits and wombats before planting out.
Grasses, creepers, shrubs and trees are all grown and used in various situations around the Park. High emphasis is placed on taking propagation materials from places requiring re-vegetation in order to replant only the same specific strains. This can mean excursions to the Lighthouse to gather localized eucalypts and other plants for future planting in the area.
Other erosion control planting has been done around Tidal River, quarry sites, Telegraph and Lilly Pilly car parks and many more. The Nursery members, the full FOTP group, the rangers and other volunteer groups make excellent use of the new plants throughout the Park.
There is now a wide range of equipment for use at the Nursery, with some being provided by private and business donations. Every effort is made to recycle: old potting mix is composted and tubes, pots and trays are disinfected and re-used, so that funds will stretch as far as possible to continue this valuable work.