Ribbonwood Retreat Enviro Friendly B & B Accomodation
At Ribbonwood Retreat our aim is to be environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly as far as possible. After buying the land 15 years ago, we built our home with comfort and sustainability in mind. The name “Ribbonwood” was chosen due to the large ribbonwood tree beside the state highway in front of our home, one of the few remaining in the area as their bark was paletable to hungry cattle. We have planted many more ribbonwoods, much to the delight of the local woodpigeons, which feed on the leaves in early spring.
Our home was constructed to conserve energy, with insulation in walls and ceiling and double glazed windows to maximise passive solar heating. We have planted more than a hundred native shrubs and trees to offset carbon emissions from our business and travel. Many of these were sourced as seedlings that were found growing on the property and carefully transplanted and nurtured in pots until large enough to be planted out. Some of theses are long lived tree species which attract native birds, such as tui, bellbird and wood pigeon. Weeds are suppressed with mulch sourced from chipper waste from roadside clearance activity nearby and composted here at Ribbonwood. We have a large garden and tunnel house, producing vegetables and berries for us and our guests. Our orchard is being developed with a framework of shelter already in place and we are delighted that our hazelnut trees have just started producing.
Our electricity supplier uses hydro electric power stations, the nearest being only 15 km away. We have installed an energy efficient heat pump in the cottage. Heating is provided by thermostat controlled electric heaters and electric blankets on the beds, and extra heating is provided from a modern solid fuel stove utilising firewood from trees grown on the property. We separate waste as much as possible by sorting paper, glass, aluminium and tin cans to be recycled at our local waste station. Green material is also separated and composted for use in our garden. We provide guest shampoo and conditioner in convenient pump bottles that reduce the waste of small plastic bottles and packaging. The products are handcrafted in New Zealand using locally sourced and organic products wherever possible.
Locally we volunteer in local conservation initiatives such as assisting in the Kiwi Recovery Program. Before becoming B&B hosts, Jo managed the Kiwi Recovery Program for ten years and Julie taught at the local school, fostering an appreciation of the environment in her pupils. She won a West Coast Community Award in 2008 for her environmental work with children.
It is a joy to live here with the fabulous views of the glaciers and mountains with the rainforest on the lower slopes. We especially enjoy being able to watch the trees and shrubs we planted mature and provide food and habitat for so many birds. This spring we were rewarded with fledgling bellbirds and fantails, whose parent birds nested in our trees. We hope that you will visit to enjoy the environment we have created, to share our gorgeous views and hear the birdsong.