Harvest Seeds and Native Plants
Marina Grassecker founded Harvest Seeds & Native Plants in 1986. Set on just over two hectares (though it’s slowly spilling onto neighbouring land), the seed merchant and nursery stocks 700 species of native plants and specialises in those endemic to Sydney. Grassecker’s goal is simple: to return our bushland to its roots.
Harvest stocks the sort of species you’d see on bushwalks in Sydney and its surrounds, or even on your plate in some restaurants. The menu of bush foods includes warrigal greens (native spinach), Trachymene incisa (native parsnip), and Austromyrtus dulcis (midgen berry). Harvest also supplied many of the crops growing at South Eveleigh’s Indigenous rooftop garden, Yerrabingin. And if you’re lucky, you might even find its Corsican mint floating in your cocktail at The Newport.
But bush foods are only the beginning of what Harvest does. A registered seed merchant, Grassecker started working with government bodies more than 30 years ago, helping them source native species for large-scale projects – or save them from the site for later. (One such project was the landscaping at Homebush for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.) Most of the grasses that line the highways as you head out of Sydney on holidays are likely her handiwork.
At Harvest, there are propagation tunnels fitted with heated plates housing seedlings, a resident blue-tongue lizard named Sandra, and row upon row of native species to buy. What makes it really special, though, is its vegetation map. It divides Sydney’s suburbs into a series of “plant communities”, so you can discover what species might have been growing at your place, way before colonisation. Then, with the help of the horticulturally handy team at Harvest, you can replant them.
You can nab yourself something native for as little as $3 from the nursery’s tube stock, or get a more mature plant for around $35. If you don’t have boundless bushland in your backyard, or any backyard at all, don’t worry. It’s a common misconception that natives can’t be potted.
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