xvii. COMMERCIAL NURSERIES AND PLANT GROWERS
This research was not focused on commercial nurseries; however some opinion was sort from plant nurseries and growers on community purchasing trends. Their responses were an invaluable alternative source of evidence for my research findings.
Chris Reed (Kevin Heinze Garden Centre) reported feedback he has had from the CEO of the Garden Nurserymen’s Association that the latest figures show that “there is a very large increase in people growing their own vegies and a huge decrease in ornamental flower sales. So there is a switch from an ornamental basis to a food basis.” Individual nurseries backed this up, highlighting this switch from their own experience, and amongst ‘quick turnover’ plant growers.
Some nurseries that participated in the research offered strong support for a broader community move toward self sufficiency and sustainability. These notable nurseries included, as part of broader CERES activities, the SGA certified CERES Nursery, with a focus on permaculture and useful plants, including bushfoods.
Another SGA certified nursery, Bulleen Art and Garden, have developed an increased focus on edible and productive plants, using prominent food garden displays that also incorporate bushfoods. Scotsburn Nursery facilitated children gardening activities at the Stonnington Spring into Gardening Festival.
While the metropolitan retail nurseries reported increases in self sufficient plant sale, not all edible plant growers and seed suppliers shared in this experience. Some growers felt that water restrictions and mainstream community attitudes were negative variables in the equation. It must be noted that while the Melbourne community is a major source of sales, these plant growers are based in rural areas. While plant growers were not widely consulted in this study, it is worth taking into account these divergent views.