Recreating the Country blog
"Where have all the nurseries gone? Long time passing"
In the first three decades of Landcare, small locally based nurseries were important cogs in the indigenous revegetation machinery that put millions of trees back on our rural landscapes. Their contribution to restoring biodiversity, reducing soil erosion and combating dryland salinity on farms was considerable.
Sadly in my neck of the woods most small nurseries have closed, leaving only the larger production nurseries, that have little or no local connection, to supply plants for Landcare projects.
Small nurseries were often run by one or two people and usually produced up to 150,000 plants in tubes. This was the magic number that provided a viable income for two adults sharing the management and production roles
During the thirty years that I was part of the family team that ran Treehome Nursery in Teesdale, Victoria, there were a number of other small nurseries providing similar services. Each of these small nurseries supported a rural landscapes radiating up to 50 km from the nursery premises. Each of these small nurseries had a detailed practical knowledge of their 50km radius patch which greatly enhanced the unique services that they each provided.
Stephen Murphy is an author, an ecologist and a nurseryman. He has been a designer of natural landscapes for over 30 years. He loves the bush, supports Landcare and is a volunteer helping to conserve local reserves.