The seed collectors gather seed for the Cranbourne Gardens seed stock and for the Growing Friends nursery.
Seed collecting over the last few years has involved a range of activities:
- Reconnaissance walks to identify what is ready or close to maturity for collecting.
- Collection from a wide range of sites in the RBG Cranbourne bushland.
- Processing of material collected.
- Documenting what we have collected.
The seed collected is used by the Growing Friends and by the Gardens for regeneration of the bushland. All processed seed is entered on the Cranbourne Gardens seed database. Cali Salzmann from the Gardens nursery has been terrific as a guide and trainer for our sessions, which are seen as 'training' a small group to be eventually self-sufficient, in both the collection and processing of seed.
WHEN WE MEET
The peak time for this group is November to March. Most of the sessions for the group are on weekends and go for about 2 to 3 hours. Thursday is also a convenient day to meet; some of us are also part of the Thursday Growing Friends group.
It is great to have such a keen and enthusiastic group of people, of whom between 5–8 turn up regularly to tramp through soaking rain or boiling heat to tag and note the plants whose seeds are needed by the Garden’s staff for their work, and are also available for the use of the Growing Friends.
Since our first reconnaissance walk with Cali Saltzmann in September 2013 we have conducted eight very productive and enjoyable sessions. Cali has been an encouraging and patient teacher and demonstrator of all sorts of skills, sharing her marvellous knowledge of Australian plants with us so willingly. We have learned so much and had lots of fun together.
Initially Cali gave us a great session on identifying members of the pea family in order to collect seed later, but as they were inadvertently mown off that plan did not come off!
The main area where we have recently been collecting seed is the track along the inside of the fence running down Ballarto Road from the main gate. The plants required were tagged when flowering during October to December and we have been able to find and collect seed of Sphaerolobium vimineum, Acacia oxycedrus, Dyllwinia sericea, Thysanotus multiflorus, to name a few. Some plants with minute seeds such as stylidium were bagged with stockings to catch the seed as it ripens. It is all very rewarding and worthwhile work.
We also inspected and tagged plants in the Australian Garden with Bron Swartz (who also works in the Nursery) and these have been checked and collected mostly by Charles Vernon with others of us able to check them occasionally.