Collecting seeds – an RTBG story

Previously I have talked about my meagre seed collecting thrills with cosmos, lettuce, tomatoes, silver beet, chard, paper daisies, calendulas and parsley. These pale into existence compared to some grand seed collecting expeditions. Earlier this month friend J (thanks) sent me the link to an inspiring ABC news story.  You can read it here.

One of my fellow Food Garden volunteers at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) was booked to join this walk for the seed collection. However once the virus hit and we went into lockdown, the trek with half a dozen people was cancelled because they would not, as a group, have been able to keep the necessary social distance in all aspects of the travel. He was gutted of course and hopes to do the walk another time; and to help with seed collection in this precious national park if he can.

I admire James Wood and his remarkable dedication; this would have been an extremely challenging walk because the weather has cooled dramatically in recent weeks and in the centre of Tasmania on some of those open plains the weather would have been bitter.  And to say the rain would have dampened spirits is probably an understatement. But obviously James Wood persisted.

This sort of seed collecting of our Tasmanian native species is essential. As dramatic hot bushfires become the norm, having seeds ready to regenerate forests will provide necessary protection from loss of species. In the summer of 2019 major fires rampaged across the north western part of the west coast of Tasmania and razed the landscape to the ground in places around Couta Rocks and elsewhere. The Guardian introduced this fiasco. Early reports were later amended as new information arrived and it was found that multi acres of native forests were lost.

There will always be fires (from electrical storms or human intervention) so what James Wood and others are doing must continue. ‘Why?’- some do ask. Because plants existed before animals; they are the glue (that we understand so little) that binds the operation of the world together. Without them we don’t breathe – and that’s just for starters.

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