Adelaide Botanic Garden: Heirloom-seed mission


Today wasn't going to be so good from a weather perspective; cool, only fourteen degrees with showers sweeping across the city and some intermittent blue skies. That forecast didn't fill me with enthusiasm but I'd spent yesterday planning out a mission to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with the target being heirloom seeds and I wasn't about to let inclement weather prevent me from deploying said seed-mission.


Adelaide Botanic Gardens

I visit several times a year as the gardens change so much with the seasons. Located right in the city the gardens cover around fifty hectares of ground and there's several different types of gardens including Australian forest, water Mediterranean, wetland, rose garden, Australian native, dahlia garden, fernery and others. There's also several architectural features like the museum of economic botany, Amazon waterlily pavilion, palm house and the Southern Hemisphere's largest single span conservatory housing a rainforest.

There's also many sculptures dotted about the place, water features, ponds and creeks and, of course, a lot of open grassed areas with very old and established trees spread around the place; perfect for picnics. The Botanic Gardens also has a couple of cafés and a restaurant and function centre plus a garden store. It's a lovely place to stroll, to find a little nook out of the way, and just be with nature.


The seed mission

My mission was more of a recce, a reconnaissance, than a direct action mission to be honest. I've been doing some vegetable gardening of late and wanted to check out the heirloom seeds I'd heard about that are available at the Diggers Garden Shop in the Botanic Gardens.

Heirloom seeds are gathered after flowering, are open-pollinated and are non-genetically modified. Basically, an unaltered seed which will produce repeatable results. That's my understanding anyway. All I know for sure is I'm keen to start growing vegetables from heirloom seeds so wanted to do some research, talk to some people and see what's up.

The shop is located in the Schomburgk Pavilion which also houses one of the cafés, called Café Fibonacci, and provides access to the museum also.

The photos below were all taken in the pavilion. There's many varieties of plants on sale, all found within the Botanic Garden; it's not like a traditional nursery though and there's a limited supply but it's all Botanic Gardens oriented which is cool. One can wander about and see the mature plants in the garden and then purchase them to take home.


I was there for vegetables though and after perusing some strawberry plants that I really wanted in a rack outside, about ten different varieties, I headed inside for a wander about and to talk with one of the workers there and to find out a little more about the heirloom seed thing as I know so little about it.

The shop isn't huge and it's not filled with everything under the sun; it's just got a selected stock of items with a focus on quality and items that are specific to the Botanic Gardens - Products they use, and some other garden stuff and a few books. It's not a souvenir shop.


I was really keen on getting one of those little bee houses you see in the larger image above but I refrained, somehow, and ended up walking out with nothing but information, no seeds even, but I had a list of some things I'd be back for.

It was good to talk with the shopkeeper though, a knowledgeable chap who used to work in the Botanic Gardens as a gardener. He seemed to have all the information I needed and whilst my questions weren't all that technical it answered enough to allow me to chase down further information...And yes I know I could have got this information online but I'm an analogue sort of chap. Besides, I couldn't have taken a walk through the gardens on my computer so there was that drawcard also.


Garden walking

As I said earlier the weather wasn't that great today. There were some moments of blue skies and a little sunshine but it was mainly overcast, cool and reasonably windy. I'd brought along my camera, macro lens and tripod but it was far too windy to capture anything worth keeping so I resorted to phone photography as I wandered about.


I'll admit that the Botanic Gardens didn't seem as splendid as usual today however I still enjoyed walking around, the fresh air and having nature around me.

The cool thing is that there's not only paved pathways which allow wheelchair access for those who need it, but also little out-of-the-way paths that meander through the gardens. They open out to little secluded nooks and grassed areas and provide some privacy and seclusion. I've spent many moments in places such as this reading books in solitude and sometimes even taking a nap, falling asleep to the sounds of the creek or the birds. Just lovely. I took some of those paths today and enjoyed the adventure.


My heirloom seed mission was a success today and not just from the seed-fact-finding perspective but also from the peace-of-mind-finding perspective. As I wander about natural places like this I find worries and stresses melt away, for a time at least, and I tend to feel better. Better is a pretty good way to feel I guess right?

If you're ever in Adelaide the Botanic Gardens are a great place to visit and are only a few minutes walk from the very centre of the city. It's free to enter and is open year-round. Whether it's a walk, lunch or an information-gathering mission like mine today these gardens are a great place to spend some time with nature.

Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - Tomorrow isn't promised so be humble and kind

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All images are mine

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