NextGen Kings Park Tour
On June 12th, our NextGen group and interested members, met up at the Kings Park Nursery facility for an in-depth talk and tour on the educational topics of ‘Plant Breeding’ and 'Seed Collection and Conservation'.
Head Plant Breeder, Digby Growns, led one group through the propagation/plant breeding area of the nursery, highlighting their very interesting Grevillea and Kangaroo Paw Plant Breeding Program, even including an exclusive look at their tissue culture lab where they are working on new varieties of Chamelaucium ‘Waxflowers’. Digby explained the rigorous processes involved in the decision to release a new plant hybrid for sale; 5-7 years for growing and selecting plants for desired flower colour, level of disease resistance and overall plant performance.
Seed Collector/Conservationist, Luke Sweedman, then spoke about his work collecting many thousands of seeds from Western Australia for Kings Park Nursery and the ‘Millenium Seed Bank’ in Kew UK.. With some 3o years experience under his belt, Luke gave a very thorough overview of his work to date. Everyone was amazed at the distances Luke would travel to collect seed, sometimes staying in remote areas of Western Australia for weeks at a time with just one assistant staff member, a caravan, and a kitted out seed collection vehicle.
At the conclusion of the talk and tour, everyone stayed around for a chat during lunch - a great opportunity to ask questions, and learn more about this area of our industry - which very few have access to. This is one of the main benefits of becoming a NextGen or NGIWA Member.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Digby Growns and Luke Sweedman from Kings Park, and of course, our NextGen sponsor Bailey’s Fertiliser for making this amazing opportunity possible.