3 April 2024

Riverina Made: A package of loveliness with endless possibilities in Joanne's bundles of seeds

| Vanessa Hayden
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Woman holding flower seeds

Joanne Diver has turned her love of the outdoors and gardening into a business where she grows, picks and packages many varieties of the smaller flowering native plants. Photo: Vanessa Hayden.

Who are you and what is your business? My name is Joanne Diver and I am the Backyard Garden Enthusiast, a micro business that grows Australian native flower and grass seed, to sell to gardeners via my website and at selected markets. My business name came about as I believe that we’re forever learning as gardeners, that we can all garden; it doesn’t matter if we think we have a green or black thumb, we just need a sense of adventure and to give it a go. One of my customers has admitted that she doesn’t know a thing about gardening and put her sweet pea seeds in a hanging basket and got a lovely surprise!

Where did you begin? I started my business in 2018 when I was at a crossroads of knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be outside and in the garden, and after sorting through many ideas, I worked out that I love seeds, have always collected seeds, so why not grow seeds! So, I now grow, hand pick and package many varieties of the smaller flowering native plants that you would see in an Australian native grassland and beyond, including some lovely daisies from Western Australia.

They are little bundles of joy and hope enclosed in a case of possibilities. They are basically little gifts, so I decided to design the packaging to suit “Seeds as Gifts”, something that I could include in a card or give to friends for a housewarming gift, a christening or a birthday!

What do you produce? I primarily grow Australian native flower and grass seed, and some exotics, which totals about 18 different species. Our Australian native flowers and grasses are just so beautiful and suit every type of garden, from a meadow garden to a cottage garden and you don’t have to have solely native plants in your garden; mix and match! Some of the smaller plants are really interesting, for example the Australian native rock isotome, is great for bringing in the blue-banded bees and then of course you have everyone’s favourite, billy buttons.

READ ALSO: Riverina Made: Kerrie Docker relishes the art of making wheel-thrown pieces

What do you sell that makes a great gift? Seeds are fabulous gifts of joy and hope, just waiting to be planted and in return they offer the promise of a whole garden of loveliness in the one package. Easy to post or gift to a friend, they are beautifully packaged by hand and are something to include in a card or give to friends for a housewarming gift, a christening or a birthday!

What would you make if you could do anything? If I could do anything, I’d probably turn the green roof of Parliament House into an Australian native grassland! A living example of what existed across most of eastern Australia but is now threatened due to urban expansion and agricultural practices. Imagine Parliament House with the green roof of a grassland, dotted with colour and the grasses waving in the breeze.

Where can we buy your products? You can buy my range of Australian native seeds and some exotics at www.backyardgardenenthusiast.com.au and autumn is the perfect time to plant!

How would you promote the Riverina? I was born and raised in the Riverina, and after 15 years in Sydney, I returned to the region. I just love the open plains and big sky; it is my spiritual home.

READ ALSO: Riverina Made: Turning wood into works of wonder

Coolest local thing you’ve ever bought? The coolest thing that I’ve ever bought were two original illustrations by a botanical artist that I knew when I used to walk by her garden and have a chat. I will treasure them for the memories of her in the garden.

Where’s your favourite place for a cuppa? My favourite place for a cuppa would probably be from a thermos along a roadside somewhere; I just love a road trip.

Who is another local producer you admire? The local producer that I most admire is Erin from RAD Growers; she’s a powerhouse of energy, producing some fabulous fruit and veg in her market garden. You’ll find her at the Albury Farmers Market every Saturday – www.radgrowers.com.

Region Riverina is committed to celebrating our local producers and creatives and encourages everyone to buy locally.

If you’re aware of someone who’s making something amazing, let us know!

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