Here is a keyed map of the Seed Savers’ gardens
1. Entrance to garden
Circular driveway with a mix of fragrant, flower and fruit trees, featuring a dozen mango trees grown from the seeds of fruit from local historical trees. Detailed labels tell origins of the plant, botanical name and usages.
2. Office of The Seed Savers’ Foundation
We are largely web-based and have neither seed reception nor storage facilities. Our more than one hundred Local Seed Networks around Australia now collect, multiply and redistribute seeds for free.
3. Seed Processing Area
Collection of sieves, winnowing and storage baskets and garden tools from around the world plus a fleet of wheelbarrows and ladders for picking fruit
4. Training Area
Space and equipment for training groups of up to thirty
5. Mediterranean Orchard
Useful plants originating around the Mediterranean, such as grapes, figs, olives, mulberry, pomegranate and bay leaf – sited in the hot westerly sector close to the road for extra heat
6. Central and South American Fruity Forest
Useful plants originating in the Americas, mostly in sub tropical forests, such as anatto, jaboticabas, black sapote, rollinia, soursop, abiu, grumichama, green sapote, acerola cherry, brasilian cherry, yellow cherry goyava, yellow grumichama, large leave Jaboticaba, goyavas, logs with gourmet and medicinal mushrooms in season – sited away from the house as they are tall, facing west and close to the road for heat.
7. Central Asian and Mixed Orchard
Useful plants domesticated in Central Asia such as subtropical suited apples, plum, plumcot, persimmon, and many of the ginger family. but also a mix of tropical understorey plants such as papaya, Gardenia tahiensis or Tiare Tahiti, local raspberries – sited near the house as these are deciduous and allow light in during the winter
8. South and East Asian Terrace
Many citrus, longan, lychee and other fruit trees, also spice and beverage trees such as cinnamon and tea, originating in Asia – sited near the house in semi-shade as these mostly originate in forests
9. Pacific Bed
Plants typical of Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian gardens, including fruits, flowers, demarcation and ritual leaves and fibres
10. Mixed Gardens
The lawn allows light and ventilation into the north side of the house and is surrounded by flower, asparagus, lemongrass and pumpkin beds
11. Where the Wild Things Are
A place for unusual plants – red pineapples, perennial cotton, Vitex agnus-casti, etc.
12. Backstage area
Every garden needs an engine room for its compost bays, nursery, large rainwater reservoir, toolshed and stockage of recycled materials.
13. Spice Garden
We converted our pond into a spice garden with tamarind, turmeric, ginger, galangal, candlenut, pepper, pandan, kaffir lime, lemongrass, chilli and green vegetables in between.
14. Sunken Vegetable Garden
Nine large raised beds with Mediterranean herbs around each; mixed mosaics of self-seeding, perennial and biennial vegetables, (e.g., three onion family perennials) interspersed with herbs and flowers.
15. Chicken Pen
All our kitchen scraps go to the chickens who are based in Fort Fowl under a large mulberry tree. At the moment, October 2014, we have only two chooks in the pen, the Charbon sisters: Chacha and Bonbon. They are left out every day to eat grass and are given logs to host insects in their pen so they produce good eggs.
16. Wilderness (Zone Five)
Bushland along railway line consisting of Ti Trees, Eucalypts, Ficus and grasses; habitat for predators on pests (and a pesky wallaby).
17. Row of Ti-Trees
Melaleuca alternifolia used for making ti-tree oil
18. Stockpile of Mulch and Compost
We use a large quantity of mulch annually for weed control and occasionally make big piles of compost with truck-fulls of manure. Local tree surgeons may dump their chips gratis in this area
19. Bamboo Circle
All are clumping species: Dendrocalamus latiflorus and D. membranaceous for edible shoots, Bambusa multiplex (and “Cream stripe”), B. oliveriana and B. vulgaris for use as timber and garden stakes
20. Bush Foods and Timber Trees
Local native bush foods that we grew from seeds include Macadamia, Davidsonia, Microcitrus (finger lime) and Lilli Pillis.
21. Banana and Cecropia Forest
Cecropia is a favourite food of South American sloths. It acts as an umbrella for many fruit trees below. Lady fingers are just one of our ten banana varieties and these have created a microclimate for coffee and other shade lovers.
22. Permaculture Fruity Forest
Climax storey of large legumes – Caesalpinia, Albizzia, Inga, Leuceana, etc., with many fruit trees below, and understorey of gingers, et al.
23. Windbreak of Bamboos
The roadside has a spine of a dozen species of bamboo that break up the wind: Bambusa vulgaris, B. lako, B. textilis, B. multiplex “Cream Stripe”,”Alphonse Karr” and “Malay Dwarf”, and B. oldhamii, B. oliveriana, Dendrocalamus latiflorus, Nastus elatus (shoots are edible raw), Schizostachyum brachycladum, S. “Murray Island”.
24. Open Area for Light and Ventilation
As this is the centre of the land, light can penetrate all the gardens and the house throughout the year. In a subtropical climate like ours, especially as we have swamp on either side of us, we need ventilation in the house and for our plants. This area allows all our winds to aerate our home and garden beds: the afternoon sea breezes, the prevailing south easterlies, the Winter westerlies and the Spring northerlies.
The Seed Gardens are located in Byron Bay. We offer internships, accommodation at Seed Savers and guided group tours by Michel and Jude six months a year when in Australia.They also travel and train.
Seed Savers takes just a few interns each year. The gardens now, 20 years later have fully matured so it is a chance to live in a Permaculture climax forest. Intern gardeners need to demonstrate a commitment to learning by doing in the Seed Savers gardens. You having a project in mind helps us to help you. Permaculture-inspired people are most welcome to apply. Separate accommodation with your own bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and toilet is provided. We are on one acre of Permaculture style gardens just 2km from the post office. The internship is free and is based on a solid work exchange. If you cannot wake up at dusk forget about it. We also have a large ethnobotanical library to pursue your studies. Internships have a short trial period. You are welcome to send your CV and aspirations. Jude and Michel will ring you on your mobile or Skype.
Seed Savers also take in bright sparks with the skills of IT or video editing for periods from one week to six months. Please look at the website and let us know how you can help.
The Seed Gardens
The one acre Permaculture-inspired urban gardens, established in 1998, have two food forest reaching climax. Because the gardens are an early version of Food Forests, (it is our second food forest in 35 years) it is been utilised for courses by other teachers such as Permacuture Research Institute Geoff Lawton and Permaculture college’s Robyn Francis, as part of their courses. Michel and Jude have run several dozens courses here but now practice solidarity seed tours. The herb and spice gardens are largely made of perennial as well as designed to self-seed ie low input.
Bill Mollison and David Holmgren have been amongst our visitors and supporters. The gardens have been open twice on the ABC Open Garden Scheme and had up to 2000 people in one weekend. The land is now producing to a great extent by itself and suits our multifaceted lives. This is very much our version of growing food and our version or adaptation of Permaculture but it is first and foremost a diversity garden, to test strategies and plants out.
Vegetables like sweet fennel, French parsley, Asian brassicas and mustards, European collards and kales revert to their ancestors so they get far stronger flavours, pigments and antioxidants. Some are let to produce seeds that are allowed or assisted to seed in the different sections of the landscaped gardens. Michel and Jude let plants fend for themselves.
Jude and Michel are the founding directors of Seed Savers’Network. The have documented the garden with seeds and biodiversity in mind. They wrote their first and best selling Seed Savers’ Handbook from a bio-cultural angle, between the late 80’s and early 90’s. From their Byron Bay gardens, they participated in numerous television shows and produced 1500 video clips and two documentaries. Michel and Jude have been hosting the organisation in their abode since 1986 and welcome visitors in their gardens in groups but also singly at time. If you have a special purpose let us know by email so they can organise to meet you at the Seed Gardens in Byron Bay, northern New South Wales on the Australian Pacific Coast.
If you like to organise a group of people to visit, tours can be tailored to suit individual needs or requests. The tour may focus on bamboos and their usage, food forest establishment and structure, vegetable gardens set up and low input maintenance, the ginger family or seed production proper, etc. SeedSavers is able to assist to establish seed networks, local, regional and national in your country. 22 people from Taiwan came with that in mind in early 2014 for this purpose.
It takes a good two hours tour to take you around with either Michel or Jude and sometimes both if it is a large tour. You will be served home grown drinks and you will taste fruit, berries, or nuts of the moment.
Charges apply: Generally 12 people for a two hours mini course/tour is minimum. 25 is great if you hire a bus. Small tours are OK but it makes it more economical for you to gather more people. Basis is $15 per hour per participant less for longer courses.
Outreach courses: Similar charges apply when they travel to your local seed network , council function, garden club, community gardens, Permaculture course, function, and depends on distances to travel for J&M. They request to have 50% of your target numbers met 30 days before the course starts, and then 2/3 of your booking numbers finalised, i.e. fully paid in to you, two weeks before the course starts, these are pre-requisite for the course to go ahead. 25 people is a minimum when they travel to you. The charge is per person. The cost of travels and hotel accommodation will need to be included in your calculations. Note that Jude and Michel largely recommend gardener to gardener learning, learning by doing (as they do in the Majority World). By large they do not consider themselves the essential ingredient in learning how to produce food from own seeds/seed to seed. Having said this since the 1980’s both have visited and motivated seed saving groups in 39 countries. They do respond to invitations. Explain the reasons/motivations of your request. They also need props: a diversity garden. Jude and Michel suggest that you get all the free publiciy you can get in the form of articles on the subject well in advance with your local ABC, commercial radios, banners work super well, posters at crucial spots in town, the local rags are important. They are happy to be on air. Thank you!
They are very dynamic duo. The course can be just one day or a a full weekend with a film projection the evening of arrival Friday. At the course they first ask questions to the public, then give a historical of the seed saving movement starting with the indigenous people who evolved varieties in their gardens and fields. Why now a movement of seed saving. How it all stared in Australia and Plant Patenting issues. Why plant diversity in gardens, how to save seeds of biennials, common and lesser known vegetables, tubers, rhizomes, getting to know what local varieties grow in your area, and seed saving proper: selection exercises in the gardens, harvest flowering summities, storage methods, as in their Seed Savers’ Handbook. Themselves enjoy now a self seeding gardens and will share their practices with you.
The gardens are open only when Michel and Jude are in Byron Bay, when landscaping is not in progress. During wet weather there is no garden visits. Be sure to let them know when you intend to come, also fill in your request form as they are keen to know what your project is about if you have one at the moment, who you are and what is your area of interest in life. If you think that a meeting will be beneficial in some way for other purpose let them know. Michel and Jude love to meet people with a sense of purpose.
If you have been at the Seed Gardens previously please remind Michel and Jude of who you are. If you would not mind using the contact form below to let us know of your intentions. We’ll ring you on your mobile to make a date and time of day.
If you have already in our region and wish to discuss a humanitarian or development related project with Michel and Jude let them know by email and describe the project they’ll love to see you and hear about your current work. Michel(at)seedsavers.net Please check Our Global Reach for the places where Seed Savers have assisted with seed systems.
The Seed Gardens are situated on the East Coast of Australia south of the border of Queensland and New South Wales, two hours south of Brisbane, Australia in Byron Bay. Again a reminder to use the contact form below whatever the purpose of your visit is.
You may now stay here at Organic seed Gardens on Airbnb.
Thanks! Michel & Jude will be in touch very soon!
Required fields not completed correctly.