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Clive Blazey: A Legacy in Gardening and Conservation

Clive Blazey, a name synonymous with organic gardening and heirloom seed preservation, has left an indelible mark on the Australian horticultural landscape.

Featured Image: The Diggers Club

In the verdant tapestry of Australian horticulture, few names shine as brightly as Clive Blazey. A visionary, conservationist, and gardening maestro, Blazey’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion and dedication.

From the establishment of The Diggers Club to his relentless advocacy for organic and sustainable practices, Clive has redefined the contours of gardening in Australia.

This article delves into the life and legacy of a man who, with seeds and soil, has sown more than just plants – he has sown a revolution.

Join us as we unearth the story of Clive Blazey, the luminary who brought heirloom treasures back into Australian gardens.

Early Life and Achievements

Clive Blazey, a name synonymous with organic gardening and heirloom seed preservation, has left an indelible mark on the Australian horticultural landscape.

His journey began with a vision to reintroduce Australians to the rich tapestry of heirloom vegetables, a mission that would eventually lead to the establishment of The Diggers Club in 1978.

This venture was not just a business but a movement, aiming to make edible gardening fashionable once more and to champion the cause of organic and sustainable practices.

The Diggers Club: A Revolution in Gardening

In 1983, Clive and his wife Penny moved into Heronswood, a ‘Gothic Revival’ style house located on the Mornington Peninsula. This historic property, once a holiday home for Melbourne’s elite, became the heart of The Diggers Club.

Under Clive’s stewardship, the garden at Heronswood was transformed into an organic, experimental, and educational haven, showcasing the beauty of heirloom vegetables in decorative patterns.

The Diggers Club was more than just a seed supplier; it was a pioneer in the rescue of heirloom vegetables. Clive’s efforts were instrumental in challenging the monotony of the traditional English diet, introducing Australians to diverse tasting experiences inspired by global cuisines.

Advocacy and Recognition

Clive’s dedication to organic gardening, seed saving, and the introduction of heirloom seeds to Australian gardeners did not go unnoticed.

In 2019, he was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for his ‘significant service to horticulture, to conservation, and to the community’.

This recognition was a testament to his four-decade-long commitment to organic gardening, conservation, and environmental advocacy.

A Staunch Critic of GM and Industrial Agriculture

Beyond his gardening endeavors, Clive has been an outspoken critic of genetically modified (GM) plants and industrial agriculture.

He has expressed concerns about the potential health impacts of Roundup Ready GM crops and the monopolization of the seed industry by a few agritech giants.

Clive’s advocacy is rooted in the belief that the patenting of genes threatens the public’s ownership of millennia of seed selection, potentially giving a handful of companies control over the global food supply.

Legacy and Philanthropy

Understanding the importance of preserving his work for future generations, Clive and his family established the Diggers Foundation in 2011.

This charitable foundation ensures the continuation of The Diggers Club’s mission and the preservation of Heronswood for the public.

Personal Favorites and Inspirations

Clive’s passion for gardening is evident in his personal favourites. He holds heirloom tomatoes, particularly the Tommy Toe and Green Zebra varieties, in high regard.

When it comes to ornamental plants, the lotus stands out for him, admired for its beauty in bloom, leaf, and seed.

In terms of inspiration, Clive finds solace and beauty in the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens and Adelaide Botanic Gardens, having visited them countless times.

The wildness of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and the Crosscut Saw ridge in the Victorian Alps also hold a special place in his heart.

Conclusion

Clive Blazey’s journey in the world of gardening is a testament to passion, dedication, and a genuine love for the environment.

His efforts have not only reintroduced Australians to the wonders of heirloom vegetables but have also ignited a broader conversation about sustainable and organic practices in gardening.

Through The Diggers Club and his various initiatives, Clive Blazey’s legacy will continue to inspire and guide gardeners for generations to come.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.

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2 thoughts on “Clive Blazey: A Legacy in Gardening and Conservation”

  1. We are very proud to have Penny and Clive Blazey AM as our Founders. The Diggers Club always welcome and support everyone on their gardening journey! Thank you for writing this story and appreciating Clive’s legacy.

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