Jennifer StackhouseCrocus tribute for plantsman Marcus Harvey

Last year we lost one of Australia’s leading rare plant collectors and growers, Marcus Harvey. His death left a huge hole not only in his family but also among keen gardeners. Marcus died from melanoma in December. He was 64 years old.

Marcus Harvey on Chios. Photo Susan Jarick

 

Tasmanian born and bred, he operated his business Hillview Rare Plants from his steep hillside property at South Hobart. While the business has not traded since his death, his family hopes to offer a final catalogue of bulbs for sale in the 2017/2018 season.

 

Crocus harveyi in bud. Photo Jānis Rukšāns

 

Marcus Harvey had a particular love of crocus so it is fitting that his name will be associated with a beautiful crocus species grown and named just this week by fellow rare plant enthusiast Jānis Rukšāns. The new ‘Marcus Harvey’ crocus (Crocus harveyi) is a species originally collected by Marcus as seed during one of his collecting trips in Greece. The new name was published on this week in International Rock Gardener.

 

A hillside in the Plagia region in Greece where Marcus originally collected the crocus that now carries his name. Photo Jānis Rukšāns

 

Marcus Harvey wrote about his collecting adventures in his blog titled ‘Ramblings’, which is published on his website and also in poems. His blog posts recount joyous discoveries of rarities and descriptions of far away places along with the inevitable setbacks. In ‘Mad Dogs and Primroses’ he tells the story of rescuing son Alex when he was chased up a mountainside by angry dogs as Harvey himself was in pursuit of an illusive primrose. Illustrations accompanying many of Marcus’s blogs and seed lists are by his partner Susan Jarick.

 

Marcus Harvey was honoured this week by having one of his favourite plants, Crocus harveyi, named after him. Photo Jānis Rukšāns

 

 

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Jennifer Stackhouse

About Jennifer Stackhouse

Recently Jennifer Stackhouse made the big move from Kurmond in NSW to a Federation house in the little village of Barrington tucked beneath Mt Roland in northwest Tasmania. With high rainfall, rich, red deep soil and a mild climate she reckons she's won the gardening lottery. She's taken on an acre garden that's been lovingly planted and tended for the past 28 years by a pair of keen gardeners so she is discovering a garden full of horticultural treasures. Jennifer is the author of several gardening books including 'Garden', which won a Book Laurel for 2013, as well as ‘The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens’, ‘Planting Techniques’ and ‘My Gardening Year’, which she wrote with her mother Shirley. She was editor of ABC 'Gardening Australia' magazine and now edits the trade journal 'Greenworld' magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in 'The Mercury'. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

2 thoughts on “Crocus tribute for plantsman Marcus Harvey

  1. Bernard Chapman on said:

    Wow, Jennifer, what a fitting legacy for someone who was obviously a special human being, who the world is the poorer for his passing. Thank you for sharing this story. I love crocus, too. I wish we could grow them in Sydney! Hugs, Bernard

    • Thanks Bernard! Aren’t the images of the crocus just wonderful.
      Jennifer

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