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.
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.
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.
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.