Magic Seed Fairies

Published: August 31, 2022


Late last summer, while visiting Ron and Susan McBeaths garden (ex curator of Edinburgh Botanic Gardens) in Lamberton, Berwickshire, with a friend, I was chatting, as you do, to another visitor, who my friend knew very well, as he was the person responsible for Scottish Rock Gardening Club seed packing.

We were enjoying, the sun, the garden and the food, when my friend was asked if she was still ‘packing a seed box’. Of course she was and would I like to do one?

Well, you guessed, both feet!

Why not, I said.

Only later did my husband point out that someone with shaky hand syndrome (me) would have great difficulty packing seeds.
I honestly hadn’t given my shaky hands a thought.

Usually I jump with joy, when my seed booklet is pushed through my letterbox, everything stops for both Scottish Rock Garden and Hardy Plant seed booklets. Little thought is given to how this miracle happens.

Not a lot of thought into the weeks of constant hard work, teams of volunteers and amazing organisation to bring it all together.
I am sure that I am not alone in assuming we have lots of seed fairies to magic it all together.

Well, my seed box arrived, the instructions were brilliant, very exacting.

I purchased a cheap melamine tea-tray, with stand up edges. Asked my husband to cut off one of the edges to allow me to slide seeds into their packets.

Having decided to do a couple of hours per day until the box was finished, I found that my shaky hands weren’t much of a hindrance as seeds that I accidently knocked rarely escaped the tray.

Was it boring?

Not at all, in fact it was very interesting. I had no idea that seeds came in from all over the world, I assume that HPS seed will be similar.

The importance of sending seed in the first place, no seed no seed distribution, then sending in clean seed, as having to deal with seed which still needs cleaning slows progress.

Would I volunteer again -yes, I would. It made me appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes. We owe a huge thanks to our seed distribution team -they do a brilliant largely unseen job!

Maggie Duguid

Text by Maggie Duguid, who is a member of the HPS North East Group.