People and Places
24/06/2019
Digging in for a Queen’s Birthday Honour

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The recent Queen’s Birthday long weekend was extra special for The Diggers Club founder Clive Blazey, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his ‘significant service to horticulture, to conservation and to the community’. 

Clive and his wife, Penny, founded The Diggers Club in an old tin shed in 1978. Their first seed catalogue was published the same year. Since then, Clive’s written eight books and numerous articles for the Diggers Garden magazine, The Diggers Club has grown immensely to become Australia’s largest gardening club, and Clive has toured the country on numerous speaking tours. 

“It really is a shame these awards can’t be made in twos,” Clive said. “Penny and I started the Diggers journey together and she deserves equal credit. It’s so exciting for us gardeners to get public recognition for passionately linking gardening with the preservation of our environment.”

The past 40 years of hard work has paid off, and Clive is delighted to be recognised for his contribution to organic gardening, seed saving, and introducing heirloom seeds to Australian gardeners. Clive has been and will continue to be a diligent advocate for conservation and the environment. In 2011, the Blazey family even established a Diggers Foundation to guarantee that Clive’s important work will continue. This included gifting the Diggers Club’s priceless gardens, Heronswood in Dromana and The Garden of St Erth in Blackwood, to their foundation to make sure these gardens remained open to the public in order to inspire Australian gardeners to create productive and beautiful gardens using organic principles, and to preserve the finest heirloom varieties and gardening traditions that Clive is so passionate about.

“It’s wonderful to have gardening acknowledged in this way, and Penny and I have been delighted by all the support from Diggers Club friends and members. When we started the Diggers Club 41 years ago, we had no idea it would grow to become a club of 75,000 members. Similarly, when we bought and moved into Heronswood, we couldn’t have imagined the role it would play as a public garden today.”

Clive is also a prominent opponent of genetically modified seeds and the commoditisation of our society’s supermarket-driven food supply. He’s also behind the rescue of heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties in Australia. 

Congrats, Clive and Penny, and long live subversive gardening! 

KATE SEARS 

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