Autumn 2017

November 25, 2017

A year filled with harvesting and processing native Irish species of flower, shrub and tree.  The first collection made in April Anemone nemerosa and the last is still to come, next week Juniperus communis.

We fulfilled our memorandum of collaboration with the Kew flora project and posted off 30 collections of wild flower seeds made this summer.  In this project Kew clean the seeds and send us back half, beautifully packaged, ready for -20C in the freezer.

Also this year we made 10 tree/shrub seed collections.  These were just for Kew, all of the seeds will reside in the Millennium Seed Bank, safe and also available in case of environmental emergency as a representation of Irish genetic material that can be brought to life and replanted.

I was talking to Stephanie, our project coordinator from Kew, last week.  She reminded me that before True Harvest Seeds started sending in collections in 2015 that there were about 16 collections from NI in the Millennium Seed Bank, so it’s great to know we’ve now added 108 collections to that list.  That’s been achievable because of funders believing in the project, because of land owners opening their gates and allowing us – staff and volunteers to come in and work, because of the department giving us licences to work in protected areas on protected species, because of our directors volunteering their time to help with the charity governance and because of our volunteers and staff who work so hard to make it happen.

Our thanks goes out to everyone near and far who’s helped.

The seeds in the seed bank in Co Down belong to the people of Ireland and are available upon request and depending on ability to grow out and suitability of location, they are given out only for the cost of allowing THS replenish the collection in the bank.

Preparations for collections in 2018 are beginning already.  We’ll examine the target species list and think about where we can find large and healthy populations.  Then it’s time to get in touch with land owners and gain their permission.  Apply for licences from the department if necessary and then make a plan.  As with all the best plans, we’ll be subject to the weather both daily and long term seasonal, so in the end we spend some time flying by the seat of our pants :).

The busy lives of seed collectors and their seed collection expeditions:  If you want to join in we’d like to hear from you, it’s not always easy to coordinate because of the weather, but we do make every effort. The training on the day is free when you come out with us to help, email Debbie or Geoff on  In 2018 we’re even able to throw in a bit travel expense money and some picnic lunch too!

Happy winter break everyone.