Marcus Ragus, Head Horticulturist
Marcus Ragus started creating miniature cactus and succulent gardens and selling them at local markets when he was 11 years old. This passion for plants blossomed into a career that has spanned over 40 years in professional horticulture and gardening. From retail nurseries to private gardens and public parks, organic produce farms and education institutions, he has brought his expertise to pretty much every area of the horticulture industry throughout Australia.
Marcus was manager of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens for 10 years. In this senior management role he pioneered initiatives such as community programs, education and area design.
His teaching career began when he was only 19 at the Ryde School of Horticulture where he spent 10 years as a horticultural science teacher. He then went on to spend many years teaching horticulture, nature and landscape in Hobart where he developed innovative technology-based learning programs which have been used throughout Australia and internationally.
Marcus’ combination of practical knowledge and passion for plants makes him an engaging presenter resulting in appearances on ABC Gardening Australia and various ABC, community and commercial radio programs.
“I love plants and I have a diverse interest in all that is natural. My drive is to pass on this passion to people of all ages. I really believe in the health benefits of being close to plants, animals and all things that nature provides.”
Bicheno Penguin Habitat
We recently held community plant propagation days at Bicheno, 8-10 July. The outcome was to collect and propagate a range of local coastal plants that can then be replanted within the areas of the endangered Bicheno coastal penguin habitat. The young cuttings will be looked after in the propagation facilities at The Mill’s nursery. Once established they will be planted back into the Bicheno penguin rookery from August 2020, during the National Tree Day activities and beyond.
Spring Bay Mill and Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, Natural Resources team, supported the day which was presented by SBM Horticultural consultant Marcus Ragus.
The weather was perfect and the community volunteers were very enthusiastic. Due to social distancing restrictions a capped total of 13 people made the list. The participants enjoyed a fun, engaging and very satisfying day of community engagement and horticultural learning.
The terra-riffic! bio-compost
We are showcasing a range of fabulous organic composting practices at the Sunflower Celebration. From deep litter recycling and worm towers to the amazing bio-compost heap. The Mills organic field is only one year old and yet it is producing regular bounties of organic produce for The Mill and the local community. The many composting techniques used to improve the soils (terra) of the site are one significant parts of the success behind turning a standard field into a totally organic productive garden for all.
Expedition of Discovery
In a world of shrinking natural habitats, it is key to the future of all communities that we understand whatever we can from what is left of our natural biodiversity. To plan for the future, we need to have a good idea as to what is there now. From the small and yet complex organisms, such as the tiny terrestrial lichens and macroinvertebrates, to our rich marine ecosystems, we have a duty to discover the richness of life now, to inform and add to the learning of our future generations.
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) Expedition of Discovery team do just this; they provide an amazing service for the community. Spring Bay Mill is very proud to support this marvellous initiative and we are all very excited to see what can be discovered here in this very spectacular and always surprising part of the Tasmanian coastline.
In October, the Mill nursery, horticultural team hosted our first Community Volunteer Open Day. We were blown away by the enthusiasm of over 30 individuals with a keen interest in horticulture and native plant regeneration. Our hort team have more information for people interested in volunteering and training/learning opportunities at Spring Bay Mill. If you couldn’t make the weekend and are still curious to get involved in helping us regenerate the site, contact us.
Triabunna District School’s Kitchen Garden Program came for a visit onsite. They helped install our new commercial worm farms with our horticulturalist, Marcus Ragus, and learned all about these amazing creatures and the role they play in the food chain. All food waste from events held on site will now be recycled using this system.
The picture-perfect location with magnificent vistas across Spring Bay and the farm land surrounds, offers a great environment for growing specialist organic fruit and vegetables. The geography and the proximity to the large water expanses of the bay creates a distinct microclimate that moderates extremes and allows for all kinds of fascinating exotic edibles all year round.
All things good and delicious
What started as a small patch of grassy paddock with a few sheep and wallaby, is now producing its first kilos of freshly harvested heirloom vegetables. Located within a stone’s throw of the Spring Bay Mills entrance is a unique organic production veggie patch known to staff and friends of the Spring Bay Mill as ‘Paddy’s Paddock’.