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. His passion for plants blossomed into a career that spans over 44 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 in areas such as community, interpretation, education and area design.
His teaching career began when he was 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 nipaluna/Hobart where he developed innovative technology-based learning programs which have been used throughout Australia and internationally.
“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.”
Marcus now leads a team of up to 20 horticulturists, developing Spring Bay Mill’s creative landscape vision and managing its existing natural forests and grasslands.
A canvass of around 43 hectares, rewilding, habitat building, gardens abundant with delicious, organically grown food, and a community to share it all with, are just a couple of things this vision encompasses. From the uniquely designed Aeolian mound landscape of the amphitheatre to the sandstone terrace gardens of the Banksia building, the work continues.
Spring Bay Mill. It’s a place to visit and experience the environment, perhaps learn something new or discover a new taste. A safe place suitable for all ages and an opportunity for the community to invigorate and reconnect with natural systems. A celebration of verdant growth and the creative community involved in its development.
All things good & delicious
Organic produce at Spring Bay Mill
Both our well-loved Paddy’s Paddock and our upcoming Organic Kitchen Gardens are designed to supply the Mill with fresh, local, wholesome food for guests and visitors.
From little things...
Every magnificent tree begins with a tiny seed – literally and figuratively.
Up to 10,000 young plants live at any one time in the Spring Bay Mill nursery, waiting to join the ongoing rejuvenation and rewilding mission that underpins everything we do at the Mill.
Schools & community
Spring Bay Mill is a place for community learning and collaboration. We host regular visits from individuals young and old with this purpose in mind, as well as sharing and connecting with local organisations and councils.
Cultural Burn with Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
We recently hosted Rangers from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, to undertake Cultural Burning practices within the bushland of the Mill. Aboriginal burning methods are holistic, considering the sky, soil and the various creatures that inhabit the land. The burns use a ‘cool’ burning technique that produces a smaller flame limiting the damage to creatures, advanced trees and herbaceous plants – in turn reducing organic fuel loads while reinvigorating the native flora and fauna. It has probably been more than 150 years since this type of forest practice has been undertaken onsite.
Native bushland has relied on regular managed burning practices for tens of thousands of years. With a return to this type of burning we are assisting the ongoing health and the responsible stewardship of the land.
FACT – It is estimated that native lowland grasslands used to have a range of more than 300,000 hectares in lutruwita/Tasmania prior to European settlement. They are now down below 8000.
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 macro-invertebrates, 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.