The Heemskerk’s horticultural green thumbs have been traced back to 1690 Holland, although fortunately those centuries of expertise can be accessed right here in Tamworth as the local nursery celebrates a major milestone of their own this month.
It was fifty years ago that Jacob Heemskerk “bought a sloping block in grazing country” on the Armidale rd, starting the now third generation business, Heemskerks Nursery, that still stands there today with son Peter and grandson Deon at the helm.
“It all started with a small bush house made out of stringy bark offcuts, and the office was just a small lean-to with a dirt floor but it came together bit by bit,” Peter said.
Peter has been there since the business was that seedling, and now that he is eyeing his own retirement, wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I’ve really enjoyed the fifty years – talking to customers every day, living the outdoor life, it’s been great,” he said.
During that time, the Tamworth landscape has changed dramatically, and so to has their nursery needs, as well as the hints, tips and information that comes with the plants and products.
“Yards have got smaller and houses bigger, people are still buying trees for new subdivisions, but we also do a lot more town gardens, smaller hedge plants, roses, and things like that,” Peter said.
Deon has also witnessed the changing landscape, as digging meets digital.
“The internet has been a huge change to the industry,” he said. There is so much information out there now, even apps for diseases, but it is not always right, people still come here because they need local advice. Tamworth can be difficult because Summer is so harsh and Winter gets so cold.”
Heemskerk’s will be celebrating the half century with an open day in early September.