THE HOBBY THAT GOT OUT OF HAND - A flourishing Dalby business

THE HOBBY THAT GOT OUT OF HAND - A flourishing Dalby business
 

Damian Cumming of Dalby used to have a radiator works business. But he always loved the bush. When his kids were young he used to spend as much time as possible in the bush with them.

He knew all the birds and all the plants – especially the plants. One thing led to another. He began to propagate bush plants for his own garden, set on 10 flat and empty acres on the edge of Dalby where he and his wife Janelle built a home in 1984.

The neighbours wanted some – which was lucky, as he was running out of room for pots. Eventually all the neighbours ran out of space in their gardens too, but Damian and Janelle’s expertise had grown beyond the hobby stage. They started to sell their propagated plants. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame at Longreach was one of their earliest large customers, acquiring Ausplant’s native plants for much of their original landscaping in time for their official opening by The Queen in 1988.

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Thus grew what is now a major Darling Downs business. Today Ausplant Nursery, a wholesale-only business owned by Damian and Janelle’s son Brady and his wife Rachele, supplies a broad range of Australian native and exotic plants throughout Queensland and New South Wales.

It provides employment for 20 local people and is bursting out of its skin with the growing pains of its recent evolution. It’s a big-time business now.

Ausplant is Queensland’s largest plant nursery west of the Divide; which corroborates with a total of hundreds of thousands of potted plants. There flourish in various stages of propagation and growth throughout the site including cuttings, tissue cultures and grafts carefully placed in tiny pots and set in trays in the controlled-atmosphere propagation house.

Truckloads of healthy, bushy plants are regularly transported to multiple destinations up and down the east coast of Australia.

As the major plant supplier west of the Divide, the vicissitudes of the western climate are bred into the Ausplant product – with the exception of frost covers, which are essential. Once past the propagation stage they are raised in the open, watered abundantly from the purpose-built dam on the site.

In a business vibrating with success and activity, run by staff who love plants and the business of caring for them, the Cumming family constitute a deliberately low-profile, but heartwarming Dalby success story.

About the Author

Jane Grieve

Jane Grieve

Former columnist for Queensland’s Courier Mail, is a freelance journalist for several current magazines.

She has written two books, Slippin’ on the Lino and In Stockmen’s Footsteps.


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