Ginny Clayton of Northland, New Zealand, runs Ginny's Herbs. Ginny has extensive experience in organic and biodynamic growing, and was one of the forerunners of this method of market gardening in New Zealand.
Ginny spent many years helping run large market gardens, and became interested in organic gardening in the early 1970s. After attending seminars and workshops, Bio-Gro organic status was achieved, followed by Trans Demeter Certificate for a 117-acre farm and market garden at Whatitiri in Northland.
Biodynamics kindled Ginny's interest in herbs. She began to build up a herb business to the point where Ginny's Herbs was supplying all of the garden centres in Whangarei in the 1980s. A natural progression was into old types of vegetables, including endangered species, which has now developed into her `Old, Tried and True' non-hybrid vegetable and flower seed & seedlings seasonal catalogues. Ginny's seed range is growing, as she grows out several varieties each year under controlled conditions on her 6 acre property to ensure they do not cross pollinate. The emphasis being on encouraging others to save their own seed and help keep the best of the older varieties for future generations.
Ginny also grows out herbs from overseas -the selection of seed from overseas has to be done very carefully, to ensure that only GE-free seed is used. Ginny now has many varieties in her herb catalogue, and others becoming available each year. Companion planting also plays an important part, with these types of plants also available.
The website (www.ginnysherbs.com) then evolved, thanks to Donna Russell from E-Builders NZ Ltd, and this now has become a very important part of Ginny's business, with all the plants in her catalogues being able to be ordered through the Internet (New Zealand customers only).
As the Garden Centre trends changed, Ginny's Herbs developed into a mail order business, with only one garden centre (Palmers Garden Centre in Whangarei) being supplied.
Ginny was one of the intial stall holders at the Whangarei Growers matket, and was a regular there for 10 years, supplying organically grown many varieties of potatoes, old tried and true vegetables, and of course, her herbs and seedlings.
Ginny has been a regular feature writer for the local “Tangihua Times” since its inception several years ago, and is delighted with the feedback from her articles. Ginny also writes for and can be contacted through Landscapedesign.co.nz, and has recently become the culinary herb writer for Scene magazine in Whangarei.
Ginny teaches CEW night classes at Kamo High School, Whangarei, and her classes have been on many subjects including all aspects of herbs, potager/cottage gardening and organic growing, etc. Her courses on making herbal ointments, cosmetics, etc are extremely popular.
Being a third generation preserver of fruit and vegetables, Ginny also teaches courses on the various methods of preserving fruits, making jams and pickles, etc.
In 1998, Ginny Clayton was runner-up in the Businesswoman of the Year competition in Whangarei and ‘Ginny's Herbs' won the best outdoor site at the Dargaville Field days in 2001.
Lifestyle Farmer magazine has published two articles about Ginny and her business. One, written by Ginny, was about old potato varieties and appeared in the September 2001 issue; the other written by Sandra Bogart, was about her herb garden design service.
Ginny has had articles published in the Weekend Gardener magazine in 2008, and was invited to film a segment for Campbell Live, which aired on July 1st, 2008.
Ginny's first book was puiblished in April, 2010. It is called 'Ginny's Herb Handbook-a guide for New Zealand and Australian herb lovers'. She really enjoyed writing this book, one of her dreams come true, and it will be available through the website from 1st May and in all bookstores at $24.99.
Here is what the Bateman book promotion says:
"One of gardening's greatest pleasures is growing herbs & using them fresh from your garden. Ginny Clayton shows you how in this handbook for the modern herb grower. From culinary herbs such as Thai basil and French tarragon to herbs for healing, including comfrey and chamomile, Ginny describes how to propagate, raise and maintain over 60 herbs using organic growing methods. There are tips on how to plan your kitchen herb garden, companion planting, which herbs to plant to attract bees, and which ones repel insect pests. Also included are delicious recipes using fresh culinary herbs that boost flavour and your health, and how to make herb oils, butters and vinegars and relaxing and refreshing herbal teas. Easy to use and full of great advice, this friendly guide to homegrown herbs is all you need to get started on the road to a more herbal, and healthier, lifestyle."
Visitors are welcome by appointment at Ginny's Herbs.