Mark Geeves

Interview Recording


Interview Transcript

Interview Transcript Mark Geeves 3 May 2023 by Jean Elder



Mark Geeves was born into a long-established family of gardeners and orchardists in the picturesque Huon Valley, Southern Tasmania.  His mother Kay Geeves OAM [1935-2019], a dedicated amateur botanist and founder of the Tasmanian branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants [now The Australian Plants Society], instilled in him a deep appreciation of the natural world.

After schooling in the Huon Valley and in Hobart he obtained work in the garden centre at Connor’s city store, at Westland’s Pottery Road Nursery and Plants of Tasmania Nursery.  A brief period working in hospitality in Hobart encouraged Mark to take up full time work in that industry, travelling around Australia.  His time in Kakadu and North Queensland, observing the seasonal changes and rich biodiversity of those places, left a lasting impression.

He returned to Tasmania after several years of hard work, wondering what was next.  Enrolling at TAFE in Hobart, Mark obtained relevant horticultural qualifications which led to a teaching career and subsequent appointment as Head of Horticulture at Hobart TAFE.  The Tasmanian Native Plants course there appealed to many young people keen to learn more about this emerging element of gardening.

Known as ‘about the best plant hunter in Tasmania’ with an expert knowledge of Tasmanian native and exotic plants and a broad network of contacts across Australia and overseas, Mark has been in the middle of all the action – observing, communicating, collecting, and sharing with others the joy of Tasmania’s remarkable flora.

Convergent evolution is a topic of interest to Mark, as are his thoughts on our changing environment – a topic close to the heart of all involved in caring for the cultivated and wild landscapes. First-hand experience of bushfire damage in the Huon in 2018 demonstrated the value of having ‘insurance’ copies of rare plants. Together with a small group of close, like-minded friends known as the Garden Angels, he enjoys nursery and bush visits, including a surprising recent first find of Archeria comberia from the Hartz Mountains, which was featured on the cover of Australian Plants Journal.

Nearing the end of a long career at Tas TAFE, Mark looks forward to spending more time and experimentation with the plants of Gondwana in his two-hectare home garden at Port Huon.