Small nursery with big future
IT started as a 7.5 acre paddock in Burringbar 16 years ago.
Now they have built a successful nursery that supplies sub-tropical plants to garden retailers as far away as Darwin and Adelaide.
Last week Ulrich Koerner and Jutta Straub-Koerner's business Plantasy Nursery won an industry award that recognised their business as the best small production nursery in NSW.
Mr Koerner said the win was a pleasant surprise considering its humble beginnings.
"It was a paddock when I bought it and it started pretty slow," he said.
"Then we started selling to the markets and then selling to the independent garden sellers.
"The first three years were really hard and survival wasn't a given but now we are well established in the industry."
The German horticulturist had been interested in sub-tropical plants since his university days.
"That's the huge attraction to this area because we can grow sub-tropical plants here," he said.
"We have a low amount of chemicals or insects because we use a lot of beneficial insects.
"There are birds breeding in all the greenhouses that keep the insect population down."
Mr Koerner said he took yearly business trips to places like Borneo, Bali and Thailand to get inspiration for the nursery.
"Each year we try to have a new plants but that goes through three years of aggressive testing," he said.
"We have Chinese lanterns and we do them as a standard and no-one else in Australia does them.
"We also bred two new varieties and they are on the market too."
The best small production nursery of Australia will be announced in March 2012.