Byron ClarkWhere were you born and where did you spend most of your childhood?

I was born here in Christchurch and grew up in Papanui.

Where do you live now and with whom?

Today I live in Mairehau with my partner, our three flatmates, two cats, two chickens and a Flemish Giant rabbit.

What aroused your interest in gardening or horticulture?

I started going to the Okeover Community Garden when I was a student at the University of Canterbury as a way to save money on food and because a number of people from the Environmental Sociology class I was taking were involved. Many of my gardening skills were learned there.

What gardening or horticultural interests do you have now?

I’m growing mostly edibles and interested in permaculture methods

What’s your favourite plant and why?

Over winter my favourite has been Jerusalem artichokes, while the garden has looked bare it’s been great to be able to find a lot of food just below the surface of the soil.

What’s been your most challenging and/or rewarding gardening project ?

This year we grew a number of vegetables in pea straw bales as an alternative to building new raised beds, the rewarding part was the huge amount of tomatoes, zucchinis, aubergines, capsicans and chillis we manged to get from just a dozen straw bales and a few bags of compost.

When did you join the CHS and why?

I was invited to join the CHS after the Shirley-Papanui edible gardening competition last year.

What is your passion for the future of the CHS?

I feel many people in my generation are developing an interest in gardening due to financial and environmental concerns, as well as wanting to learn the kind skills that were once common but have to some extent been forgotten, I think a lot of new energy can come into CHS from tapping into that.