The nursery has a very interesting history, the first seed was planted out of the need for suitable trees species needed for the rehabilitation of the Siyaya Estuary in the Siyaya Catchment Restoration Project in the early 1980.The nursery is situated on the farm Twinstreams, a sub division of the farm Longlands, approximately three kilometres South of Mtunzini on the North Coast of Zululand in northern Kwa Zulu Natal.
Ian Garland, 1925 - 2007 the legendary tree planter, renowned conservationist, visionary educationist and reluctant sugarcane farmer, (see more on Ian in a tribute to him) later to receive two honorary doctorates for his ground breaking works on indigenous trees and indigenous muthi plants, he was an avid amateur ornithologist interested in rehabilitating local habitats, especially the Siyaya catchment.
A survey of Natal Rivers had shown the desperate state of the 50 estuaries; Ian had a special interest in his stream – The Siyaya and Amanzimnyma streams making up the Siyaya catchment. The nursery's early start, with the able assistance by his friend Jobe Mafuleka, was the breeding ground to all the trees planted in the catchment and the town of Mtunzini, over 80 000 trees were planted in this area. Many more were given away to friends and people visiting Twinstreams.
As a result the demand for a close supply of seeds saw us being surrounded by indigenous forests planted over a period of 50 years which feed us with seeds from a diverse range of indigenous trees endemic to Zululand and other interesting plants. The early beginning was always a back garden farm nursery supplying the project and a growing demand for indigenous trees.
I met Ian and Jean Garland in August 1996, as I was asked to apply for a job with Mondi, to take over the work started by Ian- "Big Shoes To Fill" After a trip to Twinstreams to meet him I was told if he likes you, you have the job, well the rest is history. Ian had this infectious enthusiasm and excitement when talking about indigenous trees. His achievements were everywhere, a seed was planted and over many years I was privileged to know and spend time with him at Twinstreams and later at "New Forest". The achievement of "one person" and those who assisted him was the receipe which led me to take a package and to restart the Nursery in 2001.
We were granted the opportunity and permission to run it as a business and today the nursery totals more than 600 species of plants, trees, climbers and aloes and offers landscaping and maintenance services. Ian and Jobe's passion still motivates the people working here. Not too much remained of the early nursery, I collected all trees spread over a large area of the back garden, repotted them and created a tree list. In this early start we had a limited stock, two staff and no customers. My early student years I had started a back yard nursery planting indigenous trees in my parent's home in Somerset West, this had helped pay for my studies in Nature Conservation. My father assisted me to sell the last of these when I took the big step and left to take up a post with the then Natal Parks Board in KZN.
The Nursery, plants purchased from Mondi with a second hand bakkie and two staff, was all we had. With little to no money it was this enthusiasm which assisted in the task of creating Twinstreams Indigenous Nursery and Landscaping. The ten years to date have had its fair share of successes and many obstacles. With plenty of hands on experience and knowledge, but no business knowledge, was the greatest obstacle to overcome, especially when you thought we are getting somewhere and then the biggest curved ball hits "the recession".
We now employ 20 employees produce all our own stock and growing media, recycle all our old bags with a company who are converting them into garbage bags. All the seeds we use to grow our own stock are collected locally and in Zululand.
It has always been my goal to introduce the very diverse tree and plant species of Zululand to the public, with a start of 100 tree and 39 plant species we have grown the nursery to propagate trees and plant species today, a very fine line to balance passion and good business. This soon led to opening the landscaping section, my experience soon showed the lack of knowledge in our indigenous species from the public, landscapers and designers. Whilst we were learning it was a good reason to share this information that a few of my compatriots had shared with us.