“In times, in which everyone is talking about the extinction of species, it’s all about the dough.”, says Harald Schreiner. “You have to arrange suppliers, socialize and provide long-term security. That’s the only way how this here works.” Schreiner is the CEO of Magic Garden Seeds. For more than 20 years, they have been having seeds of special and nearly forgotten cultural and agricultural plants, old vegetable varieties, herbs, and medicinal plants from all over the globe, wild plants, exotics, ethnobotanically interesting growths, and many more plant seeds.
Thus, the company is a wide exception in a time, in which the seed market is dominated by large chemical companies like Bayer-Monsanto – with genetically modified and patented hybrid seeds – and increasingly more mid-size seed growers which had had a rich tradition in Germany were bought up or disappeared from the market. “Who still knows nowadays that potatoes can be grown from seeds and that new genetic material adapting itself to its surroundings can be received by this?” Even if it’s all about the dough, the model of Magic Garden Seeds is based on certain fundamental values.
Only open-pollinating and, therefore, fully reproducible seeds are offered. No hybrid cultivations, no patented or genetically modified seeds.
Schreiner and his co-partner Andreas Poszar have built up a broadly diversified network of suppliers over the years – from the Amazon to Sicily, from France to India, from the USA to the Upper Palatinate. Year for year, they guarantee them the purchase of their seeds and, thus, contribute to the preservation of rare and old cultural and agricultural plants. “We just have more than only chive.”, says Schreiner.
“We animate our customers to harvest their own seed and sow them again, to pass them on optionally and to cross them,” tells Schreiner’s co-partner Andreas Poszar, who laid the foundation of the company in the middle of the 90s.
“Back then, I did a training as an alternative practitioner and was especially fascinated by rare herbs, medical and magical plants, and plants shamans used. The connection between humankind and plant.”
Someday, it was so far that Poszar also wanted others to partake in the contacts made by him and typed a small catalog with a typewriter, which could be ordered from him by a stamped envelope. “That was a wild mixture out of specific medicinal plants and special vegetable varieties.”
Herbs, ethnobotanics, medical plants, and old vegetable varieties – up until now, they are an important focus of Magic Garden Seeds. Furthermore, he still maintains contact with the shaman in the Amazon region, from whom Poszar received the first seed of Ayahuasca and to the mandrake gatherer on Sicily.
After a flat-sharing community party, he and Schreiner – still students back then – founded their first company in Kassel in 1997. A small office, a shelf for seeds, and apart from this they continued studying. If they had earned money with it? “Good question. Probably not,” says Schreiner today. Nevertheless, they have expanded their range of products more and more, partially together, then for a couple of years on their own again. Always with the same interest and the same enthusiasm, very early, at the end of the 90s already, with their first online shops.
2007, it finally took Schreiner and Poszar to Regensburg, where they first founded a shared officed. 2015, they made a limited liability company (ltd) out of the already existing, close collaboration – Magic Garden Seeds – and further expanded the product range. A nearly unmanageable selection of tomato and chili varieties and more and more flowers came along. “More normal plants, to put it another way,” says Schreiner.
In the same year, the company was certified organic, by which the complete chain of supply and production is made transparent. Now, the development of an own design, own packaging, and own brand is increasingly brought to the fore.
Work which is, as well as the bottling of the seeds, done in Germany.
With Gunilla Lehmann, the company brought a staff member who takes charge of texts, photos, and shop maintenance on board. Furthermore, she thinks about how to stabilize the seasonal seed business over the whole year – with the development of specific products.
By now, Magic Garden Seeds offers different sets: old vegetable varieties, different compilations of culinary herbs and for urban gardening but also tobacco and cat herbs, the Peyote set or the magical plants box. For some years, there has been an annual advent calendar – self-designed and with 24 different seed sachets, which are, by the way, all filled manually. While the background of this, of course, is the goal of appealing to a wider audience and developing high-quality products for the increasingly important trade via Amazon, it’s also about another fundamental thought of Magic Garden Seeds.
“Nobody plants 24 different seeds all alone,” knows Gunilla Lehmann. “He gives them away as presents, passes them on and, thus, doesn’t only spread the seeds but, as well, the fascination of what happens when you put a seed into soil and a plant develops from it.”
This fascination drives Andreas Poszar up to now. He has gathered the first seeds for the henbane in the product range of Magic Garden Seeds himself at the castle ruin in Donaustauf and then multiplied it. “Thus, it’s the direct successors of the plants, with which the aches of the former lords of the castle were treated. What a beautiful story.
Originally written by Stefan Aigner (Regensburg-digital.de)We