Hidden Valley herbs are supplied to nearly 300 supermarkets, making their way down the east coast of Australia.
Hidden Valley herbs are supplied to nearly 300 supermarkets, making their way down the east coast of Australia. Ebony Graveur

Garden paradise boasts side project 'hidden' in the valley

SPANNING 150 acres, a Gatton nursery is growing more than just your average garden foliage.

While Pohlman's nursery is known for selling plants to gardeners looking to brighten up their property, the second-generation company also helps equip chefs and home cooks alike to access the freshest herbs possible.

The herbs are delivered to supermarkets as a fresh, living herb.

Pohlman's national sales manager Scott Franklin said buying the whole plant instead of a cutting allowed consumers to get multiple uses out of the product.

"You can cut them, use them in your dinner that night, sit them out on your windowsill or plant them out in your garden," he said.

"Obviously if you plant them in your garden, they're going to continue to flourish and you'll get multiple cuts out of them."

Mr Franklin said 45 acres of the property was devoted to plant production, with one separate nursery dedicated to growing its "Hidden Valley" herbs.

"It's a unique nursery in that it is set up as four separate nurseries, which grow different products and one of those is the herbs," Mr Franklin said.

"Originally it was set up to deliver fresh living herbs to supermarkets and obviously nurseries as well, as they're our main two customers."

Mr Franklin said the nursery produced a wide range of herbs, including basil, chives, parsley, coriander, rocket, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme.

"We grow all the classics," he said.

The Lockyer Valley nursery is no small operation, supplying to just under 300 supermarkets across Queensland and northern NSW.

Mr Franklin said business took of for Hidden Valley herbs when cooking shows were becoming more popular on TV.

"We saw spikes in growth during the Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules food evolution," he said.

"People were wanting to stay in and cook at home. That definitely helped drive growth."

He said the most popular herb on offer was basil but that he preferred a more polarising option.

"I think coriander is my favourite from a cooking point of view, you can throw it in lots of different meals," he said.

The herbs are grown in a peat coir mix, made of a decomposition of vegetable matter.

"It's called a soil-less media because it's not traditional de-composted bark, which most plants are grown in in Australia," he said.

While the herbs thrive in the peat coir mixture, gardeners are able to transfer the plant into their own gardens.

"That's the advantage of potted herbs over the bunched cut herbs," he said.

"It's like any pot plant; it's ready to go and the plant can be easily removed from the pot and planted straight into the garden."

The nursery was established in 1976 by John and Val Pohlman and began in fostering and selling seedlings.

As well as growing the herbs, Pohlman's sells indoor foliage, outdoor trees and shrubs, potted colour, specialty colour and seedlings.