Penny and Clive founded Diggers in 1978 where they pioneered the preservation of heirloom vegetable seeds and garden-worthy ornamental flowering plants. In 2011, Clive, Penny and their three children gifted Heronswood, The Garden of St Erth, The Diggers Preservation Garden and The Diggers Club business to The Diggers Foundation, and today all profits flow to the Foundation for its philanthropic purposes. The Diggers’ Heronswood and St Erth gardens were the first officially certified organic gardens in Australia and are the only certified organic gardens in Australia that are open to the public. It is through these demonstration gardens that Diggers helps to educate gardeners to engage in the story of sustainability and seed heritage.
Penny is a graduate of anthropology and history who has enriched her life by serving others. She was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2005, served on her local Mornington Peninsula Council, pushed for the Mornington Peninsula to become Australia’s first UNESCO-recognised urban biosphere and was President of the local branch of the National Trust. Clive is a self-taught passionate gardener and current Diggers Club magazine editor. He has written nine books and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his “significant service to horticulture, to conservation and to the community”.