Ernst van Jaarsveld has been employed by the South African National Bio-diversity Institute since 1974 and is currently the curator of the Kirstenbosch Conservatory. Ernst's own interest in indigenous gardens began in the late sixties.As a young schoolboy in Randburg, he was devastated to learn that indigenous Highveld plants had been bulldozed to make space for housing developments. These new homes were filled with alien species, spoiling the character of the area. Van Jaarsveld has made it his life’s work to study and inform the general public on the benefits of indigenous gardening and has written numerous articles in local publications such as ‘Veld & Flora’ and ‘SA Gardening’. He also writes for local newspapers ‘Die Burger’ and ‘Beeld’, and is well known for the advice he offers in ‘Vra vir Ernst’, a column featured online in both English and Afrikaans.