Plant venture links council, zoo

City of Greater Geelong horticulturalist Tim Hardy, Geelong Botanic Gardens supervisor Ash Filipovski and Cr Anthony Aitken. Photo: Supplied 211466_01

Geelong Botanic Gardens and Werribee Open Range Zoo have joined forces to share plants and expertise during the coronavirus pandemic.

The collaboration grew after Greater Geelong council offered surplus plants from the gardens’ South African collection to the zoo, which has happily rehomed species including yuccas, aloes, euphorbias, senecios, cassinias and agaves as part of a revegetation project.

Geelong’s Botanic Gardens (GBG) is home to 150 South African plants in its 21st Century section, which showcases drought-tolerant species that are suited to Australia’s climate.

In exchange for the plants, Werribee Open Range Zoo has shared information about its planting program with GBG and suggested ways to develop educational elements within the gardens.

This advice will be put into action as part of special plant showcases to be held in the Geelong Botanic Gardens over the coming months.

Greater Geelong’s parks, gardens and city services portfolio chair, Cr Anthony Aitken, said: “I love the Geelong Botanic Gardens and I love the Werribee Zoo.

“To develop a project that brings these two together has been a fantastic opportunity.

“Our community has been challenged during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however, new relationships have also formed from a need to support one another. We look forward to working with the zoo for years to come.”

Werribee Open Range Zoo horticulture and grounds manager, Craig Shalders, thanked Geelong Botanic Gardens for the plants.

“The Horticulture team at Werribee Open Range Zoo looks forward to continuing to work with Geelong Botanic Gardens by sharing our care for plants and conservation,” he said.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is presently closed to the public under the stage three pandemic restrictions, see for details.