Plant Pioneers (9 Oct 2020)

Jane Edmanson and the Gardening Australia crew filmed a segment at Wombat Bend in November 2019 when the Callistemons, which horticulturists Sue Forrester and Bill Molyneux have cultivated, were at their absolute best.

November is ‘bottlebrush’ time at Wombat Bend. As the presenters stroll around the billabong with Sue & Bill, and around the smaller frog pond at the eastern end of the property, you see masses of Callistemons in full flower, dripping with honeyeaters.

Callistemons provide a fabulous array of style and colour together with extreme resilience in all gardens. One of Sue & Bill’s most widely used varieties is Callistemon Mary MacKillop, which they developed 15 years ago ago to raise funds for the work of Sisters of St Joseph, the Order founded by Mary MacKillop. You see it in plantation form here, used as both screening and for bird habitat, in full flower. A large number of their other Callistemon cultivars are also growing around the billabong and frog pond.

The gardens are home to many other varieties developed by Sue & Bill such as Candelabra, Four Seasons, Edna Walling Scarlet Willow, Genoa Glory, Betka Beauty, Silver Cloud and Sue’s own Callistemon named for her.

The segment aired on Friday 9 October on Gardening Australia on ABC.