A lifetime passion for horticulture has recently seen Kellee Reissinger appointed Co-ordinator of the Geelong Botanic Gardens. She enthusiastically leads the way in introducing the Gardens to a broader audience, where the future is undefined and ready for the next evolutionary phase.
Working at Van Loons nursery in Wallington while still at school, saw the seed planted for Kellee’s career in horticulture. Following an advanced certificate in horticulture, Kellee worked for two years at Barwon Water revegetating the Barwon River and then came to the Geelong Botanic Gardens. While doing her trade, she won a scholarship to go to Japan where she lived and worked for ten months, before returning to the Geelong Gardens and working on the establishment of the 21st Century Garden.
After travelling around the world for a year, Kellee worked at Zoos Victoria, Werribee, and ended up being there for eighteen years, working on the development of garden beds and exhibits, and other horticultural aspects of zoos, including seed saving, garden beds, browse, collection and exhibit maintenance for the animals, and establishing the new gorilla enclosure. With the Zoo predominantly showcasing South African fauna, she cites that as an influence for her love of South African plants, while a love of southern conifers led her to travel to South America and look at the araucarias there, and to Patagonia and the Valdivian forests.
“I see my time here in Geelong will be in the arena of ‘Opening the Green Curtain.’ I liken the GBG to a sleeping giant, or sleeping beauty, awaiting the call of those responsible for its future to stand up and lead us into the next chapter of this magnificent Garden. The Gardens are about to have a big growth spurt. It’s my role and responsibility to promote and engage people with the Botanic Gardens, strategically put in place future planning, climate relevance and figure out what our place is in the botanic world.” (As reported by Gail Thomas, Horticultural Media Association)