Spreading the seeds of the Illawarra through seedlings

The Illawarra Flame Tree in Balgownie. Picture: Andy Zakeli
The Illawarra Flame Tree in Balgownie. Picture: Andy Zakeli

In the lead up to the Illawarra Flame Festival, organisers are planting the seed that inspired it.

Learn how to grow your own Illawarra Flame Tree from scratch at a free hands-on workshop at Wollongong Botanic Garden’s Discovery Centre on Saturday July 29 from 10am.

Education officers Michael Conner will host two-hour session which includes a guided tour through the botanic garden to show where these trees can be found in the escarpment and in surrounding suburban areas.

“Growing local native plants in our garden is a great way to encourage birds and insects,” Michael Connor said.

“It is a lot easier than people think to grown the trees from seed and I will show them the safest way of removing the seeds from the pods. I will also talk to them about the best way to collect the seed pods that they will find throughout the Illawarra.”

He said the workshop would suit couples, families and individuals with a green thumb – all who will take home their own potential tree.

“We are hoping to create a sea of red over the next few years, similar to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan or the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton to encourage people to visit the Illawarra to view these beautiful trees,” festival organiser Juliet Scrine said.

“We are hoping that people will plant these seeds in their garden and then over the next 7 seven years we will be able to track their growth and see the first flowers blooming from these seedlings.”

The Illawarra Flame Festival runs from July 29 to August 20, and features as part of the broader Anywhere Theatre Festival.

Bookings for the workshop are essential. www.illawarraflamefestival.com