Meet Kate Hislop

Date posted: 24 December 2015


I began my Guide training in 1998 or 1999. I was encouraged to become one by one of the inaugural guides, Mary Crompton. I was looking for something worthwhile to interest me when all my family had disappeared interstate or overseas, and the house was way too quiet. The plant world’ fascinating and the study was good for me.


I still love the Guiding and being able to give an overview of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, making it relevant to each season. Meeting people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe is interesting too.


I have a garden here to look after and I enjoy selecting plants to replace those that don’t survive. Naturally, plants in both the ABG and Wittunga have widened the choices, and are a delight. I’ve been particularly pleased to see native blue-banded bees in this garden recently. The business of how all parts of the jigsaw (botany, birds, insects, etc.) fit together is fascinating.


I remember bringing my two boys into the Gardens when they were both preschool age. The older one fell into Main Lake and was unceremoniously pulled out by one ankle! Thank goodness there are plantings around the edge now.


I find it difficult to pick out any section at Adelaide a favourite. The Mallee is always good – it’s somewhere that can take me out of the city, so to speak. One day early in my guide life, the then Manager of the ABG took me to the Mallee especially to show me a small and thorny shrub. He explained the plant was a young Capparis mitchellii and these don’t begin to grow into tree form until something stimulates the process. It’s still there, upright, tall, flowering and doing its thing. Extraordinary.

Summer highlights

I like to show our visitors the Nelumbo Pond. It has the wow-factor, from the new leaves growing, to the buds, then flowers and then seed structures. I have an image in my mind of the wonderful tightly-formed “beads” of water held in the centre of the tall leaves after rain, another beautiful feature.

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