Jerry Coleby-Williams

Internationally Renowned Horticulturist, Pioneer of Sustainability and Organic Best Practice

Initially trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK) and the Royal Horticultural Society (UK), Jerry is qualified in horticultural estate management, soft landscape design, arboriculture, conservation, horticultural and botanical sciences.

Jerry has managed plant production nurseries, urban forests, heritage parks, one of London’s busiest garden centres, and he helped establish Mt Annan Native Botanic Garden (NSW). For twelve years, Jerry managed the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. His design of the Rare & Threatened Plants Garden (1998) launched a career in radio, television, magazine writing and public speaking. Jerry is a familiar voice and face to most gardeners having appeared on ABC Radio Talkback Gardening since 1995 and ABC Television’s ‘Gardening Australia’ programme since 1999.

A pioneer of sustainability and organic best practice, in 2003, Jerry created ‘Bellis’, a unique, affordable, sustainable house and garden in subtropical Brisbane by retrofitting a century old Queenslander house. Bellis exports three times more solar electricity than it consumes and the garden sequesters more carbon dioxide than the occupants generate, recycles all waste water for food growing in a water sensitive landscape that both mitigates localised flooding and grows a surplus of food even during ongoing drought. There is zero food waste.

Growing 500 kinds of plant, the food garden feeds the household, while the ornamental front garden features plants that are dealing well with our emerging new climate.

The seed bank combines with the nursery to provide a community gene bank, supplying community nurseries, farmers and collectors with a range of seed and plants not found in the trade.

Over 565 species of animal, including twenty six species of bee, and about three new species, as yet undescribed by science, live at or visit Bellis.

Retrofitting Bellis cost less than buying an average family four wheel drive car and its ongoing benefits include reduced household bills, healthy food, a leafy garden, and peace of mind in an increasingly uncertain world. These heartening results lead to Jerry being invited to speak about sustainable food production at the United Nations, in Geneva (2017).

Jerry’s website and social media page are followed in 126 countries, he answers 15,000 questions a year, and his website has been archived by the Australian National Library.


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