The following botanic gardens were developed much in the vein of the early colonial gardens, but as the new century approached, garden styles changed from a layout of systematic experimental trial beds to more landscaped park-like pleasure gardens with sweeping green lawns and display beds for general enjoyment.
1. Portland Botanic Gardens, 3.2ha, 1858
: One of the earliest regional botanic gardens in Victoria ( 3rd oldest in the state).
: Has retained the original squared layout of the traditional experimental trial grounds and systematic gardening, which is rare in Victoria. The Curator’s Cottage, 1859, is one of the oldest garden buildings in Victoria.: This botanic garden is of scientific significance for its collections of plants, characteristic of Late 19th Century Victorian gardens. It has garden beds of roses and dahlias dating back to 1857. There are 300 different roses and 170 types of dahlias, 13,000 of which are bedded out annually. I love their colourful patches, right next to the old Croquet Club House and lawns. It is a delightful step back in time!: I also really like the way they have incorporated native plants in amongst older exotic species.2. Ballarat Botanical Gardens, 40ha, 1859
: Located on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, this botanic garden is one of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens. Here are some local pedestrians!: There are 52 mature trees listed on the National Trust Significant Trees Register and many lovely heritage buildings and pavilions, housing beautiful classic Italian marble statues (dating from 1884-1888).
: The Prime Ministers Avenue is of national significance and contains a collection of busts of Australian Prime Ministers, set in the magnificent Horse Chestnut Avenue of the Gardens. The collection includes a portrait of one of the founding fathers of Federation, Alfred Deakin, who was the first Federal Member for Ballarat and the second Prime Minister, as well as giving his name to the future Deakin University, Geelong, where I used to work: There are thematic collections of ferns, grasses and indigenous plants, a sensory garden and display beds of bedding plants, roses, rockery and woodland plants. We used to love visiting these gardens in Spring, when the Iceland Poppy beds were a mass of colour !
: Lake Wendouree is also a great spot for bird watching and photography. We saw our first Crested Grebe (4th photo below ) and first Musk Duck (5th photo below) there, as well as plenty of cygnets (1st and 2nd photos below) and felt very privileged to watch the rare courting rituals of a Blue Billed Duck (3rd photo below)!3. Hamilton Botanic Gardens, 4ha, 1870
: Another early provincial garden in Western Victoria with heritage-listed buildings and fountains, 8 trees on the Register of Significant Trees, sweeping lawns, rockeries, lakes and islands, a delightful sensory cottage garden (bottom photo), an aviary (where we saw our first Princess Parrots – see 1st photo below) and an Abutilon collection. It is a pleasant spot to picnic and play.4. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, 42ha, 1886
: Set on Fannie Bay, it is one of the few botanic gardens in the world to have native marine and estuarine plants occuring in the garden naturally. It has survived the devastation of both cyclones and the bombing in World War Two.
: It has the oldest church building in the Northern Territory, the former Wesleyan Methodists Church, 1897, which was moved there in 2000.
: Plants include tropical orchids, bromeliads, cycads, palms, rainforest plants, native Top End plants and a Baobab collection.
5.Cairns Botanic Garden and Flecker Garden, 38ha, 1886
: A tropical paradise, renowned for its 4000 species of tropical flora from South-East Asia, South America, Africa and Far North Queensland, including orchids, bromeliads, tropical fruit trees, palms and ferns, bamboos and gingers (see 3rd photo below), aroids and Nepenthes (carnivorous Pitcher Plants – see 2nd photo below). It contains some of the rarest plants in the world, including the tropical flower Amorphophallus titanium, which weighs 70kg and has a leaf diameter of 7m – only 1 of 2 in Australia.
: Comprised of the Flecker Garden (formal garden), salt water and freshwater Centenary Lakes, a rain forest boardwalk (1st photo above), the Gondwanan Heritage Garden showing plant evolution, an aboriginal plant use garden and the Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park, which contains 700 native plant species and has lovely walks (Red Arrow 1.5 km and Blue Arrow 6.6km) with great views over the coast.I loved the variety in these tropical leaves – quite stunning!
6. Kings Park, 400ha, 1892 and Western Australian Botanic Garden, 17ha, 1967
: Prime position on Mt. Eliza, overlooking the Swan River and the city of Perth.
: Originally designed as a European style garden, influenced by the English and Aesthetic Movements.
: Includes 267 ha of significant remnant bushland.
: Focuses on the conservation of the state’s unique and diverse flora. Western Australia is home to half of Australia’s 25,000 plant species, most of which are found nowhere else on earth. The South-West region of Western Australia is a global diversity hot spot with more than 8000 native plant species. Beds are grouped by state regions, taxonomic groups or purely spectacular displays. When we visited WA in Spring 2008, we found that every region in WA had a totally different set of flora and it was great seeing the display beds with representatives from all these different areas. These include : Wheatbelt, Goldfields, Stirling Ranges, Rottnest and Garden Islands, Kimberley, Mulga, South Coastal and Darling Ranges.
: The Conservation Garden (4,600 square metres) contains 400 species of the most critically endangered and rare species in the state.
The photos below show Mangle’s Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthus manglessii) and Gilham’s Bell (Darwinia oxylepsis).