It is wonderful seeing the new directions in which botanic gardens are developing. Nature and environment are increasingly threatened as human populations continue to increase and botanic gardens are playing an increasingly valuable role as seed banks for the future and in the mitigation of climate change and environmental education of the public. As the pace of life becomes even more frenetic, they are also extremely important for relaxation and the soul!
1. Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens, 42ha, 1986
: Part of Mogo State Forest and leased back to the Eurobodalla Council for a Botanic Garden, it showcases the native plants of the Eurobodalla region and their diversity in form, colour, habitat requirements and sensory characteristics. It also explains their use as food and medicine by the local aboriginal people. Here are photos of their official map and interpretive board on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk:: There is a Visitor Centre , a Herbarium and 7km of walking tracks. It is a very impressive contemporary botanic garden.Above the lake, there is an amphitheatre for performances with audience seating set into the hill. I loved the random animal sculptures, including the little possum below, along one of the tracks.
2. Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt. Tomah, 28ha, 1987
: Located in the World-Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains, it is situated 1000 metres above sea level and showcases many beautiful native and exotic plants not suited to Sydney’s climate. It places an emphasis on cool-climate plants from around the world, especially those from the southern hemisphere. This is the view from the Visitor Centre with a stone labyrinth in the foreground. The 3rd photo shows the view from the pond looking back up to the Visitor Centre.: One of the few botanic gardens where plants have been grouped according to their geographical origin, allowing the visitor to see both the similarities and differences between the plants of each region and understand the evolution of the floras of the different continents.: There are wonderful rockeries, water courses and waterfalls and bog gardens in front of the Visitor Centre, (which incidently has a fantastic view!), as well as woodlands, camellia and rhododendron collections and 2 interesting display gardens and walks: The Gondwana Forest Walk and the Plant Explorer walk with excellent interpretive boards. They are so impressive in fact, that we always call in to visit these botanic gardens whenever we are in the Blue Mountains.: There is also a World Heritage exhibition centre called the ‘Botanists Way Discovery Centre’, which tells the stories of early botanists who explored the northern Blue Mountains seeking rare plants and trying to find a crossing to the west, as well as those of the local Darug people. The bookshop is excellent!
3. Australian Botanic Garden, Mt. Annan, 416ha, 1988
: Even though we haven’t visited these yet, we hope to soon! They are the 3rd botanic garden, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, and they are the largest botanic garden in Australia, so I had to include them !!!
: Solely comprised of Australian native plants, they showcase the diversity of Australian flora and will eventually include most of Australia’s 25,000 known plant species. It contains a Bush Food Garden and the Australian Plant Bank with a seed bank and research laboratories devoted to research and conservation of Australian native plant species, especially those of NSW. See : http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/annan/Australian_plantbank.
4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, 363ha, 1989 and The Australian Garden, 15ha, 2006
: Victoria’s equivalent of the previous botanic garden, it contains 363ha of remnant native vegetation, a protected site of state significance for biodiversity with 390 native plant species, 20 mammal species and 11 amphibian species. There are walking tracks through heathlands, woodlands and wetlands.
: The contemporary landscaped display beds of the Australian Garden contain 170,000 Australian native plants from 85 bioregions in Australia and follow the journey of water from the arid inland landscapes of Central Australia through dry river beds to major rivers and finally the coast.
: The art and architecture are very modern and Australian and the presentation of the garden is very stunningly dramatic.
: Display gardens also feature contemporary garden issues like the Backyard garden, for kids as well as adults, Lifestyle Gardens, the Greening of Cities, even the Weird and Wonderful! A day is not long enough to explore this amazing garden and it is constantly evolving, so there is always something new to discover!
5. Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta, SA, 250ha, 1993
: Located on the shores of the Spencer Gulf, with spectacular views of the Flinders Ranges, this coastal park features significant areas of natural arid zone vegetation including Western Myall woodlands (Acacia papyrocarpa) and chenopod (Saltbush) plains together with coastal vegetation dominated by Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina) and samphire.
: There are many highly evolved plant communities that are specially adapted to thrive in an environment where temperatures are extreme and drought prolonged and this botanic garden was established to research, conserve and promote a wider appreciation of Australia’s arid zone flora. In fact, it is the only botanic garden in the world to specialize in the conservation and display of flora from the southern arid zone of Australia (where the annual rainfall is less than 250mm). Regional collections currently include : Flinders Ranges, Gawler, Eyre, Central Ranges and Great Victoria Desert, with further arid areas planned in the future.
: Sustainability is a large part of their charter and sustainable design and practices has been successfully incorporated into these gardens including the use of : solar panels, a Waste Water Treatment Plant, rain water collection, underground evaporative air‐conditioning ducts, an award winning energy-efficient Visitor Centre with rammed earth walls, LED lighting, recycling and the sale of locally produced ecoproducts. I am really looking forward to visiting it one day !!!
And finally, because it is a fairly new botanic garden and we have a personal connection :
6. Gold Coast Regional Botanic Park (Rosser Park), 31ha, 2002
: The land for these botanic gardens was donated in 1969 by the Rosser Family, who are relatives of my husband. John Rosser was a very good friend of Ross’s uncle Alf, who was killed at Pozières in World War I and married Alf’s sister Essie. He was a man ahead of his times in so many ways and was vitally interested in many social issues from education to politics, peace activism, environment , self-sufficiency, gardening, beekeeping and health. John and Essie were both vegetarians and both lived well into their nineties. The couple led simple, non-materialistic lives and valued lifestyle over possessions.They raised 6 highly intelligent, well educated, high achieving children, who all returned to their self-sufficiency roots in later life.
: I remember visiting their daughter Jean and their beautiful old home and garden on a hill at ‘Benowa’ when I was newly married. I struck my first successful rose cutting from their old bush of ‘Countess Bertha’. It was such an interesting place with 4 types of plumbing in the kitchen, lots of unopened packets of hardware on the backs of doors, bookcases of folders and folders of newspaper clippings and scrapbooks and a glass-less lounge window overlooking the beautiful garden and the blue Springbrook mountains beyond the Nerang River. Only now, there is a mass of brick houses between their property and those mountains, as the Gold Coast had grown and developed!!! If ever there was an antidote to the urban sprawl and concrete jungle of the Gold Coast, this garden is it and I think John would be very happy to know his donated land has been put to such good use!
: It includes a sensory garden, specially designed for the disabled, a native butterfly garden, a rose garden, native plants, a montane rockery, freshwater wetlands and a Mangroves to Mountains walk. There are also Commemorative Avenues of Queensland forest giants planted by the Curators of Australia’s Botanic Gardens and International Friendship Force, a nonprofit cultural exchange organization promoting friendship and goodwill through a program of home-stay exchanges since 1977, a concept I’m certain John would have wholeheartedly embraced. We are really looking forward to visiting this botanic garden next time we go to Queensland!
The 1st photo below shows my old rosebush, which I grew from the cutting. The 2nd photo shows my current ‘Countess Bertha’ rose bloom.
Next month, I will be starting to write about my favourite gardens, which are regularly open to the public, including historic homes and gardens, nursery gardens, specialty nursery gardens, education gardens and sculpture gardens. In the mean time, enjoy all those wonderful botanic gardens!