We are so lucky here in Australia that much of our native flora, as well as South African natives, bloom in the Winter. Here are two wonderful native gardens we visited last June!
The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
Narellan Rd Mt Annan 2567
Spring/Autumn and Winter: 8am to 5pm; Summer 8am to 7pm every day of the year
Visitor Centre 9am to 4pm daily except Christmas Day
I had wanted to visit this botanic garden for a long time, so it was wonderful to finally achieve this goal! Right on the doorstep of Sydney, this 416 hectare (1028 acres) garden is a wonderful asset to the city with its wide open spaces; over 4000 species of Australian native flora; and themed gardens, as well as the lakeside lawns, picnic areas and 20 km (12 miles) of walking tracks and mountain bike trails.
It is the largest botanic garden in Australia and is one of the three gardens of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, which also includes the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mt Tomah. See: https://australianbg.gardenexplorer.org/ for a map of the different areas.We were so impressed with this garden! It is so well planned and so interesting! We started out at the Visitor Centre, where I loved the paths inset with leaves (photo above), then crossed to the 4.5 ha Connections Garden, a fabulous showpiece with great colour (the pink Kangaroo Paw is Anigozanthos Bush Pearl)and a fascinating journey through the evolution of Australia’s native flora from the Triassic conifers cycads and ferns 250 Million years ago…
Clockwise from top left: The cycad with the tall stem is Cycas megacarpa; Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis; Lepidozamia peroffskyana and Cycas platyphylla;
to the Cretaceous angiosperms 129 Million years ago and Gondwanan rainforests 40 Million years ago; and the drying out of the continent over the last 70 000 years. Here are some of the plants in bloom: Snow Wood, Pararchidendron pruinosum; Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha; Scribbly Gum, Eucalyptus haemastoma; and Hakea cristata;
I loved the fig forest; the banksia collection (from the the tall Acorn or Orange Banksia, Banksia prionotes, to the prostrate Creeping Banksia, Banksia repens; and the amazing stonework. The first photo is Banksia integrifolia Roller Coaster falling over a dry stone wall in the Grevillea section of the Banksia Garden, while I loved the patterns in the rough sandstone slab in the Connections Garden in the second photo. The pond and waterfall was a beautiful and refreshing centre piece, as well as a great learning facility. And we loved the colourful entrance garden, showing the unlimited potential of Australian native wildflowers, particularly in Winter!
Clockwise from top left: Bush Gem, Anigozanthos Bush Tenacity; pink Gomphrena canescens with Golden Everlasting and blue Scaveola; Banksia spinulosa and gold and red Strawflowers.
We then drove round the one-way route to the different themed areas, each complete with picnic tables, lawns and ablution blocks. We loved the analemmatic Sundial of Human Involvement set within a planting of Araucarias (Kauri; Bunya Bunya; Hoop and Norfolk Island Pines). The 360 degree view from the top of the hill was magnificent, if not a little distressing seeing the encroachment of Sydney and the main highway teaming with traffic! The first photo looks east over the Princes Highway to Campbelltown, while the second photo looks north over the garden to Narellan and then Penrith.The Big Idea Garden had some wonderful suggestions to help reduce, reuse and recycle valuable resources into your garden from developing waterwise gardens (water tanks, drip irrigation and planting waterwise plants) to mulching and composting, correct pruning, turf care and fertilising. Some of the plants included Banksia spinulosa spinulosa Birthday Candles and Sturts Desert Pea, Swainsona formosa.The Wattle Garden features many of the 950 species of Acacia, many just coming into bloom- such a variety in plant size; leaf shape and flower colour and shape! Their peak flowering season however is in August! Here are some of the more unusual species: the prostrate Acacia saligna Springtime Cascade; Leafless Rock Wattle, Acacia aphylla; and Acacia cognata Fettuccine;I love Banksias and other Proteaceae (including Grevilleas, Waratahs and Hakeas), so could easily spend more time in this area. Here are two photos from the Grevillea section: Grevillea pilosa and Diels Grevillea, Grevillea dielsiana; But alas, time was still limited and we had to make it up to our accommodation in the Blue Mountains before the school pickup traffic, so we look forward to future visits to explore all those areas we missed – the Callitris Grove; the Kurrajong Arboretum; the Western Garden; the Ironbark woodland; and the Eucalypt Arboreta, as well as the Australian Plant Bank (https://www.australianbotanicgarden.com.au/Science-Conservation/Australian-PlantBank).
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mt Tomah
Bells Line of Road Via Bilpin 2758
Open daily except Christmas Day
Monday – Friday: Gardens 9.00 am to 5.30 pm ; Visitor Centre 9am to 4.30pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: Gardens and Visitor Centre 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
I have discussed this wonderful botanic garden before in my post on Botanic Gardens. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/01/07/favourite-late-20th-century-botanic-gardens/.
In fact, we call in every time we visit the Blue Mountains and there is always something new to see and discover, like our beautiful native banksias, waratahs and Xanthorrhea or the giant Puya from the Chilean Andes in full bloom. This time, it was the South African native flora: the Proteaceae family, as well as gerberas of warm and cool colour ranges, aloes, geraniums and gazanias, all of which were in full bloom and which totally captivated us! The cyclamen under the trees in the Pergola Garden were a visual treat!There was even one of my favourite Sasanqua camellias, Star-above-Star Camellia, a fitting way to finish this double post of Winter Gardens!