Favourite Late 20th Century Botanic Gardens

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

http://www.erbg.org.au/

: 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:BlogLate20thCent BG 80%ReszdIMG_3636BlogLate20thCent BG 80%ReszdIMG_3641: There is a Visitor Centre , a Herbarium and 7km of walking tracks. It is a very impressive contemporary botanic garden.BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3690BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3691Above 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3706BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3709BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3725BlogLate20thCent BG 40%ReszdIMG_3713

2. Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt. Tomah, 28ha, 1987

https://www.bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au/

: 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5029BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5011BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5086BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5045: 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5060BlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5037: 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 50%ReszdIMG_5132 - CopyBlogLate20thCent BG 20%ReszdIMG_5118: 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

http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/annan

: 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

http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne     and

http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne/attractions/australian-garden

: 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 184BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 143

: 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.BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 170BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 148

: The art and architecture are very modern and Australian and the presentation of the garden is very stunningly dramatic.BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 116BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszdmelbourne spring 106

: 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

http://www.aalbg.sa.gov.au

: 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

http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/promo-booklet-botanic-gardens.pdf

: 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.

BlogLate20thCent BG 30%ReszdIMG_0626BlogLate20thCent BG 20%Reszd2015-11-22 17.16.40Next 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!


 

 

 

Favourite Early 20th Century Botanic Gardens in Australia

This week, I will be describing some of the newer botanic gardens with their increased emphasis on native plant collections and  environmental sustainability. The first of these probably belongs to the previous century, though its origins are slightly different.

1.Araluen Botanic Park, 59ha, 1929

http://www.araluenbotanicpark.com.au

: Originally established as a holiday camp for members of the Young Australia  League. ‘Araluen’ is an Eastern States aboriginal word meaning ‘singing/ running waters’. It was sold in 1990 to the State Government, who undertook major restoration of the heritage structures and gardens.Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_6824Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_6834

: 14 ha of developed gardens and The Grove of the Forgotten, a series of terraces descending a steep slope, flanked by Pencil Pines in the shape of a lyre, a symbol of music.  A waterfall cascades through the terraces down to a calm reflection pond, a beautiful way to commemorate the 88  Young Australia League members , who were killed in World War I. It is a very peaceful spot.

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2. Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, 90ha, 1945

https://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/            and

http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/australian-national-botanic-gardensBlog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.26.06BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.29.43Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.25.09Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.30.22: In the 1930s, Canberra was known as ‘The City of Flowers’, but there was no botanic garden. While preliminary research and planning occurred between 1933 and 1935, it was not started until after World War II and opened to the public in 1967. The plan specified that it was to be was built close to the proposed university and have a scientific basis, rather than “for ornamental purposes only”.

The gardens were developed on the foothills of Black Mountain, which is topped by the Telstra Tower and overlooks the city (see 1st photo above). The plants in the foreground are Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea) and their flowering spikes were used by Australian aborigines to make spears. The following photos include :

Photo 1 : Waratahs (Telopea speciosissima), the official floral emblem for New South Wales and photo 2 : a hybrid waratah ‘Parry’s Dream’;

Photo 3 : Narrow-Leaved Drum Sticks (Isopgon anethifolius) and photo 4 : Rose Coneflower (Isopogon formosus);

Photo 5 : Homoranthus flavescens (gold) and photo 6 : Grevillea ‘Poorinda Adorning’ (red).Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.34.21Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.29.03Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.33.37Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.34.43Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.28.05Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.30.03: It contains scientific collections of 78,000 native Australian plants (one third of all Australian plant species), displaying the huge range of diversity of Australia’s habitats and flora. Plants are grouped by geographical regions from Coastal Rainforest to the Red Centre of Australia or by botanical plant families. The photos below show a Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera); Dendrobium speciosum plants in the tropical glass house; and a Water Dragon in his habitat.Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_0677Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.40.06Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.39.35BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.31.16Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.24.01: It conducts research in plant classification and biology and includes :  the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Botanical Resource Centre, which houses the Public Reference Herbarium with specimens which represent the native and naturalised plants of the A.C.T., the Southern Tablelands, Australian Alps and the South Coast; the Australian National Herbarium and the National Seed Bank. There is also a great library and bookshop.

These photos show the Red Centre (with the Telstra Tower in the background), its design plan, Porcupine Grass (Triodia pungens) and a sculpture of a Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus). It is wonderful to walk through the cooling rain forest after a visit to the hot Red Centre, seeing representatives of the ancient Gondwanan forests, which used to cover much of our continent 60 Million years ago, but now only grows in patches on the eastern fringe (less than 1 per cent of our total land area). The last photo is of a Wollemi Pine (Wollemi nobilis), one of the world’s oldest and rarest trees. It belongs to a plant family over 200 Million years old and is thought to have existed during the Jurassic era with the dinosaurs. It was thought to have been extinct for over 2 Million years, until a small patch was found by bushwalkers in Wollemi National Park in 1994.Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.43.16Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.46.12Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.44.44Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.43.31Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.34.52Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.50.433. Booderee Botanic Gardens, 80ha, 1951

http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/booderee/people/botanic-gardens.html

: Originally started as a frost-free annex of the Australian National Botanic Garden, it was sold to the local Koori community in 1995 and is the only aboriginal-owned botanic garden in Australia. It became independent of the ANBG in 2000 and is jointly managed by Parks Australia.Blog Early20cent BG40%ReszdIMG_4424Blog Early20cent BG70%ReszdIMG_4415 - Copy

: It showcases the long relationship between the Koori people and the area and plants of South-East Australia with display beds of bush tucker and the medicinal uses of plants.

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Its a lovely peaceful spot with curving paths through woodland and a lovely ornamental lake.

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4. Wittunga Botanic Garden, 14ha, 1975

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/Visit/Wittunga_Botanic_Garden

Originally established around an old private homestead called ‘Wittunga’, these gardens show the close relationship between the water-wise plants of Australia and South Africa and include a Bog Garden, a Butterfly Garden and display beds of Erica, Proteas and Leucadendrons. There were so many unusual and dramatic looking plants, which I had never seen before !

Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_9198Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_9201Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_9195Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_9191Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_9193Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_92025. Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt. Cootha, 56ha, 1976

http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/parks-venues/parks/brisbane-botanic-gardens-mount-coot-tha

: Became the main botanic garden in Brisbane after all the city flooding.

: Contains 20,000 plants of 5,000 species from all over the world, arranged in thematic and geographic communities. In 1985, the Australian Plant Communities collection (27ha) was added and contains native plants from all over Australia, but especially Queensland. A 4ha area for a conservation walk, kitchen garden, new lagoon and playground will be added in 2015.

: The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is also located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.Blog Early20cent BG20%ReszdIMG_06226. Mt Lofty Botanic Garden, 100ha, 1977

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/Visit/Mount_Lofty_Botanic_Garden

: Focuses on Cool Temperate Plants and has one of the richest collections of ferns in Australia.

Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2014-10-27 11.58.46Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2014-10-27 12.09.33: It is also the site of the ATCO Heritage Rose Garden with beds of Species roses, showing the history and development of the Modern Rose. It took some time and dedication to find (it is up the very top of the hill!), but it was definitely worth it !Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2014-10-27 12.34.57Blog Early20cent BG20%Reszd2014-10-27 12.56.56