It's a place I've longed to visit for quite some time now, knowing that it's a showcase for some of our spectacular and unique Australian flora. Originally opened back in 1970, our National Botanic Gardens was one of the first in the world to focus on the study and display of our country's native plant species. You won't see beds of annuals or roses, and you won't see many of the plants that grow in my garden either. Introduced plants and trees like Poincianas, Cassias, Acalyphas and Crotons, that are common sights here in the tropics, are nowhere to be seen in these gardens.
This garden is often referred to simply as 'Australia's Garden', as around one-third of our country's diverse native flora species is on display in a spectacular 40 hectare bushland setting. That's around 6,000 native species, with a collection of over 74,000 individual plants.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by a stunning Crimson Rosella. I've always wanted to see one of these beautiful birds in reality and I spent ages trying to get shots of this one before walking into the Visitors' Centre where my very patient husband was waiting with a rather resigned look on his face.
Anyway, after a quick saunter round the Visitors' Centre, we were off, following the 'Main Path Loop' which is a 1.5 kilmetre loop around only one small section of the gardens. We spent just over an hour walking the loop and I wish I could have lingered longer, but it was a rather warm day and we quite simply ran out of time.
We began our stroll at the Rainforest Gully, featuring rainforest plants of Australia's eastern coastline from Queensland to Tasmania ...
on through the conifers section, where we spotted an Australian King Parrot, which I've longed to see in the wild.
Our wander then led us through the Rock Garden,
where there's a terrific display of Kangaroo Paws or Anigoznathus, (which I just can't grow up here despite numerous efforts!)
opposite a beautiful display of daisies,
including Chrysocephalum apiculatum
and Helichrysum bracteatum.
The Rock Garden area was one place I would have loved to spend a lot more time exploring, but time was short, and unfortunately I missed out on seeing the many treasures to be found there.
Luckily though, I did manage to spot this magnificent Ptilotus exaltatus, which I've only ever seen in photos before.
We continued on past the Acacia collection partly seen in the shot above,
where we spotted some fabulous wattle flowers.
Then we wandered through the magnificent Eucalypt Lawn,
where we spotted a Pied Currawong with its piercing yellow eyes.
The Main Path then took us past the Sydney Region flora section, where there were quite a few lovely plants in flower including ...
the Sydney Flannel Flower or Actinotus helianthi,
and Christmas Bells or Blandfordia grandiflora
We continued on past the Proteaceae section, containing one of the gardens largest and most decorative plant families. It contains about 900 species in generas such as Grevillea, Banksia and Hakea. Now I'm afraid I don't know the names of many of the plants I photographed in this section of the gardens, but I'm sure you will enjoy looking at them despite the lack of specific I.D.s!
There was a noticeable change in plant form then as we wandered on through the Monocotlydeon section which includes plants such as ...
the Gymea Lily or Doryanthes excelsa, which is summer produces a very tall flower spike topped by a cluster of large crimson flowers ....
and some of the Australian Grass Trees, the Xanthorrhoea species.
We then strolled rather hurriedly through the Myrtaceae section as it was now the middle of a summer's day and the sunlight was becoming rather fierce. The family Myrtaceae dominates the Australian vegetation with about 1700 species, and includes prominent plant groups such as the Eucalypts, the Calliestemons or Bottlebrushes and the Melaleucas or Tea Trees and Paperbarks.
Our stroll then took us on to Hudson's Cafe, where we sat down to enjoy a cool drink before finally wandering through the Tasmanian Rainforest Gully.
The floor of this shady gully is dominated by Tree Ferns, Dicksonia antartica, and the difference in temperature and humidity strikes you immediately as you wander along the pathways. It was such a refreshing and delightful way to end our visit.
I'm joining Fertiliser Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers,
Floral Friday Fotos