Monday, 5 October 2015

Garden inspiration: Australian National Botanic Gardens

You wouldn't think that Canberra would be a good place to see Illawarra native plants. But the amazing people at the Australian National Botanic Gardens have worked over decades to establish plantings in their rainforest gully that encompass species that grow from Tasmania in the south up to northern Queensland. (Some of the plants that require particularly warm temperatures and high humidity are grown separately in greenhouse.)

And of course Illawarra locals are well represented, as many of them also occur in other parts of the country. A visit to the ANBG is well worth it to get a sense of how versatile and adaptable some of our local species are.  
Native Hydrangea (Abrophyllum ornans) growing happily
in the shade. 
This is what the native Clematis (Clematis
) can do if you let it - go crazy and cover
any ugly structure in sight!
Talking of unsightly structures, how's this for a toilet block?
Absolutely covered in Native Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia
). The plant in the foreground is White Correa
(Correa alba)
A gorgeous Finger Fern (Grammitis
), a classic in Illawarra rainforest
The Hairy Psychotria (Psychotria loniceroides)
is rare in Illawarra but makes a beautiful understory

planting in rainforest gardens if you can obtain plants. 
Brush Pepperberry (Tasmannia insipida) grows in rainforest
at many sites in the region here. This plant may be getting
a bit too much sun, judging from its colour. 
I was surprised to see the Stinking Illawarra Arum
(Typhonium eliosurum) growing at the ANBG. These seedlings
were kept in a greenhouse, in quite tropical conditions. 
Not from the Botanic Gardens at all, this Austral Indigo
was growing at the National Gallery of Australia, at the
edge of the sculpture garden. I'm probably a bit biased
but I go to the sculpture garden for the plants, not
for the sculptures!!
Next time you go to Canberra, consider visiting the Australian National Botanic Gardens as well as (or instead of!) Floriade....


  1. Nice Article about Botanic Gardens. Even Biospheres can give us more. I had been at Minnumurra Rainforest and it was an awesome experience. Illawarra Tree top walk made me much more delightful.

  2. Thanks Vignesh. The Illawarra Fly is definitely worth a visit...

  3. Are you sure your Finger Fern (Grammitis billardieri) isn't a young Blechnum pattersonii?