Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

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Feature gardens & natural areas

From the fascinating Connections Garden to the Wattle, What's the Big Idea and Banksia picnic areas, our themed garden areas show the diverse beauty of nature. The Australian Botanic Garden also has an interesting mosaic of natural areas.

1. Connections Garden
2. Lakeside and Marquee Lawn
3. The Conifer Arboretum and Sundial
4. Wollemi Walk of Discovery
5. What's the Big Idea Garden
6. Wattle Garden
7. Banksia & Grevillea Gardens
8. Callitris Arboretum
9. Kurrajong Arboretum
10, 11, 12. Woodland Conservation Areas
13. Mallee Eucalypt Arboretum
14. Woodland  Picnic Area
15. Stolen Generations Memorial
16. Fruit Loop Garden
17. Fig Tree Wedding Arboretum & Knot

Australian Botanic Garden Map 2011 Click on map to enlarge  

Themed garden areas

Almost all the Garden's cultivated plants have been raised from seeds or cuttings from wild sources. Details of the original location and habitat of each plant collected are carefully documented and a reference specimen is held in the National Herbarium of NSW at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.

About 225 native plant species, some considered rare or endangered, and about 130 exotic species have been recorded as naturally occurring in the Garden. The dominant native species are forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), grey box (E. moluccana) and narrow-leaved ironbark (E. crebra). Introduced species which have naturalised in the Garden include the pepper tree (Schinus areira) and African olive (Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata).

Natural areas

The Australian Botanic Garden has an interesting mosaic of natural areas that have their own intrinsic value. These woodland and native grassland areas contribute to the landscape character and visitor experience of the Garden. These areas of remnant native vegetation are becoming increasingly rare in western Sydney as urban development continues, and the Garden is now important for species conservation and fauna habitat.

Lakeside

A number of endangered ecological communities exist within the Garden and are listed under State legislation

The proper management of these areas is an important part of the work at Mount Annan, and requires consistent control of weeds such as African olive. This regeneration work is greatly assisted by dedicated community volunteers.  Natural areas will be progressively regenerated and linked to form wildlife corridors and provide additional fauna habitat. Birdlife in the Garden has increased considerably since establishment, and the variety of landscapes and vegetation is ideal to observe a great range of birds. Native mammals are also making the Garden home, with wallaroos and swamp wallabies now commonly observed in some sections in the morning and at dusk.

Woodland.jpg
 

1. Connections Garden
Across the road from the Visitor Centre and Melaleuca House Cafe-Restaurant, the Connections Garden is being developed on the site of the old Terrace Garden. The revamped 4.5-hectare Garden will be a roofless museum which explores the interconnectedness of people and the natural world. Surrounding this Garden are many annual and perennial cottage garden style displays that are the focus for the annual wildflower display.

The Connections Garden is currently under development.

Water Garden, photo: Rob Pozo

WaterGarden177

 

2. Lakeside & Marquee Lawn 
Relax and unwind. Two ornamental lakes lie in the valley of Annan Creek. The large adjacent lawns are popular for special events and displays. While there, test your knowledge of the history of Federation with the clever Federation Flannel Flower maze, or stand in the middle of the Room with a View sculpture to see the beautiful Garden vistas this artwork captures.

Room with a View, provides an intimate focal point for celebration - the careful positioning of the walls frame beautiful views out across our gardens, lakes and hills while also creating nooks protected from the wind. The rammed earth walls, constructed by China Walls and kindly  donated to the Australian Botanic Garden by Jamie Durie of Patio Landscape and Design, are reminiscent of the red centre of Australia. They evoke the stability, durability and immense age of our country.

ME Lighting generously donated and installed the low voltage LED lights, with design provided by Distinctive Gardens in Camden. Water efficient, subsurface irrigation was donated by KISSS.

We are grateful for the generous sponsorship of Patio Landscapes, ME Lighting, Distinctive Gardens and KISSS.

Lakeside

Picnic

 

3. The Conifer Arboretum and Sundial
Just off Caley Drive after lakeside, walk up the path on the right-hand side of the road to Sundial Hill. Enjoy spectacular 360 degree views of the countryside including Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Our conifer collection is planted here including kauri, bunya bunya, hoop and Norfolk Island pines. As they grow they will become a local landmark easily seen from the motorway.

For more information about the Sundial please see the Sundial page.

Picnic-on-Sundial-hill.jpg

 

4. Wollemi Walk of Discovery
Deep in the wild and rugged Wollemi National Park only 200 km from Sydney lives an ancient botanical treasure. The ‘dinosaur tree’ or ‘living fossil’ is one of the greatest botanical discoveries of our times. Modern-day explorer David Noble made the astonishing find while canyoning in September 1994. For millions of years these trees were widespread in Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica, but now less than 100 mature specimens remain in their natural habitat. On this trail you will find representatives of each of those last remaining trees.

The Wollemi pine is a unique reminder that the world is full of undiscovered wonders, that there is a lot more to know about our planet and a lot to protect.  We have developed a walking trail that allows visitors to see the Wollemi pine collection grown at the Australian Botanic Garden since the initial find, and to learn more about the habitat of the Wollemi gorge where they were discovered. 

 

Wollemi walk

5. What's the Big Idea Garden
Explore sustainable ideas that help reduce, reuse and recycle valuable resources into your garden.

This area is a redevelopment of the old Bottlebrush Garden. The concept for the What’s the Big Idea was to reinvigorate the existing Bottlebrush Garden by redesigning it to be more relevant to home gardeners. It displays Australian plants that are available through garden centres as well a range of sustainable ideas that help reduce, reuse and recycle valuable resources into your garden. Facilities include two barbecue areas, a picnic shelter, table settings and toilets.

As part of the Big Idea Garden, a Water-wise Garden demonstrates water efficiency in the home garden using water tanks, drip irrigation and an array of beautiful water-wise native plants commonly available in local nurseries. Here you will also find information about mulching and composting, correct pruning, turf care and fertilising. Look out for ‘bright ideas’ throughout the Garden - many are worth considering for your own situation. Financial support for development of this garden has been provided by HSBC through their ‘Towards Sustainable Horticulture’ program. Additional support has been received through Ramm Botanicals and Neutrog Fertiliser.

 

 

Acacia fimbriata dwarf

Pandorea pandorana 'Golden Showers'

6. Wattle Garden
This picnic area is known for vibrant winter colour and features many of the known 950 species of Acacia, including Australia’s floral emblem Acacia pycnantha. Wattles are found across the Australian continent and their colours have inspired our green and gold sports teams’ uniforms.

The Wattle Garden is the largest picnic area at the Australian Botanic Garden. It is suitable for both large and small groups and is wheelchair accessible.

The main flowering period is August, however there are usually some wattles in flower throughout the year. Several barbecue settings, a picnic shelter and toilet facilities are available. Planted shade trees are Sydney blue gums (Eucalyptus saligna). 

There is a  Wedding Arbor in this Garden - bookings please contact the Function & Events Officer on 02-4634 7933.

 

Acacia crassa subsp. crassa

Acacia macradenia

 

7. Banksia & Grevillea Gardens
Set in a cool moist sheltered gully, this lush garden includes well known Australian plant groups including grevilleas, waratahs, banksias, hakeas and rainforest species. Plantings here showcase the best of the Australian Botanic Garden’s extensive Grevillea collection, many of which were supplied by the Grevillea Study Group of the Australian Plants Society. Dry stone walls in the Garden have been constructed by participants in weekend workshops.

Both banksias and grevilleas attract many nectar feeding birds, adding to the Garden's bird diversity. It is a favourite site for families escaping the heat of a summer's day. Cool creekline walks, barbecues, a picnic shelter and toilet facilities are available.

 

Banksia aemula

 

8. Callitris Arboretum
This is a collection of trees - an arboretum - of species commonly known as ‘cypress pines’ because they are distantly related to cypresses (Cupressus) of the northern hemisphere. Early settlers used cypress pines extensively in buildings because of their termite-resistant wood. In Australia we have 17 species of Callitris - from deserts to rainforests, ranging from common to rare.

 

Callitris

9. Kurrajong Arboretum
With a western exposure, these plants need to withstand extremes of temperatures (up to 40ºC in summer) and often fierce blistering winds. Here you will find river red gums Eucalyptus obtusa which grow along inland river banks in areas of low rainfall, bottle trees Brachychiton rupestris, and the apple gum Angophora melanoxylon from northern NSW.

 

Brachychiton bidwillii

10, 11, 12. Woodland Conservation Areas
These woodland areas are a glimpse of the past, and is what the natural vegetation of the region looked like before European settlement. Known as Cumberland Plain Woodland, this type of vegetation has been heavily cleared in western Sydney and is now classified as a Critically Endangered Ecological Community. The forest is made up of distinctive eucalypts such as the narrow-leaved ironbark, forest red gum and grey box and has a very diverse grassy understorey. These forest areas are now very important for local fauna. Take a stroll along the walking tracks where you will see interesting forest birds and occasionally swamp wallabies and wallaroos.

Click here for more information on the Cumberland Plain Woodland

 

Woodland Conservation Area

13. Mallee Eucalypt Arboretum  
Mallees are small multi-stemmed eucalypts and have the greatest variety of foliage and flower form of all Australia's gum trees. As you drive through the northern section of the Garden on Cunningham Drive you can see an arboretum  (tree garden) of mallees. Most of these spectacular small trees set in a valley come from the arid parts of Australia, in particular Western Australia. If you stop for a closer look, you may see the largest of all the gum nuts and the biggest and brightest blooms of one of Australia’s most iconic plants. Local mallees include the whipstick mallee ash Eucalyptus multicaulis, from near Sydney, and the Faulconbridge mallee ash Eucalyptus burgessiana, which has a restricted range in the Blue Mountains. 

 

Eucalyptus nuens ms

Eucalyptus platypus var heterophylla

14. Woodland  Picnic Area
Rare Cumberland Plain Woodland, a threatened plant community of Sydney, surrounds this beautiful picnic area. Ornamental shrubs of this community combine beautifully with the feature dry stone walls and give a ‘cottage garden’ effect when in flower. Enjoy a picnic or barbecue and explore the nearby lake and woodland areas. Walks start from the picnic area weaving through the Woodland, where you may spot wallabies and goannas on your journey. Nearby Lake Nadungamba, two minutes walk from the picnic area, has a bird hide where many species of water birds can be observed. Convenient wheelchair accessible facilities and space for large groups make this a favourite for the nature lover.

 

Woodland picnic area

15. Stolen Generations Memorial
Take a 'journey' of healing and reflection, first through Cumberland Plain Woodland - the original forest that once dominated western Sydney - then through a series of boardwalks.

The site, chosen by the Stolen Generations, reconnects Aboriginal people with the land. Their story is told in the sculptural centrepiece where visitors can sit and reflect on the tragic consequences of separating Aboriginal children from their families.

The local Dharawal people called the Camden area Yandel'ora which means land of peace between peoples. It is hoped that this memorial will encourage peace and contemplation.

>> Click here to view a list of Dharawal names and pronunciations for some Indigenous food and medicinal plants.

Stolen Generation Memorial Sculpture

Boardwalk

 

16. Fruit Loop Garden
The Fruit Loop displays the abundance of Australian plants which have been used in some way by Australians - both past and present. These plants have been used as food, tools and medicines in contemporary Australian culture. They also teach us about our natural environment and the resourcefulness of Indigenous people who used them to survive and flourish for thousands of years.

Bush Foods

17. Fig Tree  Wedding Arboretum & Knot 
Figs can live for hundreds of years so planting a fig arboretum needed some careful planning. Plenty of room was required to showcase the many Australian species, some of which grow to be enormous. Over time our arboretum will grow into a shady, protected place to wander or reflect.

Plant a fig tree to symbolise your lasting relationship. You can also place a plaque on the Knot which has been handcrafted by a dry stone wall master craftsman. Explore this area by following the Central Valley Walk.

Ficus obliqua var. obliqua

The Knot by Geoff Duggan