Garden science stars come out to shine for National Science Week

Visitors to the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah don’t always realise that Botanic Gardens are scientific institutions. 

Scientists have been working behind the scenes of Botanic Gardens for hundreds of years, exploring the natural world and contributing to global plant knowledge through research and collecting.

Our Gardens science team will be out in force this National Science Week taking behind the scenes tours, giving talks and running demonstrations at more than 15 public events. Here are some of the experts you might be lucky enough to meet:


Dr Yola Metti is a marine botanist and passionate scuba diver who studies seaweed. Yola will be bringing pressed seaweed specimens, seaweed to eat and freshly collected beach seaweed to PlantBank Party on 19th August. Some of the seaweed she has collected will also be on display at Plant Science by Night on 15th August, a rare chance to see behind the scenes of the Royal Botanic Garden’s Herbarium and its 1.4 million specimens.
Greg Bourke is the curator of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah and one of Australia’s top carnivorous plant experts. Greg has been preparing the Garden for the dinosaurs coming to the Gondwana Garden Family Day on 19th August by planting ancient species that dinosaurs and megafauna liked to eat.
Dr Karen Sommerville studies rainforest seeds at the award-winning PlantBank seed research facility at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. Karen is preparing a delicious display of edible rainforest fruits for PlantBank Party on 19th August and will be talking about her research over wine and cheese at Secrets of the Seed Vault on 16th August.

Botanic Gardens science top achievements in 2017: 

  • Added 9661 new specimens to the National Herbarium of NSW collection, now housing 1.425 million specimens dating back to Banks and Solander’s 1770 collections.
  • The Australian PlantBank won a global award for ‘the greatest progress in seed conservation’ at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International Congress in Geneva.
  • Makeover of our Plant Pathology Lab to give visitors better access to our important work studying plant disease
  • Launch of Restore & Renew, a world first in the science of bush restoration