As you travel along the winding Bells Line of Road on approach to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, you really feel like you’ve escaped to a different world. The vegetation changes abruptly as you approach the basalt capped summit of Mount Tomah and you’re surrounded by the rich colours of the beautiful Living Collection at the Garden.
The Garden is a very special place. The name, Mount Tomah comes from the local Darug language, Tomah meaning Tree Fern and it’s aptly named. The peak is often blanketed with fog and this supports a plethora of fern species including a few Tree Ferns as the name suggests. I’ll never forget my first visit to the Garden. It was shrouded in mist, transporting me to another place and time.
A pre-historic landscape
The Gondwana Walk was a highlight that day, the plantings in this area represent those from the ancient supercontinent including conifers from South America, New Zealand, Africa and Australia. The understory of ferns was lush and you could imagine a dinosaur appearing through the mist.
A collection of over 6,000 plant species
Of course there is much more to the Garden with Rhododendrons, Camellias, Maples, Cherries, Conifers and other strange and beautiful exotics spread across the 28 hectares of cultivated garden.
Amongst them, thousands of bulbs including Crocus, Daffodils and Liliums which thrive in the cool conditions as does some of the most beautifully turfed lawns you’ll see anywhere.
It’s an incredibly diverse collection and an uncommon one for the dry, hot continent of Australia.
Passion and talent
In order to manage such a collection, you need a special team of dedicated and talented individuals, and that’s exactly what we have.
From the nursery where Damien propagates some of the rarest and most challenging species on the planet, to high in the canopy where Antony tends to the health of 50 metre tall Eucalypts, the Living Collection is in great hands.
See a snapshot of the diversity of their work in the video below.
Stop and say 'Hello!'
Our team has a diverse range of interests, each complimenting the others to ensure that the Living Collection is maintained at the highest standard.
There are new plants arriving all the time and understanding how best to care for them is critical. With many of the species we acquire, there is little information available on their care, so the team monitor and adapt their methods to suit.
So next time you visit the Garden, say hi to a team member and ask them what they’re doing today. It’s almost always something interesting.
Take a look around
The Garden is open seven days a week and there are several ways to explore the natural beauty of our horticulture displays including self-guided walks and free tours led by our volunteers.
If you are looking for an in-depth experience you can stay the night or take a Seasonal Curator Tour led by the horticulture team and followed by lunch at The Potager.