Explore the frisky and fascinating world of plant passion, love, and diversity at Love Your Nature, the new immersive horticulture exhibit at The Calyx at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
From seductive scents to masterful mimicry, The Calyx has been transformed into a kaleidoscopic greenhouse featuring over 20,000 colourful plants. This also includes the largest vertical floral wall in the southern hemisphere, which has been transformed into an abstract floral rainbow for Sydney WorldPride 2023.
Since the dawn of time, plants have been using a variety of remarkable ways to reproduce. Every garden bed within the exhibit tells a unique reproduction story through the love language of plants.
Here is a brief overview of all the different plant bed themes:
1. Ancient Bed
This flowerless garden bed may not be the most colourful, but it is the most fascinating as it delves into the deep green past when plants without flowers ruled the Earth. It’s safe to say prehistoric land-plants had healthy love-lives; using wind and water to help them reproduce with spores, cones, seeds and clones. Some of these asexual plant lovers include the famous Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), Lacy Tree Fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi), and Water Net algae (Hydrodictyon species).
2. Rainforest Bed
Celebrating sexual diversity, this plant bed focuses on all kinds of love amongst flowers, dating back to over 140 million years ago! From reproducing through spores to adapting and attracting insects through their colourful flowers and nectar. These open-minded plants include the vibrant Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae family), which can reproduce by cloning itself or by using its flowers to be pollinated and reproducing through seed.
3. Orchid Bed
This bed features ostentatious and highly adapted Orchids, who are absolute suckers for love! Having perfected their lies and trickery for the past millennium to attract a variety of sexual partners, the beautiful Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor) and the mysterious Lined Maxillaria (Maxillaria lineolata) are considered stage five clingers in the dating world. The Lined Maxillaria makes its flowers look just like a pollinating bee in order to get attention.
4. Rainbow Meadow
Did you know 94% of flowering plants are non-binary? In this seasonal garden bed, you will witness a burst of colour, scent, and plenty of sensory surprises every season. The bisexual lovers currently standing tall in this display include the popular Foxglove (Digitalis) Delphinium and Hydrangea, which all use their beauty to attract their perfect plant partners. Remember this bed is a chameleon and the plants inside will change with the seasons every few months.
5. Arid Bed
A bed for those plants that are both lovers and fighters. You will spot many highly adaptive plants from around the world including the cloud mountain cycad (Encephalartos nubimontanus) from South Africa in this arid environment, which has evolved amazing adaptations to survive the ever-changing climate over millions of years on Earth. Always looking to embrace the extremes, these plants love a good challenge, as they continue to forge unlikely partnerships with the planet to survive and thrive in the harshest environments. Particularly stone plants or Lithops, which are small plants that have evolved to mimic rocks to protect them from thirsty predators.
6. Conservation Bed
Humans have always stage-managed plants’ sex lives. We have encouraged breeding for bigger and brighter flowers, sweeter fruit, and larger harvests. However, with the increased risk of climate change and habitat destruction, the conservation of species is becoming more important than ever! Expect to immerse yourself in the fruits of our fellow human labour with beautiful scents from the citrus tree and the plant rainbow made from the stunning Coral Bells (Heuchera).
Visit Love Your Nature at The Calyx
If you haven’t already heard the news... Love Your Nature will be on display until Winter 2024. During this exciting period, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is officially part of Sydney WorldPride 2023 for their #RainbowCity project. Stay tuned for more updates about exciting WorldPride events happening at the Garden. Love Your Nature is now open with extended hours daily from 10 am - 6 pm until 31 January.
EXTENDED HOURS (26 Dec - 31 Jan):
Leaf Department café open 8am – 6pm.
Love Your Nature exhibition open 10am – 6pm.
*Note extended hours will not apply on 30 & 31 Dec