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Horticultural Trial Beds

Discover what's new in our Horticultural Trial Beds – it's an area of the garden that's brimming with history.

One of the few things to survive the great fire that destroyed the Garden Palace in 1882 is the imitation bronze statue Huntsman and Dogs by French sculptor A. Jacquemart. You can see it today near the site of Boston's Mill.

Although Boston's Mill is long gone, you're standing on the site where one of three windmills which ground wheat to make bread in the very early days of the colony. Between this historic landmark and the striking Conservatorium of Music lie the Botanic Garden's horticulture trial beds.

It's here that our horticultural staff grow and assess an everchanging array of new cultivars and hybrids of flowering perennials to see how they perform in our garden. The information that they gather is valuable to plant breeders and home gardeners alike. The colourful plantings also provide a wonderful source of food for our bees, who can be seen foraging on the flowers that contribute to the unique flavour of the Royal Botanic Garden's Honey

What you may not realise is that we are trialling these new plants on a rooftop garden. Beneath these plantings are the classrooms and rehearsal spaces built in 2001 for the students attending the University of Sydney's Conservatorium of Music

In our nearby turf plots we display a range of grass varieties that are suitable as lawn species side-by-side, so that you can compare and find the right variety for your home garden.

Keep walking along the Greenway Terrace to enjoy spectacular views out over the lower gardens to Sydney's iconic harbour. The terrace was named for the convict turned architect, Francis Greenway, whose gothic picturesque design for Governor Macquarie's stables on this site in 1821 caused an uproar in the colony.

Greenway Terrace is a lovely place to take photos of both yourself and the view, take some time to sit on one of the park benches dotted along the terrace and relax.