Plants and landscape
The tour begins at the car park, designed as a ‘garden with cars in it', with garden beds between the parking bays planted with paperbark (Melaleuca) trees to provide shade.
The range of paperbarks from across Australia shows the diversity of this extraordinary group of plants, while displays of the Bottlebrush, Callistemon, show the variety of colours that can be grown.
Along the main entry path native conifers, Callitris, are planted as a formal, evergreen hedge, and a stand of Allocasuarina littoralis, an indigenous form of sheoak, is planted as a massed display on either side of the pathway. The prostrate form of Banksia integrifolia covers the embankment.
Red Sand Garden
The journey through the Australian Garden starts with the Sand Garden where the expanse of red sand contrasts with grey foliage. On the northern hill, mass plantings of Acacia binervia and the Spinifex sericeus are used to stabilise the sandhills. The lower slopes are covered by a carpet of muntries (Kunzea pomifera), the fruit used for food by the Aborigines.
The vast central Red Sand Garden blends with flat land river environments. Planting in this area includes the Albany Daisy, Kangaroo-paw, Pincushions, Pineapple Bush, Rope-rush, Popflower, Snakebush, Mat-rush, Grass tree and other rockery plants. In the northern Arid Garden area of the Sand Garden, trees appear for the first time. Beneath are the lower prickly species, such as Bitter-pea, Mat-rush, Melaleuca, Paperbark, Honey-myrtle, Hakea, Needlewood and Dogwood.
The Rockpool Waterway is framed by the Australian tree the Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata), rising over Dwarf Lilly Pillies and Guinea Flowers. Other plants in the area include Bauera rubioides and yellow flowered Goodenia along the water edge, the Darling Lily (Crinum flaccidum), the massive Gymea Lily (Doryanthes palmeri) with its flower spike up to four metres tall, and the charming double blue-flowered Tall Bluebell (Wahlenbergia stricta ‘Blue Mist’).
Dry River Bed
The design of the Dry River Bed relates to the ephemeral nature of water within the Australian landscape and the power of water to shape the land into river-beds, on a seasonal basis.
The central landscape of Australia is characterised by large river systems that can be located beneath the land surface, as part of the artesian water supply. On the surface, the plants respond by growing in the bars of sand that are shaped into curvilinear forms along the base of the river-bed. These shapes are reflected in the patterns of the Dry River Bed.
Trees appear for the first time in this garden, used sparingly, yet accurately representing the whole continent. Beneath are the lower species, such as Hedge Salt-bush, Sword-sedge, Fan-flowers, Bluebush, Poverty Bush, and many types of daisies. The seasonal flower displays will bring colour to this desert landscape.
The five Exhibition Gardens, which will change over time, highlight ways that people can use Australian plants in their own gardens. Each garden explores a specific theme through the use of Australian plants that are available to the public in specialist or local nurseries.
The themes of the Exhibition Gardens are:
Finally, the Eucalypt Walk leads visitors through woodland ‘fingers’ separated by narrow clearings, Plants featured include the red flowered Acacia leprosa ‘Scarlet Blaze’; the brilliant orange flowers of Banksia burdettii; the richly perfumed Boronia megastigma and a native Jasmine, Jasminum suavissimum; the Marble Daisy-bush Olearia astrolaba, a beautiful but very rare Victorian shrub; and two extraordinary plants, the prehistoric cycads, Macrozamia communis, and Grass trees, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, that are hundreds of years old.
Last updated 14 Jan 2013