Guilfoyle’s Volcano was built in 1876 and was used to store water for Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. After laying idle for 60 years, it has now been restored as part of a significant landscape development project.
A circular design and sloping sides form a distinct volcano shape, surrounded by rock outcrops and a sequence of flowing lawns and mounded garden beds. The design concept retains the historical significance of the reservoir but provides a contemporary planting design. Improved planting design to the sloping sides has enhanced the prominent shape of the volcano, and provides a striking design feature in the landscape. Plants used are low water use and complement the adjacent Californian, Arid and Australian plant collections.
There are islands floating in the water in the volcano. These are designed so that plants roots are suspended in the water. The large surface area of roots acts as a filter to absorb soluble nutrients in the water, which leads to improved water quality.
Brahea armata Blue Hesper Palm
This palm is native to California and Mexico, is slow growing but very attractive and is frost resistant. It is a very attractive plant that has blue to grey fan leaves. It will grow up to 12 metres tall.
Echinocactus grusonii Golden Barrel Cactus
A dominant feature of the collection, this plant is native to Mexico and endangered in the wild. It is slow growing but will reach 90 x 90 cm after many years.
Ceiba insignis White Silk Floss Tree
Native to Southern Brazil and Argentina, this small tree will grow to 5 metres tall. Its trunk becomes bottle shaped and is covered in spines as it ages. It has pink flowers and pear shaped fruits containing silky floss coming out of the seeds.
Alcantarea sp. Vriesea
This plant is native to Rio de Janeiro. Its leathery leaves form an urn that holds water where frogs and small insects can sometimes be found.
Sedum rubrotinctum Jelly Bean Plant
This cute little Sedum is native to Mexico and only reaches 15 cm in height. The leaves turn bronze red in full sun.
- Group plants with similar watering requirements together. This will help you water your plants more efficiently.
- Plenty of sunlight is required by arid plants. Too much shade will affect their growth and habit, leading to weak, distorted plants.
- Drainage is important for these plants. Sandy soils are ideal. Clay soils will need gravel or course sand added to aid drainage.
- Too much water will rot many of these plants. Too much fertilizer will produce soft, weak leaves that are prone to scorch in sunny weather.
- Mulch using sand or gravel. This helps suppress weeds and conserves soil moisture.
- 1876 – Volcano built.
- 1946c – Volcano no longer used for irrigation storage and falls into disrepair.
- 1997 – RBG Masterplan identifies area for redevelopment.
- 2007 – Landscape planning begun.
- 2008 – Landscape implementation.
- 2010 – Project completed and opened to the public.
Last updated 16 Oct 2012