The eastern section of the Cultivar Garden has research plots that are be used by Royal Botanic Gardens’ horticulturalists and students. The research in this area highlights the role of botanic gardens in horticultural research and how this impacts on which plants we grow in our home gardens.
The research activities of Botanic Gardens are often unseen by our visitors – the aim of this garden is to provide a ‘window’ into the role botanic gardens play in researching and better understanding our magnificent flora.
- Spring, Summer, Autumn
Brachyscome - A number of iconic Australian plant groups are thought to be threatened by rapid climate change but there is very little information to test if these groups may possess inherent resilience, which may have arisen because extant or ancestral members of the groups have adapted to past climate change. One such group is the genus Brachyscome, which comprises >80 species of native daisies found in a wide range of habitats, and includes both highly restricted and widespread species. Brachyscome is important from a commercial horticultural perspective as shown in the large assortment of cultivars and varieties available on the market year after year. These commercial varieties are continually bred for their long flowering periods, compact forms, colour and foliage, and so feature in many Australian home gardens and commercial landscape designs.
Brachyscome provide an outstanding case study to investigate adaptability due to their ease of culture (seed and vegetative propagation), recognition and background taxonomic information about the group The Brachyscome project will test a sub set of species (and populations in some cases) which are known to occur in different regions/clades and varying range sizes within Australia. These plants will be tested from the seedling to the reproductive stage. Eighteen randomized blocks containing two hundred individual plants per block are planted out in the experimental plots. Treatments include increasing the soil temperature of the root zone, and/or applying different volumes of water. Plant measurements such as height, width and leaf length will be taken regularly to compare block/plant performance under these treatments. These experimental treatments will be indicative of the type of stresses plants may be exposed to under a changing climate (by way of temperature and moisture variation). Results from this study will highlight differences in the physiology of Brachyscome at the population (i.e. Victorian alpine species) and the species level.
The Research Garden also displays many of the new varieties being bred for the Australian and overseas nursery industry.