Plant Collections

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.

Best Viewed

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn

Key Plants

Calothamnus quadrifidus, One-sided Bottlebrush is an evergreen shrub to 2.5m with attractive green needle like foliage and characteristic red bottle brush type flowers on one side of the stems. It is a hardy species that is best kept tip pruned to maintain a dense form and habit. 

Swainsona greyana, Hairy Darling Pea, is a short lived woody herb with many rich pink flowers and is extremely rare in Victoria.

Curator Notes

The Dry River Bed is dominated by plants that can be hedged. The main plantings are Calothamnus spp. There are many native plants that are suited to hedging – hedges can be formal and regularly clipped with hedging shears to produce tight foliage and form or they can be informal and pruned less regularly. It is important in establishing a hedge that the formative pruning happens early to encourage a strong branching network and good structure.