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Plant Collections

California Garden

California and Victoria share a similar landscape and climate. Like Victoria the climate and geography of California varies enormously. Across the state there are hot dry deserts, temperate coastal areas, shrubby heathlands and cold windswept mountains tops. Due to these similarities many Californian plants can be grown in Victorian gardens.

Californian flora is rich and diverse both in the total number of species and in the number that are endemic that is, that grow only in California. Adaptable and water wise the Californian collection has a lot to offer and admire.

Best Viewed

  • July, August, September, October, November


Gambelia speciosa Showy Island Snapdragon

Ground cover, red flower, light green foliage.

Ceanothus species

Shrub, blue-white flowers, dark green foliage.

Agave parryi

Large cacti, dark spikes, grey foliage.

Garrya elliptica Silk Tassel Bush

Glossy green leaves, shrub/tree, grey catkins.

Encelia californica

Shrub, grey foliage, yellow daisy flower.

Salvia apiana White sage

Grey foliage, white flowers, shrub.

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Melbourne Gardens.

Key Plants

Arctostaphylos pungens Manzanita

Shrub, Burgundy trunk, pink flowers

Dudleya species Dudleya

Rosette clump, pink flowers, succulent

Ceanothus species California lilac

Shrub, blue-white flowers, dark green foliage

Encelia californica

Shrub, grey foliage, yellow daisy flower

Agave parryi

Large cacti, dark spikes, grey foliage

Quercus dumosa

Shrub, rounded form, small foliage

Cercocarpus betuliodes

Tree, curly grey seed pods

Fouquieria diguetii

Upright cacti, thorny canes, red flowers

Curator Notes

  1. Dudleya species are considered endangered in the wild.
  2. The majority of Californian plants handle hot dry summers.
  3. Do research as much as possible on any plant you grow not just Californian flora.


  • 1991 - Royal Botanic Gardens agreed to develop the area formerly known as the William Guilfoyle Rock Lawn.
  • 1991 - A staff exchange between Huntington Botanic Gardens in California and Melbourne Gardens staff took place to enable the collection of plant species and build knowledge of Californian flora. This was funded by the Maud Gibson Trust.
  • 1992 - The area was developed with funds from Dame Elizabeth Murdoch.
  • 1993 - The California Garden displays Californian plants suitable for Melbourne's climate and was opened to the public.