Victoria's flora and fungi are under increasing threat from climate change, environmental weeds, agriculture, forest clearance and urbanisation. Climate change will especially impact on plants restricted to the coldest environments on mountain summits, which are likely to lose their only suitable habitat. At Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, studies of taxonomy, distribution, population genetics, propagation, translocation and seed banking all contribute to the conservation of Victoria’s and Australia's plants and fungi.
In Victoria, there are nearly 700 native species of threatened plants (among the approximately 3,200 species recorded from the state) along with many others that are rare. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria plays a leading role in programs to conserve these endangered species in order to stabilise or increase populations in their natural habitat. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is particularly involved in the conservation of native terrestrial orchids. Victoria is a 'hotspot' for orchid diversity, with 23 per cent of Australia's orchid species occurring in just 3 per cent of the land area. Most of the native orchid species found in Victoria are terrestrial, and at least a third occur nowhere else.
Botanic gardens throughout the world play a significant role in helping scientists and the public understand the evolution and history of plants, their present day uses as well as what the future may hold for plants in natural environments. Across our two locations at Melbourne and Cranbourne, our experienced horticulture teams manage 45 plant collections as well as a significant area of precious bushland at Cranbourne Gardens. All of our collections feature plant labels which show each plant's scientific name comprised of a genus and species.
Our horticultural and environmental research is focused on responding to future challenges such as water availability and changing climatic conditions and looking at how these may impact on plant and landscape conservation within the gardens.
At both Cranbourne and Melbourne our land management teams focus on irrigation management, finding alternate water sources, water quality and biodiversity of the lakes system; reducing weeds, protecting plants against pests and diseases and managing soils.
We are constantly striving to improve irrigation efficiency, stormwater treatment, lake ecosystems and water quality in the lake system. Recently the Working Wetlands project was completed at Melbourne Gardens, reducing reliance on potable water by 40%.
How we garden in botanic gardens, how you garden at home and how we all garden as a community has big impacts on the biodiversity and sustainability of urban Australia. The Australian Garden at Cranbourne is designed to showcase how native plants can make a spectacular and waterwise home garden. There is an Australian plant suitable for virtually any situation in your garden, from tall trees to ground covers, aquatic plants to those growing in low light or in full sun. Australian plants attract native birds and butterflies, and brighten up your garden with wonderful seasonal colour. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to find inspiration and great tips for using Australian native plants at home.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has a special place in the hearts and minds of all Victorians. The Gardens has played an important role in the cultural development of Melbourne and can continue to flourish with the help of passionate individuals. There are many ways to get involved with the Gardens and we value any level of support, whether you are a friend or a donor, a member of our Director’s Circle or one of our volunteers. There are also ways to honour those you love by dedicating a tree or a bench within the Garden of your choice.
Many people share the Gardens with those they love and some visitors choose to mark a significant occasion by dedicating a tree or a bench to someone special. In the Gardens you’ll notice each bench has a dedication plaque featuring a favourite quote or the recognition of an anniversary, achievement or occasion.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Melbourne and Cranbourne offers a rich learning environment for students of all ages and abilities. Our Education Services team develops adaptive, strategic curriculum based programs to assist teachers and provide an enjoyable and valuable learning experience for students from kindergarten to university. Each education program is designed to support teachers in achieving the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and is delivered by a qualified teacher.
Lie beneath the trees and fade into the grounds of Melbourne Gardens. A visually evocative audio work, Bushland connects you to the biochemical processes that will continue long after you’ve lost consciousness, as you’re slowly subsumed by the earth over thousands of years.
Bushland is an adaptation of Woodland, one of four works in UK duo French & Mottershead’s Afterlife series, which explores the human body’s decomposition and the influence of different environments. Created in collaboration with forensic anthropologists, ecologists and conservators and now nuanced with Australian experts, Bushland reveals details in the science of decay and renewal.
A love poem to nature and the body, Bushland is both visceral and meditative. Step out of time and connect to your body as never before – your body as it could be one day.
Presented by Arts House & Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Writers & Devisors: Rebecca French, Andrew Mottershead
Science Advisers: Dr Carolyn Rando & Prof. Shari Forbes
Supported by: Bushland is presented in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, The Bundanon Trust, Metro Arts, and the City of Melbourne through Arts House. Bushland is an adaptation of Woodland, one of four audio works from French & Mottershead’s Afterlife series, which was supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.
Saturday 1 December and Sunday 2 December
11am to 5pm (allow 50 minutes)
Meet at the Visitor Centre, enter from Observatory Gate, Birdwood Ave (opposite The Shrine of Remembrance)