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.