Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne - The Australian Garden - Saturday 6th October

Part 2

The Australian Garden

It is very rare to see Sturt's Desert Pea growing in red sand in Victoria. But if you venture into the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, you may see this wonderful desert plant growing happily in 
Victoria's cool and wet climate.

Swainsona formosa

The Red Sand Garden is at the heart of the Australian Garden. It has been designed to mimic the shapes and colours of the Australian Outback. Wild flowers and salt bush have been planted here to show the seasonal flush of growth of 
plants from the desert centre of Australia.

The circular vibrant Red Sand Garden is surrounded by a number of different 
gardens and displays aimed at bringing the beauty and diversity of Australian 
plants and landscapes to the public.

We followed the paths that lead us through these wonderful gardens. Walking around the Red Centre, we came upon a stream bubbling water to the surface of the parched landscape. Where water flows, plants grow. The Waterway is lined with the Smooth-barked Apple Gum, Dwarf Lilly Pillies, and Guinea Flowers. 

The very tall red flower on the spike is a Gymea Lilly. 
 Those flower spikes can grow 4 meters tall!

Also flowering well this season were blue watering cans,

yellow watering cans,

and of course the red flowering variety of watering cans.

These watering cans have been used to highlight differing watering needs and drought tolerance of the different plants in the Water Saving Gardens. This system highlight to home gardeners that not all Australian plants need a lot of water. Plants growing near the red watering cans hardly need any water at all!

Many displays show how the diversity of texture and colour of Australian plants can be used in the home garden. Here, Kangaroo Paw with it's strappy, upright leaves, provides a strong textural back drop to low growing shrub that is in full bloom. A striking contrast.

Wade between the flags

The Escarpment Wall and the Rockpool Waterway reflect the many waterways and escarpments such as Kings Canyon and Palm Valley found in Central Australia.

No one feel in and got wet today.

No kids today, too wet!

Remember playing in your back yard as a child. Back yards are almost a thing of the past as houses get larger and blocks get smaller. Here is a garden designed just for children. 

Mind you this structure would be hard to fit in any ones back yard! 

Please excuse the rain drops on the lens

The view backup the Rockpool Waterway.

The following two photos are of Waratahs in full bloom. The Waratah belongs to the Telopea family and generally grow as large shrubs or small trees. They are very popular with home gardeners for their very showy display of flowers during Spring.

White Telopea

The red Waratah (Telopea speciosissima) is the floral emblem of New South Wales. The name waratah comes from the Eora people who originally inhabited the Sydney area.

Red waratah

We continued along the path as it snaked it's way through the garden. The undulating landscape provided different views and perspectives of the gardens.

As it was such a grey day and with rain drops all over the camera lens, 
the above photo does not do justice to the view.

So here is a photo of the same view that was prepared earlier.

And here is a closer up photo of the same view.

There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus trees in Australia.

Quite a few of them have been planted in these gardens. 

The Eucalyptus Walk features some of the most well known Eucalypt species including ironbark, box, peppermint, blood wood and stringybark.

The Eucalyptus Walk also features the red flowering wattle (Acacia leprosa),  the orange flowering Banksia burdettii, two prehistoric cycads and 
some ancient Grass-trees.

The Grass-trees, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, are hundreds of years old 
and are currently in flower!

The tall flowering spikes were prominent against the grey sky. 

So were the birds fluttering up and down along the flower spikes 
feeding on the sweet nectar.

Purple and green minty haze.
The above photo shows a hedge made from Prostanthera or Mint Bush. Brushing up against the hedge or rubbing the leaves with between your finger releases 
a strong, fresh minty aroma. So refreshing!

And so our tour of the Australian Gardens came to an end.

Even though it was such a grey day, it was still a fantastic experience wandering 
through the Gardens in the light rain.

So I will leave you with a few photos taken on a bright sunny day 
from earlier this Spring.

The Visitor Centre and cafe is a great place to sit and relax. This little ring-tailed possum has also made itself at home in between the shutters and the window overlooking the cafe.

We enjoyed watching the possum sleep while we sipped on
lattes and chatted about our day's grand tour of the
Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.

The Australian Garden is expanding!

The second stage of the Gardens is opening on the 21st & 22nd of October 2012. 

What a good excuse to come and visit this magnificent collection and display 
of Australian flora!

For more information about the Australian Garden click here.

And here is a link to a map of the Australian Garden.

Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne -The Parklands - Saturday 6th October

Part 1

It's Spring time!!

What better time to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.

But guess what? That's right. It rained!!

Well, that's to be expected during Spring time in Victoria!

We met in the car park of Stringybark Picnic Area and set off along the 
meandering paths of the Cranbourne Gardens.

The sky was foreboding.

 (That's probably because the picture was under exposed 
to create a mysterious atmosphere.)

 We had raincoats so a foreboding sky was not going to stop us!

We did stop to look at the wedding tree in the above photo.

 And at something at the bottom of the scraggly gum tree.

 Oh, it was an orchid. Just one all by itself.

Here are some facts about the Gardens.

The total area of the gardens is 363 hectares and consists of heathlands, wetlands and woodlands. The land was inhabited by the Boonerwurung people prior to European settlement. In the 1820's the land was used to mine sand to help in the building of Melbourne. The military then owned and used the site from the 1889 to 1960. Various leases allowed for grazing, sand mining and timber collecting during this time. In 1970 the land was set aside as a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne and specialised in native plant research and conservation. The Gardens opened to the public in 1986.

 Another wedding tree. 

Mind you it could be called something else for all I know. 
When you walk at the back of the group, you tend to miss out on a lot of 
botanical information.

 A close up of the flowers of the wedding tree. They are very pretty.

 The path was wide and very easy to walk on.

 We reached the high point of the walk and climbed a bit higher.

 Trig Point.

 We ate morning tea underneath the tower next to the sign that said don't climb or sit near the tower during a thunder storm in case of lightening strikes.

Good thing there wasn't a thunder storm!

 Here are some views from Trig Point.

 The heathland expanded in all directions.

 There were signs of snakes sharing the path but we didn't see any.

 We continued walking along the path that passed lakes,

 and crossed through open grassland where once cattle grazed.

 It did start to rain.

You can see the rain drops on the lake.

 It was not far from our lunch spot

 but we had to make a quick stop to put on our rain coats.

A leisurely lunch was enjoyed under the shelter at the Stringybark Picnic Area.

Our walking club has been established for over 40 years and some of our members
aren't able to make it to all the walks planned during the year.

A big thank-you to Heather for organising this walk at a venue where everyone who could, joined us today for our walk around the Cranbourne Gardens.

It was great to see Jean and Dianna, a two of the Clubs longest serving members.

 After we finished our cups of tea,
we ventured around to the Australian Garden.

 But that's another story!

 Stay tuned for Part 2, to find out just what is sleeping in the window.

Post Script

I forgot to add the link for the walk stats.

So for all you statistical buffs out there here is the link.

For those who just want to know how far we walked, we walked just over 6 kms of the possible 10 kms worth of walking track available in the Parklands of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne.

Here is a link to a map of the Parklands

Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.

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