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Alive with Autumn

Autumn 2012 - Issue 1

Canberra’s Rainforest comes to life AfterDARK

Canberra’s young and old are invited through the garden gates for an evening of adventure — to discover the magically lit Rainforest Gully and experience the sounds and scent of the Australian National Botanic Gardens at night. 

On the first Saturday of each month, take a journey through the beautifully lit Rainforest Gully with a skilled guide and immerse yourself in a unique AfterDARK experience of the Gully’s rich diversity of plants.

“This special AfterDARK experience highlights the rich diversity of plants in our rainforest and provides a new tourism opportunity for visitors to the Gardens and Canberra,” the Gardens’ Executive Director, Dr Judy West said. “This lighting project, jointly funded by the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, uses the latest technology in LED lighting — resulting in high quality lighting and low use of power."

“We are proud to support this wonderful new addition to the Australian National Botanic Gardens and are very excited to see the lights turned on each month,” President of the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Mr David Coutts said.

The rainforest lighting experience can be booked by school and tour groups and will be available to the general public on the first Saturday of each month — commencing 2 June 2012 and during special events.

Come along, who knows what you might discover in the Gardens at night? 

For further information or to make a booking, please contact the Visitor Centre on
(02) 6250 9540.


Floresco in the Gardens

A new dining experience featuring fresh produce and Australian bush foods will soon be on offer at the Australian National Botanic Gardens with the opening of our new cafe — Floresco in the Gardens.

Following a competitive selection process, the Australian National Botanic Gardens is pleased to announce the new proprietor of its new cafe — Hellenic Premium Catering — part of the Hellenic Club of Canberra.  

Floresco promises to add to the Gardens’ visitor experience with its new look and exciting new menu providing high quality, affordable meals. “With over 40 years experience in the catering and hospitality industry, we are very excited about welcoming Hellenic Premium Catering to the Gardens,” the Gardens’ General Manager, Peter Byron said.

“Hellenic Premium Catering will work with us to make Floresco one of Canberra’s most unique and popular dining experiences.”     

 “Floresco is a step forward in the growth of Hellenic Premium Catering and we’re very pleased to be involved with this iconic venue — the Australian National Botanic Gardens,” Hellenic Club of Canberra CEO, Ian Cameron said. 

After operating from the Australian National Botanic Gardens for 14 years, Hudsons in the Gardens have relocated to the Australian War Memorial. “On behalf of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, we would like to thank Hudson’s for their hard work and dedication over the last 14 years,” Mr Byron said.

People with current function bookings with Hudsons at the Gardens can be assured that their bookings will not be affected by the change in cafe operators at the Gardens. 

The cafe will undergo extensive renovations from 1 May to 11 May 2012 with coffee and snacks available during this period.

Following the renovations, Floresco will open on 12 May just in time for Mother’s Day. The cafe will retain its current phone number of (02) 6248 9680 and in the interim, enquiries to the new operator can be made on (02) 6162 6683.


Alive with colour this autumn

As the leaves start to fall throughout Canberra’s suburbs and we prepare for the cooler months, come and see the beautiful autumn display of native blooms at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

The bright red spikes of the bottle brush, the distinctive bell-shaped flowers of the correa and the golden banksias are just some of the flowering delights you’ll see while strolling along the Gardens’ paths.

“Now is a great time to visit us as there is so much in flower,” David Taylor, Curator of Living Collections says.  “Our Australian garden has really responded to all the summer rain we’ve had.  The regular rainfall combined with lower than average temperatures this year has triggered a tremendous growth spurt.  Many plants are continuing to grow at a time when we normally see them slowing down.” 

Visiting the Gardens is a great way to get some inspiration for your own garden.  Take Banksia spinulosa for example – no garden should be without this plant.  It comes in all shapes and sizes – from small shrubs, ideal for the smallest garden or balcony, through to small trees.

“Once it’s established, this particular banksia is almost guaranteed to have flowers every autumn – and it withstands our winter frosts,” David says. “With bright gold, red or orange flowers, it also attracts a range of nectar feeding birds who frequently visit the Gardens throughout autumn and winter.”

Not only can a visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens give you ideas for autumn native flowering plants for your own garden, it’s also a great place to spend a relaxing autumn day.  From kids’ storytelling, school holiday programs, exhibitions, guided walks and talks, there is something to suit everyone. See our What's on to find out what is happening.


The Gardens recruit some seedy volunteers

14 volunteers have come together to support the Australian National Botanic Gardens by collecting seeds for its conservation Seed Bank. 

Between November 2011 to February 2012, Gardens’ staff and the Seedy Volunteers undertook 17 local field trips and 74 different species were collected -  making a total of 99 collections for the Seed Bank. 

Over the next few months, germination tests will be undertaken to build knowledge of the germination protocols for these particular species.

Link to:




The endangered bilby comes to the Gardens this Easter

Enjoy Easter and the April school holidays at the Gardens with an exhibition and children’s workshops dedicated to the endangered native bilby.

Beginning with a special bilby-themed exhibition, Easter Bilby in the Gardens features a colourful display of clay models with diorama backgrounds, collages using recycled materials and illustrated short stories from Canberra students. “We are delighted to host such a wonderful exhibition this Easter. Students from local schools have done an amazing job reflecting the fascinating life of our native bilby,” Gardens’ Visitor Services Manager, Stephen Speer said.

“We invite the Canberra community to support these young artists by visiting the Gardens’ Visitor Information Centre and seeing these terrific artworks on display. The exhibition is open daily until Monday, 9 April.”

As well as the Easter Bilby in the Gardens exhibition, the Australian National Botanic Gardens will be hosting a range of children’s workshops designed to bring out a child's inner artist.

Create a bilby collage canvas | $12 per person

Fri 6 April | 11.00 am - 12.30 pm | 5 – 8 yrs
Fri 6 April | 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm | 9 – 12yrs

Make a bilby notebook with personalised cover | $12 per person

Sat 7 April | 11.00 am - 12.30 pm | 5 – 8 yrs
Sat 7 April | 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm | 9 – 12 yrs

Paint your own bilby library bag or pillowcase | $12 per person

Mon 16 & 23 April | 11.00 am - 12.30 pm | 5 – 8 yrs
Mon 16 & 23 April | 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm | 9 – 12yrs

Sew a felt bilby | $12 per person

Wed 18 & 25 April | 11.00 am - 12.30 pm | 5 – 8 yrs
Wed 18 & 25 April | 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm | 9 – 12 yrs

Bush Magic: Bilby stories

Get ready for Easter with Bilby stories in the Gardens.

When: Friday 6 April | Storytime is on the first Friday each month
Time: 10 – 11 am
Where: Follow the signs from the Cafe or check in at the Visitor Centre for details on the day
Cost: $2 per child | Suitable for pre-schoolers
Bookings: Not required

More information

Self guided Bilby children’s trail

This free adventure trail starts from the Visitors Centre and children must be supervised at all times.

When: 30 March - 29 April
Where: Pick up a trail map in the Visitor Centre

Bookings are essential for all workshops. Contact the Australian National Botanic Gardens Visitor Information Centre on (02) 6250 9540.











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