Effective, diverse and well planned landscaping provides the visitor with a range of experiences - promoting an appreciation of Australia's unique flora and celebrating the use and value of native plants.
Taxonomic groupings show off the diversity within a particular plant group, ecological groupings create a piece of natural habitat and tell stories. Areas that focus on landscape or ornamental values encourage the home gardener to consider new ways for using Australian plants … and these are just a few landscape themes to be found at the ANBG.
The Gardens were established in the foothills of Black Mountain and the natural slopes and gullies have been used in the landscape design. The garden beds follow the contours of the site to maximise available space and reduce water run off. The more protected gullies protect the plants from extremes of weather and are relatively frost-free. They are home to plants from warmer and more humid climates (for example, the Rainforest and the Sydney Region Flora).
Water reuse and storage is an important functional element built into the Gardens' landscape. Each water feature is surrounded with appropriate water plants and ferns to make best use of the wetter environment and improve its aesthetic appeal.
Recent projects include:
- adding flowform dishes in a series of cascading pools to create the Friends Cascades near the Visitor Centre. The water is aerated as it swirls and tumbles to the pond below. The water is supplemented with tank water collected from the Visitor Centre roof.
- re-lining the Tasmanian pond and using any excess water from the ponds in the rainforest gully.
- improving the recycled water flow throughout the Gardens using a series of natural looking waterways, water falls and ponds.
- installing weather stations, soil moisture sensors and a computer controlled irrigation system to automate and monitor water usage in the Gardens.
- setting up a fogging system below the café bridge to humidify the rainforest and reduce the need for water in the area.
A major project is underway to assess how well each section and area of the Gardens is functioning in terms of landscape design and value.
The results will be used for the future planning of:
- function and purpose
- interpretation and education
- conservation projects
- landscape developments.
Engaging interested people to record their views online will form part of the process. ANBG staff will be able to update key information into the IBIS system relating to their respective areas. The results of the landscaping project will be incorporated into the Living Collections review.
Recent landscape projects include:
- new paving below the café lawn, near the Tasmanian rainforest gully and in the Mallee sections.
- constructing the Friends Shelter in the Rock Garden through financial support from the Friends of the ANBG.
- recycling sandstone rubble from material extracted for the Sydney Cross-City tunnel to create the ideal condition for growing sandstone flora.
- re-developing the interpretive signage in the Rainforest Gully, Sydney Region Flora and along the Children's Discovery Walk (Who Lives Here).
- re-shaping the gully, drainage and rockwork at the bottom of the Tasmanian rainforest gully.
- adding large rocks salvaged from earthworks at Harcourt Hill to the Rockery lawn to resemble the granite boulders of the Monaro plains.
- creating the Ellis Rowan Garden that displays cool climate plants available from commercial nurseries for Canberra home gardeners.