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Summer in your Gardens

Autumn 2013 - Issue 5

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Following in the footsteps of fire

Staff from the Australian National Botanic Gardens have mounted a successful expedition in search of the threatened plant species Dampiera fusca.

After climbing the peaks of the Tinderry nature reserve southeast of Canberra, Gardens staff discovered masses of the plant which had regenerated after the 2010 Tinderry bushfire.

“This was the perfect time for us to collect seed, cuttings and herbarium specimens of the Dampiera fusca," Curator of Living Collections, David Taylor said.

“This rare plant only appears in such numbers within several years following a fire, before it slowly declines.”

“We found the plants to be very vigorous and healthy in response to the fire.  That meant that we could gather plenty of seed and cutting material and bring it back for the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ collection."

“As well as collecting data for research, we are also planning to display this unique plant at the Gardens in the future.”
Not only were Gardens staff successful in locating the Dampiera fusca, but on their travels they also discovered and collected Wahlenbergia gloriosa, the royal bluebell, the ACT’s floral emblem and several other threatened species including the wattle Acacia costiniana."

The Australian National Botanic Gardens is home to a large and ever-increasing collection of Australian native seeds.  Through its Seed Bank, the Gardens are able to provide the long-term storage of conservation seed collections - particularly rare and threatened flora.

“Seed banks are one of the best ways to conserve species and provide an insurance policy against extinction,” David said.       


The Red Centre Garden begins to transform

The construction of the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ Red Centre Garden is now well and truly underway and each week something new is unfolding.

The first load of rich red desert sand arrived from Victoria and hundreds of tonnes of the sand will be laid across garden beds creating a dramatic feature in the garden.

Gardens staff have also been busy planting, marking out pathways, laying the creek bed, creating retaining walls and preparing for the construction of the viewing platform and central meeting place. 

Once completed the Red Centre Garden will give visitors a feel for the landscape, colours and plants of Central Australia – almost like they are really in Australia’s Red Centre!   

More information about the Red Centre Garden


100 things to do at the Gardens this Centenary year

In celebration of Canberra’s Centenary year, the Gardens have launched our own Facebook campaign 100 things to do at the Australian National Botanic Gardens reflecting on the diverse and unique experiences that the Gardens has to offer.  

From enjoying the beauty and diversity of plants from all over Australia to picnicking with friends, taking guided walks or spying on water dragons - new ideas will be posted each week on the Gardens’ Facebook page as inspiration to Canberrans and interstate visitors.  

“There are so many wonderful things to see and do here at the Gardens all year round so we thought we would pick our top 100 and announce them week by week for the entire Centenary year,” the Gardens’ marketing manager Julie Akmacic said. 

"So far we’ve listed things like ‘see the magnificent Corymbia "Dwarf Orange" in flower’, ‘cool down and feel the mist as you wander through the Rainforest Gully’ and ‘see your favorite movie while in the great outdoors!’

“Not only are we offering ‘things to do’ ideas, but we’re really keen to hear from our visitors about what their favourite things to do at the Gardens are, so we’re inviting people to jump onto our Facebook page and post their most memorable or enjoyable activity in the Gardens. 

To see what’s listed on the 100 things to do at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, or to post your own ideas visit:


Collecting for Conservation

The Gardens’ National Seed Bank has made a significant contribution to the conservation of high-priority native species during a successful summer field collecting season.

Over 200 seed collections targeted specific priority plants from regional grassy woodlands and alpine bogs and fens, and rare and threatened species from Norfolk Island, Morton National Park and Tinderry Nature Reserve.

Gardens’ staff have made approximately 50 seed collections from the pristine bogs and fens of Namadgi National Park, with support from Namadgi National Park and the ACT Government’s Conservation Planning and Research section. The collections are being used for seed ecological research to better understand the germination processes of bog and fen seeds that will improve our capacity for restoring these critical catchment habitats.

Additional important collections from grassy woodlands in the local region by the National Seed Bank Seedy Volunteer program will be used to improve the diversity and quality of plant species available for grassy woodland revegetation projects.

Image: Cathy Franzi bagging Gompholobium huegelii, Hall, ACT
Photo credit: Annette Harry


Celebrate Art in the Gardens with Friends

Experience a different light on Australian plants with a visit to the sixth botanical exhibition Art in the Gardens with Friends at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Curated by the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Art Group, the exhibition brings together both amateur and expert artists who have a special interest in Australian native plants. The artists seek to portray plants found in the Australian National Botanic Gardens, some of which can be difficult for artists to find elsewhere.  

This year the theme of the exhibition is ‘native celebratory flowers’ which includes Correa ‘Canberra Bells’ developed for Canberra’s Centenary.
President of the Friends, David Coutts says the Botanical Art Group is an excellent example of how the community can become more involved with the Gardens.

“There is still an important place for botanical art, both as art and as a tool to assist botanists and horticulturalists, and for this reason it is very important that botanical art continues to flourish and be recognised,” he said.

On display at the Australian National Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre Gallery until 7 April 2013, the Art in the Gardens with Friends exhibition features over 60 botanical paintings and drawings dedicated to Australian native plants.  

The exhibition was first held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in 2008 and due to its popularity and success, the exhibition has become an annual event for the Gardens.   

Most artworks featured in the exhibition are for sale.

When: Until Sunday 7 April 9.30 am – 4.30 pm | Visitor Centre Gallery | Free

To become a Friend of the Gardens, visit the Friends' website




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