Garden inspiration: Australian National Botanic Gardens

You wouldn't think that Canberra would be a good place to see Illawarra native plants. But the amazing people at the Australian National Botanic Gardens have worked over decades to establish plantings in their rainforest gully that encompass species that grow from Tasmania in the south up to northern Queensland. (Some of the plants that require particularly warm temperatures and high humidity are grown separately in greenhouse.)

And of course Illawarra locals are well represented, as many of them also occur in other parts of the country. A visit to the ANBG is well worth it to get a sense of how versatile and adaptable some of our local species are.  
Native Hydrangea (Abrophyllum ornans) growing happily in the shade. Image by Emma Rooksby.   
This is what the native Clematis (Clematis aristata) can do if you let it - go crazy and cover any ugly structure in sight! Image by Emma Rooksby.
Talking of unsightly structures, how's this for a toilet block? Absolutely covered in Native Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea). The plant in the foreground is White Correa (Correa alba). Image by Emma Rooksby. 
A gorgeous Finger Fern (Grammitis billardieri), a classic in Illawarra rainforest. Image by Emma Rooksby.
The Hairy Psychotria (Psychotria loniceroides) is rare in Illawarra but makes a beautiful understorey
planting in rainforest gardens if you can obtain plants. Image by Emma Rooksby.
Brush Pepperberry (Tasmannia insipida) grows in rainforest at many sites in the region here. This plant may be getting a bit too much sun, judging from its colour. Image by Emma Rooksby.
I was surprised to see the Stinking Illawarra Arum (Typhonium eliosurum) growing at the ANBG. These seedlings  were kept in a greenhouse, in quite tropical conditions. Image by Emma Rooksby.
Not from the Botanic Gardens at all, this Austral Indigo (Indigofera australis) was growing at the National Gallery of Australia, at the edge of the sculpture garden. I'm probably a bit biased but I go to the sculpture garden for the plants, not for the sculptures!! Image by Emma Rooksby.
Next time you go to Canberra, consider visiting the Australian National Botanic Gardens as well as (or instead of!) Floriade....


  1. Nice Article about Botanic Gardens. Even Biospheres can give us more. I had been at Minnumurra Rainforest and it was an awesome experience. Illawarra Tree top walk made me much more delightful.

  2. Thanks Vignesh. The Illawarra Fly is definitely worth a visit...

  3. Are you sure your Finger Fern (Grammitis billardieri) isn't a young Blechnum pattersonii?