Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Posts tagged ‘Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne’

Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens – Part II

As promised, I’m following up my recent post on our visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne.

This time it’s a quick look at the trees as I (almost literally) jog past to catch up with the rest of my family. Apologies for some of the photos looking a little smeary…apart from zipping past at hight speed I think I got some sunscreen on the camera lens!

The Separation Tree (River Red Gum)

Let’s start of with the ‘Separation Tree’ a majestic old River Red Gum (eucalyptus camaldulensis) that was already there when the gardens were established in 1846. The tree is intertwined with colonial history as ceremonies to commemorate the separation of Victoria from the colony of New South Wales were held by it in 1850. The added historical point I like is that the tree actually pre-dates European settlement. Sadly the tree was badly damaged in 2010 by apparent vandalism and the garden’s staff are working to repair the damage and save the tree. As this page from the CSIRO describes,  in the right conditions River Red Gums are long-lived trees and a good 700 years is not unheard of.

Corymbia Ficifolia (Red Flowering Gum) 'Summertime'

Above is a Corymbia, just for the sheer exuberant joy of their flowers at this time of year. The bees and the birds just love them! We used to have quite a few of them planted as streets trees in our area, but for some reason they got the chop.

Moreton Bay Fig

Moreton Bay Figs (ficus macrophylla) are the classic tree of an Eastern Australian Botanic garden to me. They are more famously associated with the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden, but I remember being fascinated by them as a child when I first visited the Melbourne garden. After all, those big buttresses and crevasses hidden beneath a wide leafy canopy have to be the domain of fairies don’t they?

I’m sorry I haven’t got a photo of the canopy of one of these fabulous trees. But you do need to have at your disposal a handy botanic garden or large park like garden if you want to plant one. They can grow up to 35 meters wide as well as high (eventually) and their roots can be very damaging. Some more information from the Australian Native Plants Society can be found here.

Above and below are poor photos of a very pretty tree, the Norfolk island Hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonii). While it’s from tropical Queensland (and as the name suggests, Norfolk Island) this tree is clearly quite at home in temperate Melbourne. It is a lovely largish tree and it did cross my mind to grow it (I’m going to have to replace a tree over winter) but the Australian Native Plants Society’s website also informed me that its seed capsules contain an irritant fibre, so perhaps some more research first.

This next one is planted in the lovely Children’s Garden within the Botanic Gardens. It is a Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris). Apart from having a very attractive form, it has many traditional uses and you can find out more about it here.

Last of all below (and to my own surprise) is the only photo of an exotic that I’ve chosen to include. Being a Botanic garden (particularly one established in Victorian times) there are plenty of exotic specimens in the garden, but it seems it was the locals that caught my eye on the day.  This is a Cockscomb Coral-tree (Erythrina crista-galli) from South America and I just love that bark. What texture!

There’s one more post from the visit to come, but there is so much going on in the Gippy Garden at the moment (plants…and pests…in full swing) that I might see what is news there before posting part three of this series.

Happy Gardening to you all,


Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens – Part I

Despite a fairly short visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne yesterday I managed to take an unreasoable amount of photos. It was a bit hard to resist because I love visiting these gardens and it was a perfect summery day. I just wish I had more time to wander!

The Botanical Gardens in Melbourne are not particularly old compared to other Botanic Gardens, as they were established in 1846. You can find out more about the history of the gardens here.

A view over the Ornamental Lake

Lots of turtles and eels live in the lake. do lots of Black Swans

The gardens, although modernised in parts and tweaked to be less resource consuming in maintenance still hold Victorian era charm. There is something about the gardens that really speaks to me of childhood books and imaginings and I think they would be a wonderful setting for an adventure.

I even love the signage at the gardens, I hope that they never replace these beautiful hand lettered signs with computer printed ones!

While the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens hark very much to England as many public spaces and buildings at the time it was established did, the Royal Cranbourne Botanic Gardens has recently been established as a sister garden that is a more contemporary garden and one that holds Australian rather than exotic treasures. It takes pride in place rather than a distant land and I hope to be back soon to see the progress of stage two of this still very new Botanic Garden.

Still, I  wonder if it is genetic longing, but I do still love the old eclectic Victorian collector’s appeal of the Melbourne garden.

The Gardens House. Ah, to live here with a view over the gardens!

The border by the Garden House.

The gardens sit by our distinctively mud coloured Yarra River and can be reached by a pleasant walk through Queen Victoria gardens and past Government House from Flinders Street Station.

You can pass The Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden on your way through Queen Victoria Gardens on the way to the botanical gardens. Yes, that's a lot of gardens.

I’ll be back to do a couple more posts on my visit in the coming days. I’ll be sharing some of the beautiful old specimen trees and the newest development of ‘Guilfoyle’s Volcano’.

But for now, it’s time to go and face my own less than mainicured garden!


I've been to the gardens several times and somehow never noticed this''roll'' of directors. Maybe it was even more overgrown on previous visits!