In Flower This WeekA weekly news-sheet prepared by a Gardens volunteer
Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to garden bed 'Sections'.
Following the cold snap two weeks ago one might expect there to be little in flower this week in the Gardens, but many of the winter-flowering plants are not at all affected by the cold. The attractive palm-like plants, Cordyline species [Section 210], on the left of the waterfall on Banks Walk, are endemic to Norfolk Island. How remarkable to think that a lush, delicate looking plant from such a mild island climate can look so good despite the severe frosts in the last few weeks.
Just past the Ellis Rowan Building is a cluster of Banksia spinulosa plants [Section 131]. There are several different sub-species of this plant and they are identified on the plant labels. Across the Main Path is a small wattle, Acacia alata. [Section 240], with pale yellow flowers and most interesting foliage. The modified stems, which function as leaves, are flattened and alternate left and right in a zig-zag pattern with a fine spine on the end of each wing.
Farther along the Main Path you will find a large collection of banksias and grevilleas, many of which are in flower. To the left, a gravel path curves round towards a seat placed under the spreading branches of a huge Eucalyptus elliptica [Section 30]. Nearby is an excellent specimen of Banksia Giant Candles[Section 30]. Beside it is Banksia ericifolia [Section 30] with bright amber-coloured flowers and very fine, short leaves.
Immediately across the Main Path is another group of nectar-producing plants which are an important source of food for birds and insects in winter. These are all different forms of the same species, Grevillea rosmarinifolia [Section 30]. Immediately to the left is a popular cultivar, Grevillea Canberra Gem [Section 30], which is a hybrid between G. rosmarinifolia and G. juniperina [Section 30]. The tall plant at the end of this Section is Banksia integrifolia [Section 30], and directly beneath it is a prostrate form of the same species of plant. Further along the Main Path is a huge clump of Grevillea Poorinda Peter [Section 25] which is just coming into flower. It has deeply lobed leaves and toothbrush-like red flowers.
If you take the next turn left onto the bitumen path, you will see several banksias with larger leaves than those seen already. On your left is Banksia robur [Section 7], which has huge flat leaves, and across the path is Banksia aemula [Section 6]. Its flowers are a soft green colour when young, but if you look closely at the old flowers the large seed capsules are covered with reddish velvety hairs. A little further along, on the left, is a large Eucalyptus benthamii [Section 7]. This tree is heavily in flower at the moment and its small white blossoms are very attractive to birds, especially the Honeyeaters.
As you head back to the start of your tour, you will pass the most photogenic trees in the Gardens several wonderful old specimens of Eucalyptus mannifera [Sections 5 and 10] with multiple trunks. These plants make a dramatic picture with their silvery bark contrasting against a backdrop of the dark green foliage of the nearby Rainforest Gully plants.
Enjoy your walk Denis Wilson
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'In Flower' Weeks