Australian National Botanic Gardens
A weekly news sheet prepared by a Gardens' volunteer.
Numbers in square brackets  refer to garden bed Sections. Plants in flower are in bold type.
13 February 2004
Come into the Grassy Woodlands [Section 175] in the centre roundabout of the car park to walk the loop around a patch of shiny bronze-brown Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra [Section 175], a few times; the vivid end-of-summer colours are a treat.
Eryngium rostratum - click for larger image
Beginning at the lower end, moving clockwise, encounter the crazy Blue Devil, Eryngium rostratum [Section 175], defending its flowers with a medieval fiercenessfrom whom?! Further along, nearing the top end on the right, the elegant, tall, light straw-coloured Spear Grass, Stipa sp. [Section 175], stand in company of the Grass Tree of this region, Xanthorrhoea australis [Section 175], offering a close-up of its spear-like flower spike beginning to set seed. Now intimately acquainted with this Grass Tree, you will recognize that the many species from other regions throughout these Gardens are all a little different from each other! Curving back downhill, on the left, the seed heads of Poa labillardieri [Section 175], spray out of the earth in firework fashion.
When you are ready to leave this awesome little piece of created Highland Country, exit at the top end, cross the road and veer left.
We are on our way to the Mallee Shrublands [Section 211] for an ergonomically pleasant walk along the upgraded path through it. Thats Pelargonium rodneyanum [Section 223] on your right above the wall; Australias most beautiful geranium, the loveliest magenta colour. And the very compact Grevillea lanigera [Section 223], succulent-like in appearance, its pale yellow/soft pink curvy flower clusters looking like they want to escape. As you come around the bend to your right there is a small shrub with spray like foliage and deep pink five petaled star-like flowers with white centres, Crowea Festival [Section 224].
It is a steep climb, past the boomgate turn left. Enjoy the vista on your left and the natural Bushland view ahead of you. As you are about to turn right, there is a small bush with complex branches near the sprinkler, Eremophila divaricata [Section 211], with stalkless soft mauve tubular flowers. Turn right and onto the new path.
Standing guard at the entrance is the first of several multi-trunked Mallee Gums, Eucalyptus nortonii [Section 211], full of promise, showing you at eye-level Eucalyptus flower buds, little caps tightly glued on, simply falling off when released when the flower is ready to be pollinated. Insects abound and are a fascinating distraction along this walk from the fist-size huddle of larvae here (DO NOT DISTURB) to a variety of ants, the weirdest stunningly beautiful flies youve never seen, butterflies and beetles. Another joyous feature here is the re-growth sprouting from the trunks of the drought stressed Gums.
About halfway along this path, on the right, is a chunky dense tree, Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata [Section 211], its small white flower brushes obviously a five star insect haven, all flat out pollinating and mating. Beyond the Mallee Fowl is Callistemon brachyandrus [Section 211], with its golden orange bottlebrushes. A few paces further along the path is Chrysocephalum apiculatum [Section 211], very fine almost fern-like foliage, stipped at the ends with very bright yellow dots. At the T-junction Senna artemisioides [Section 211] has begun to adorn its lovely rounded soft green shape with its yellow buttercup-like flowers.
Use whatever time and oomph you have left to explore some more of the well over 7,000 plants along some 200 km of paths throughout these Gardens!
(Perhaps refer to previous issues of In Flower This Week on our Website)