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News at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

December 2010

A grassy world of wonder

The stunning new grassy woodland garden was completed in a flurry of activity leading up to the Gardens’ 40 anniversary.

Staff from all sections of the Gardens and many Friends’ volunteers gave a hand to put over 2,000 plants into the ground within a little over a week.

The newly designed garden includes a rich diversity of native grass species set amongst huge rocks and a boardwalk winding through a mosaic of Australian plants.

“We are using this prominent location to show off the diversity and inspiring attributes of grassy woodland plants and to encourage the use of grassland plants in people’s gardens,” said David Taylor, Curator of Living Collections. “Grassy ecosystems are home to a diversity of beautiful plants like daisies, orchids, lilies, peas and of course grasses.”

The new display is a continuation of the Gardens’ commitment to threatened ecosystems and to nurturing endangered species.

It will also enhance the experience for visitors, keen gardeners and the many school groups that visit. The Friends of the Gardens funded the interpretation signage for the new display.

Astonishing dedication

Over 50 of a total of 145 volunteers have dedicated ten years or more to helping achieve the goals of the Gardens. Half of those have given service for more than fifteen years.

“It is extraordinary that we have so many long standing volunteers, said Judy West, Gardens’ Executive Director. “Our volunteers bring a broad range of skills and contributions to the organisation, and approach their tasks with remarkable passion, commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism.”

“We are grateful for each individual contribution, from those volunteers who have devoted one year to those who have given twenty.” Working in roles as diverse as volunteer guides, Friends Council members, newsletter producers, Growing Friends, In Flower This Week coordinator or seed bank, library or herbarium assistant – each plays an invaluable part in the work of the Gardens.

Growing excellence in research and conservation

The Gardens has taken up the leadership and coordination of Australian seed banking from the Kew Millennium Seed Bank Project which supported Australian partners for several years.

Lucy Sutherland is now in the role of national coordinator and administers the Secretariat for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership, hosted at the Gardens. 

“The Partnership’s vision is to use seed banks to ensure future access to Australia’s plant diversity under the present and changing climate,” Lucy said. “A key part is research into native plant reproduction and ecology to support conservation in the wild.”

The Partnership draws on the expertise of Australia’s leading botanic gardens, herbaria, state environment agencies and academic institutions, as well as non-government organisations.

“I am working with partners to develop a 10 year research program and secure resources for the program’s development and implementation. The national program will include the 1000 Species Project where partners will research and bank seed to secure 1000 significant plants which have not previously been researched or banked in Australia.”

The program will build a network of conservation banks, rather than one central depository.

October 2010

The Gardens celebrates 40 years

On 20 October the Gardens marked 40 years to the day since its official opening by Prime Minister John Gorton in 1970.

Special festivities, events and exhibitions created an atmosphere of continuous celebration throughout spring in the Gardens.

Staff past and present, Friends and visitors joined in for a commemorative cake cutting ceremony. There was twice the cause for celebration as the date also marked the 20th birthday of the Friends.

The 40 Years and Growing exhibition in the Visitor Centre highlighted the Gardens enormous achievements and its future visions and possibilities. An intimate crowd enjoyed a unique outdoor fine dining experience in a glasshouse style marquee in the Rock Garden at the Gardens’ first ever gala dinner. Special guest Chris Darwin, direct descendent of the evolutionist Charles Darwin provided some of the entertainment.

Celebrations culminated with the Open Day Garden Party featuring live music and entertainment, children’s activities, talks and walks, and behind the scene tours of the Australian National Herbarium, nursery, library, Crytogam Herbarium and glasshouses.

21 April 2010

Minister Garrett plants Centenary correa 'Canberra bells'

The Gardens host Environment Minister Peter Garrett today for the ceremonial planting of the correa ‘Canberra bells’, the official plant of

the Canberra centenary. 

Read the full story here

Win Steve Parish books!

The wonderful guys over at Steve Parish books have given us 15 finger puppet books, perfect for pre-schoolers.

We have 3 copies each of Harry's Hat, Pitpat Possum, The Gecko Gang, Hip Hop the Frog and Kit Kat Koala to give away!

To enter click here! Good luck!


Friends' Art in the Gardens

The Gardens' new exhibition features the work of the Friends of the Gardens botanical art group. 

The 80 works are a delightful array of native plants by experienced and emerging artists. 
The exhibition was opened by Gardens' Executive Director Judy West, Friends' patron Marlena Jeffrey and Senator Kate Lundy. 

Easter Bilby activity

The whole family will enjoy a special free children’s trail over the Easter weekend, available from the Visitor Centre.

Easter Bilby has lost his way home - can you help him? Collect a map from the Visitor Centre and follow the clues.
If you do, Easter Bilby may have something special for you.

Download your own map here

Footprint EnviroFest

The Gardens' first Footprint EnviroFest was a huge success yesterday.  Our first sustainability festival was a community event with something for visitors of all ages.  Children enjoyed botanical crafts, puzzles and a visit from the bilby, while the adults were treated to specialist talks, guided walks, and lots of ideas on how to reduce their environmental footprint.  All in the setting of our Gardens.   Further information and photos

Stunning photographs at Friends’ lecture

Thursday 11 March

Today’s Friends’ lecture was a wonderful example of the sort of talks here at the Gardens. 

Dr Roger Farrow’s presentation on Tibetan plants filled the theatrette with Friends of all ages.

Dr Farrow presented a stunning array of photographs of alpine flora, drawing gasps of pleasure, and occasionally bafflement and even dislike.

Most popular were the beauty of the gentians in many shades of blue, and the intriguing Pedicularis variegata.  Less popular was the densely hair covered Saussurea leucoma. 

Dr Farrow travelled from Chengdu in western Sichuan to Lhasa, Tibet, with members of the UK Alpine Garden Society, and photographed more than 600 species of flora.  

Friends’ talks take place every Thursday lunchtime at 12.30pm in the Theatrette.  Gold coin donation appreciated. 
For more information on the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens see here


Daramalan students enjoy tailor-made education visit

Monday 1 March

Year 12 students from Daramalan college enjoyed two hours in the Gardens this morning learning about 'Diversity, classification and adaptation'.

Kiren Lal, 16, enjoyed reinforcing her classroom learning.  'It was good to study live specimens rather than diagrams,' she said.

The students spent an hour in the Theatrette before touring the Gardens with Education Explainers and Friends of the Gardens, Pat and Warwick Wright.

Students from Daramalan college in the rainforest with Warwick Wright and in the Botanical Resource Centre with Pat Wright.


Student Botanical Interns Graduate

Tuesday 23 February

Ten students from around Australia graduated from the 2010 Student Volunteer Botanical Internship Program, after working with botanical researchers in Canberra for the previous seven weeks.

The Program is run annually by the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research – a joint venture between CSIRO Plant Industry and the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG).

More than 250 students have completed the Program since it started in 1993.

“Students take an active part in research projects and herbarium collection management, working closely with botanical researchers and conservation managers,” says Internship Coordinator, CSIRO’s Bronwyn Collins.

Watch the interns on WIN news here


Iconic Australian plants join the collection

2 February 2010

Why was there a hole in the Grasslands section this morning?

ACTEW corporation gifted the Gardens with a number of protected Xanthorrhoeas and we planted five this morning. Come and see them in the Grasslands garden.


In flower this week
Take a virtual tour with Barbar Daly

- read more about what is in flower this week >>


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