“The glory of Adelaide, and the pride of her citizens, is our beautiful Botanic Garden, which under the magic wand of Dr. Richard Schomburgk, has grown into a thing of beauty which will be a joy forever.” – W.E. Harcus, 1876.
The ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDEN is a public garden in the heart of the city with the Main entrance being at the junction of North and East Terraces. If arriving in a vehicle, entry is from Hackney Road into Plane Tree Drive where there is metered parking. The Main entrance gates were made by Turner and Allen, London iron founders, shipped to Port Adelaide and erected in 1880. The original gates were wooden and were in place for the Garden’s opening to the public in 1857. The Garden attracts 1.5 million visitors each year, including 50,000 school children using the Garden’s resources as part of their curriculum. The early garden did not have the wide expanses of lawn that we see and enjoy today as water was restricted until a reticulated water supply was connected in 1860.
The PALM, OR TROPICAL HOUSE is a Victorian glasshouse located to the west of the main lake. It was imported from Bremen, Germany in 1875, opened in 1877, renovated 1955 and restored in 1995. Dr. R.M. Schomburgk, the highly regarded second Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden was almost solely responsible for its existence and the design of its interior. It is the finest remaining in Australia.
With water on tap, came the realisation of another dream for the garden, the installation of a large fountain as a feature on the main path. THE OWEN FOUNTAIN (named for its benefactor) was turned on in November 1861. Every botanical garden required a fountain!
MORETON BAY FIG TREES were planted in 1866 and now form a magnificent stately avenue.
The BICENTENNIAL CONSERVATORY was designed by South Australian Architect, Guy Maron, and built in celebration of Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary. It is the largest single span conservatory in the southern hemisphere and contains a lush display of lowland rainforest plants from northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the nearby Pacific Islands.
CASCADE glass sculpture by Sergio Redegalli is south of the Bicentennial Conservatory.
ROSE GARDEN – the overall structure includes a sunken garden, a circular garden and several pergolas. Over 5,000 roses are displayed.
WETLAND – In 2013, jointly funded by the South Australian and Australian Governments as part of the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, the urban-constructed wetland diverts storm water as it enters the Botanic Garden. The wetland combines natural and mechanical filtering before storing water and subsequently recovering it from an aquifer forty metres below ground. First Creek Wetland is an invaluable resource for the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Aquatic plants and three large ponds with reed-beds support a diverse range of native wildlife.
The AMAZON WATERLILY PAVILION was built in 2007 to house the Victoria Amazonica Waterlily. The centrepiece is the original pond from Victoria House. In the wild this unique flower grows in the backwaters of the Amazon. Flowers can grow up to 40 cm and its lily pads up to two metres in diameter. The leaf size is influenced by the depth of the water.
In the CACTUS AND SUCCULENT GARDEN the plants have been grouped to show how they could look in a home garden and include some familiar names like Echeveria, Agave and Sedums. In-line drippers have been laid throughout the garden and covered with a layer of pebble mulch.
NELUMBO POND – Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is an aquatic herb with submerged stems. The Nelumbo Pond can be found at the end of the path that leads from the Main Gate at North Terrace where there is a large lawn area perfect for a picnic with family and friends. The Nelumbo Pond springs to life in January with the beautiful sacred lotus blooming under the summer sun.
The Botanic Garden is a wonderfully calm oasis in the heart of a busy city and a coffee or lunch can be enjoyed in the company of many ducks and other bird life.
Watch for the next Post with a guest Photographer.