The Royal Botanic Garden is a major 30 hectare garden located in the heart of Sydney, Australia. Wrapped around Farm Cove at the edge of Sydney Harbour, the garden occupies one of Sydney’s most spectacular positions. The Botanic Garden was founded on this site by Governor Macquarie in 1816 as part of the Governor’s Domain. The garden is one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. It is open every day of the year and access is free. It is one of the most visited attractions in Sydney. I holidayed in Sydney twice in 2015 and visited the garden on both occasions, each time joining the free guided tour which departs the Palm Grove Centre daily at 10:30. Volunteer guides, with their wealth of information, give to the group many interesting details of the structure of the garden and the thousands of plantings. Whether local or visiting from overseas, there is always much to learn and appreciate.
The themed garden areas show the diverse beauty of nature. One special feature is Cadi Jam Ora – First Encounters which is a garden display that remembers and acknowledges the Cadigal people – the original inhabitants of Sydney’s city centre – and their relationship with this land prior to European settlement.
The Bennelong Precinct contains Government House, the Parade Ground, the Australian Native Rockery, Bennelong Lawn and the Queen Elizabeth II Gate.
The Palm Grove Centre features the Palm Grove itself, a Café, Garden Shop and the Botanic Gardens Restaurant. Birds were intent on sharing our lunch as we sat outside the Café.
The Sydney Fernery is constructed of convict-built stone walls and modern steel. Ferns are some of the oldest species of plants on the planet and the diversity of native and exotic ferns is highlighted in this display.
The Palace Gardens feature the Rainforest Walk, the Pioneer Garden, the Morshead Fountain Gate, The Palace Garden Gate, the Rose Garden and Pavilion, the Turf Plots, the Old Mill Garden, the Herb Garden and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Outstanding unusual flowers – Tacca chantrieri – this ornamental flowering plant is among the showiest of the Tacca chantrieri plant family (part of the yam family). There are many common names, the most popular being Black Bat Flower. Stanhopea is a genus of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) from Central and South America. It is noted for its complex and usually fragrant flowers that are generally spectacular and short-lived. Their pendant inflorescences are noted for flowering out of the bottom of the containers in which they grow, lending themselves to culture in baskets that have enough open space for the inflorescences to push through. They are sometimes called upside-down orchids.
This garden is a place where one is welcome to walk on the grass, smell the flowers, touch the trees and listen to the birds – a place to indulge a passion for plants and to be thankful for God’s wonderful creation.