The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, Australia

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney

Royal Botanic Gardens

On Sydney Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the most haunted sites in Australia’s largest city.

Locals and tourists alike come here to take in the beauty of the vegetation and wildlife, but also to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city.

These places have always grown a variety of agricultural plants, but in 1816 the local authorities decided to create a botanical garden, which is laid out in a territory of almost 30 hectares. On this territory grows almost eight thousand plants.

Currently, the garden is surrounded by the business district, so it is a kind of oasis, where the Australians constantly come to relax, stroll through the shady alleys, bathe in the sun, do sports and yoga, have a picnic.

What makes it even more inviting is its stunning views of the ocean and the Sydney Opera House, one of the symbols of modern Australia.

Diverse Natural Areas

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney is divided into 14 zones based on the trees and shrubs native to each zone. In particular, there are such zones as: tropical garden, herb and succulent gardens, palm grove, fern greenhouse, rock garden with plants, rose garden, and others.

Each of the available zones is attractive and interesting in its own way, but we will dwell on just a few of them in more detail.

The front zone.

It has many sculptures, fountains, paved paths and sidewalks, there are gazebos located next to ponds – an ideal place for a simple, relaxing vacation. Even a cafe is provided.

This part of the park complex is decorated in Victorian style, helped by plants imported from European countries.

The Oriental Garden

It is relatively new. It is filled with both wild and cultivated plants, brought from Asian countries, the climate of which is in some ways similar to Australian: Bhutan, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea.

Decorated zone, of course, in oriental style, which allows you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Asia. Nearby is the Camellia Garden, also imported from Southeast Asia.

Succulent Garden

It is also a cactus garden. Here visitors can enjoy a variety of cacti of different shapes – in the form of a ball or cylinder, candelabra or candle and so on.

Apart from cacti, this part of the garden also houses molocha, agave and other such plants in harmony with the overall gravel-covered landscape.

Tropical Garden

It has created several greenhouses of different types – tunnel, pyramid-shaped, and others.

The tropical part is divided into several separate zones, each with special conditions for keeping certain tropical species. In addition to plants from the Australian rainforest, the garden presents species from tropical areas such as Central America, Africa, Indonesia and Thailand.

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In particular, visitors can admire the planet’s tallest flower, which is Amorphophallus titanum.

The Rose Garden

There are nearly two thousand rose bushes of various colors. Here you can admire the blossoming buds of cream, white, red and many combined colors.

Living Fossils Zone.

These include the rarest plants found on Earth, among which the Vollem pines stand out. For a long time they were thought to be completely extinct, but in the mid-nineties of last century during an expedition to the Blue Mountains pines were found in one of the remote, almost inaccessible gorges. In the world of botany, this discovery is still considered to be one of the largest of its kind today!

In Australia, they immediately decided to create a special nursery school for the reproduction of these pines – the largest, most important botanical parks in the world have already received the first specimens of these trees.

Bird and animal life

The Royal Botanic Gardens is home to many birds that fill the surrounding area with their singing. Among them: parrots, ibises, and waterfowl.

Birds are friendly and unintimidating, many of them can be freely fed by visitors. The animal world is represented by koalas, possums, gray-headed flying foxes. By the way, in nature, flying foxes are not so common, but in the garden they feel at ease and multiply well.

How to get to the botanical garden?

This veritable corner of paradise is located at Miss McQueary’s Road. Admission to the Royal Botanical Gardens is free. But you’ll have to pay for a guide, if you need one. If you don’t want to walk around the garden, you can use the special streetcars.

Gardens gates are open to visitors every day, starting at 7 am. Closure of the garden depends on the time of year and the length of daylight hours. For example, from November to February it closes at 20:00, in October and in March the garden gates are open until 18:30. In September and April, visitors can stay in the garden until 18:00, in August and May must leave the territory of the garden no later than 17:30, and in June and July – no later than 17:00.

Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney are a haven of relaxation and the epitome of a fledgling colony, a place to watch the seasons change and learn the history of the early settlers.

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The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Australia

– The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Sydney sights.

Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney

(The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.)

– History

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is one of the city’s three largest botanic gardens open to the public and I’d say it’s the most accessible because the Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, which I’ve written about here before, is in the Blue Mountains and can be reached either by car or by taking a tour. The other one is The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan which is 57 kilometers away from the center of Sydney (near Campbeltown station). The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is also the oldest botanical garden in Australia so it gets special attention in the tourist brochures.

The garden in Sydney was only the beginning of a string of botanical gardens in Australia: two years later botanical gardens were established on the island of Tasmania, in 1845 botanical gardens appeared in Melbourne, in 1854 in Adelaide and ten years later in Brisbane.

– One of the garden benches in the shade of a fig tree

Strange as it may seem, I visit this garden quite often, but I never had the desire to tell about it. There is too much to tell because the history of the garden begins in 1788, when the colony was founded, but I will try to be brief in this review post, and then I will offer you some routes for walks. The garden is good at different times of the year, so the walks will be published during this year.

In 1816, the small English colony founded in the southeast of far away Australia was approaching its thirtieth anniversary. Its population was only 15,500, of whom eight thousand were prisoners, and the number was increasing annually. But the number of free settlers was also increasing. A forward-looking fifth governor, Lachlan McVory understood that the residents of the young colony needed places to rest, walk, and play sports. So he decided to establish public Botanical Gardens on a large part of the land that the colony’s first governor, Arthur Phillip, had set aside as government-owned land on the shore of Sydney Cove (Farm Cove). From the first year of the colony’s founding in 1788, it was home to the Governor’s residence, the first mills, and the farm that gave the bay its name. The whole area was called Governor’s Demesne or simply Domain.

And so, various buildings like mills, bakeries, and salt evaporation grounds were removed from the gardens. The inhabitants of the colony were forbidden to graze cattle there. The boundaries of the gardens were established when Mrs. Macquarie’s road was completed, leading to her favorite bench carved into the sandstone rock on the bluff (Mrs. Macquarie Point), which you can read about in any guidebook. Above the bench you can see an inscription about the completion of this road on the third of July 1816.

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– Main Gate – Woolloomooloo Gate, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year and starting with a festive fireworks display to welcome 2016, the garden has been hosting events to mark the occasion. So during the annual Vivid Sydney festival, a small part of the garden was used. Everyone remembered the Cathedral of Light (Cathedral Of Light) – a 70-meter tunnel lit by tens of thousands of LED lights, and light installation Synthesis on one of the fig tree garden.

Vivid Sydney, Vivid Sydney, Vivid Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Australia

– Cathedral Of Light

Vivid Sydney, Vivid Sydney, Vivid Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Australia

History is made by people and so in this post I will talk about the garden’s first directors, because it is to these people that we owe not only that we admire this magnificent garden, but also that Sydney’s plantings are so beautiful and varied.

With the appointment in 1817 of Charles Fraser as the first director of the colony’s Botanical Gardens a long history of collecting and studying plants in Australia began. Charles Fraser sailed with his regiment to the colony in April 1816, and before his military service was a gardener. Governor McVory received most favourable comments from John Oxley, the colony’s chief surveyor. Fraser participated in Oxley’s expedition along the Lahlan River and in March 1817 was appointed botanist to the colony. From the beginning he worked closely with Allan Cunningham, a royal botanist who arrived from England almost simultaneously. This scientist was sent here by Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, who is considered a patron of Australia and initiated the study of its flora. Fraser initiated a catalog of the plants of his Botanical Gardens. Under him, many native and imported trees and shrubs were planted and zxotic fruits and flowers appeared.

– Maiden Pavilion is a signature stone pavilion erected in 1929 in memory of Joseph Maiden, director of the gardens.

– Main Pond and the statue of the Bronze Venus in the middle of the water. This is a replica of the famous marble Venus by the famous Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. It was installed here in 1879 before the opening of the international exhibition.

After Fraser the post of director of the gardens for a short time (1833-1835) was held by Richard Cunningham, and then, until the end of 1837, his older brother Allan. Richard, on his brother’s advice, traveled to the coastal area south of Sydney, Illawara, and to New Zealand. From there he brought back many plants for his gardens, and sent seeds to the royal gardens in London as well as to gardens in Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. In 1835, during one of his expeditions, Richard was attacked by natives and was beaten to death.

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– Herb Garden.

The next director of the gardens until 1848 was James Anderson . Anderson enriched the gardens’ collection with plants from the Blue Mountains, as well as specimens collected by the expeditions of botanist Nasmith Robertson and explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. Under him, fruit trees and grapes appeared in the gardens. Two more Chinese Cabbage Palm trees were brought from a distant Indian Ocean island and Bottle Trees from Queensland. But the gardens were still poorly organized, the plants were haphazardly arranged and only a few trees and shrubs were accompanied by explanatory labels.

– Middle Gate in Macquarie Wall – This wall once separated the governor’s house and farm from the rest of the property that became the garden. It is a symbol of the garden’s history.

– Lion Gate – At the eastern edge of the Macquarie Wall is a gate guarded by a pair of bronze lions that appeared here over 25 years ago. Behind them is the small garden keeper’s house now known as Lion Gate Lodge, built of sandstone in 1878.

With the arrival of the new director of the gardens, Charlse Moore, who held the post for almost half a century (from 1848 to 1896), the state of the garden changed dramatically. The young Scotsman, who had grown up and received a botanical education in Ireland, sailed for Sydney in 1847 and within a year was appointed director of the gardens. In his first year he imposed strict rules on visitors, forbidding the appearance of dirty, unkemptly dressed and unseemly persons in the gardens. Rules forbade smoking, and those who caused damage to plants were threatened with prosecution. Walkways were cleaned and new ones paved, and all plants were labeled with their Latin and common names.

Moore paid great attention to the general appearance of the gardens. He built a stone parapet along the harbor promenade and greatly enlarged the museum building with a lecture hall (Anderson and Brown Building). Arbors and light, graceful bridges appeared across streams, statues were erected on the lawns and along the alleys (they later changed their original location), ponds were arranged, and fountains were built. During his directorship, a magnificent palace for the International Exhibition of 1879 (Garden Palace) was built in the former upper Gardens, which unfortunately soon burned down.

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– Garden Palace / 17 September 1879 – 5:40am on 22 September 1882

The next director was Joseph Henry Maiden under whom the Sydney Botanic Gardens made itself known to the botanical world as a respected scientific organisation.

Subsequent directors continued to expand the scientific and public outreach activities of the Botanic Gardens. At the same time, they enlarged them with new plants and took care of their overall appearance. New pavilions were built. One of them, the Pyramid Glass House for Humid Tropic Dwellers, went up in the middle of the Middle Gardens in 1972.

– The Pyramid Glasshouse.

In 1954 the first visit of a British monarch to Australia took place. It was then that Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip planted trees near the Governor’s House. Five years later, the gardens were titled Royal Gardens.

– The Botlle Tree is one of the garden’s oldest trees, imported from Queensland and planted here in 1846.

Today there are over 4.5 thousand trees, the oldest of which were planted between 1820 and 1828. Due to the fact that in recent years their well-being strongly interfered with the flying foxes, in May 2010, the management of the garden approved a plan to move the colony of the latter in another place, which was done by imitating special sounds, provoked the self-migration of the creatures. As of the end of 2012, the colony of foxes had completely disappeared.

One of the main attractions of the garden is the Wollemi Pine (Wollemi Pine), about which I have told in detail. These, perhaps the oldest plants on Earth, were thought to be extinct until recently.

The garden is quite large and varied, divided into 14 thematic blocks, or functional zones, each of which presents plants from different climatic zones with many different varieties. These areas include the Palm Grove, Tropical Forest, Fern Greenhouse, Rose Garden, Sydney Tropical Center, Cactus Garden, Oriental Garden, South Wales Herbarium Building, Rainforest Collection, Rare Endangered Plants Collection, First Settlers Memorial Garden, Herb Garden, Rock Garden with native alpine plants, Government House – the mansion of the former Governor’s residence and some others.

– Sydney Opera House and part of the Sydney Botanic Gardens

Next we are treated to descriptions of several walks through the Sydney Botanic Gardens.

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