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Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!

  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!
  • Trees in Sydney Botanic Garden - oh if only!

We are lucky enough to be doing a home swap in Australia this Christmas and spent the last couple of days in Sydney Botanic Garden. It's in a wonderful location, bordered by water on two sides and overlooking the Opera House. So although temperatures reached 38F in the city yesterday and today (a 'heatwave' for this time of year), the gardens were constantly fanned by cooling sea breezes.

The gardens are 200 years old this year and are home to many wonderful specimen trees. Oh if only we had the climate, location, space and time to grow them like this at home!

Here are five:

A stately and vast Ficus obliqua or 'Strangler tree', often used as a 'shade tree' in public gardens. Did you know figs have what's called 'an obligate mutualism' with fig wasps? Only the fig wasp can pollinate figs and they can only reproduce in fig flowers, which are an inverted inflorescence within the berries.

A lovely, flowering Norfolk Island hibiscus which has evolved to be highly tolerant of salt spray. Though very 'hibiscussy', the tree is actually a Lagunaria patersonii.

Some decidedly elegant, pencil thin Palms - I am not sure which: Ceroxylon, Wax palm?

A gorgeous Banksia serrata. I know one or two people who try to grow Banksia in London, but they really need a drier, Mediterranean-type climate.

And, finally, I know not what. Saw quite a few of these striking, super-tall trees in the garden. Great if someone can advise.

Did you know almost all trees in Australia are evergreen? Very few are deciduous. The reason apparently, is that they evolved in isolation from other trees of the world and good growing conditions can occur at any time of year. So being evergreen, they are better able to spring into growth when conditions are most favourable, after heavy rainfalls for example.

Comments (4)

  1. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    Hi Jeremy,
    You are very lucky, along with Kirstenbosch, Sydney Botanic Gardens must be the holy grail for any gardener. The shear range of species native to Austrailia is astonishing, some of the northern rainforests are estimated at 70-80 million years old, along with the New Guinea and Bornean forests,some of the oldest on Earth. Plenty of time to diversify.
    Australasia in general has mainly evergreens, it has given us so many of ours we grow, but some like Callistemons still have proper winter buds, a clue of how cold it can get. In the south and Tasmania, the climate is very temperate, so there is a lot of species that get snow in the winter as well as frost, which can occur almost anywhere outside the subtropics and tropics.( Austrailia has both).
    Not long ago, as I explained in my piece on the Wollemi pine, say only a few million years, the climate was wetter and what we know now, termed as sclerophytes, were confined to the coast. Then the climate suddenly got dryer due to the proximity of Antarctica and many species didn't adapt in time but some how the 125ft wollemi got stranded in the Blue Mountain Gorges, even the Aborigines missed them. We have now come to their rescue otherwise with every big flood there would be fewer and fewer until ther were no more. A big thank you to Sydney Botanic Gardens, who were largely responsible for their rescue.
    Jeremy, you said the gardens are bordered with water on two sides, we can beat that in Wales. Here we are bordered with water on all sides, as well as above and beneath us HELP!! . Enjoy, I'm sure I don't need to say that

  2. Grower

    Winifred Field

    Jeremy, I can feel the warmth from here! How lovely. Enjoy and Happy Christmas.

  3. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    Thanks Rob and Winifred. Your last comment made me LOL Rob! Here the big problem is not enough water. As we've travelled up the country from New South Wales to Queensland, we've met many people whose houses are 'off grid' and have to 'harvest' their own water from roofs etc. When it comes to plants, gardeners hunt out properties with access to water that they can pump up ... from a creek or a well.

  4. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    Well, the moral is never mistake New South Wales for the old one, they are a bit differant, yet, I have a Grevillea williamsonii growing proud and tall in the front, always in flower, no matter what the weather and a large potted Lomatia myricoides which stays outside waiting for me to work out where to put it. Both of these are from New South Wales

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