When was the last time you stopped to smell the flowers? Tuesday, 5 June is World Environment Day and there's no better time to appreciate and enjoy the Western Australian environment.

Chorizema varium, Bush flame pea. Photo: D. Blumer.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018 is also a special day in Kings Park, as it marks the 10-year anniversary of the official opening of the Conservation Garden, located in the heart of the Western Australian Botanic Garden. The garden is part of a global conservation initiative to reduce the numbers of critically endangered plant species, specifically rare WA species.

Grady Brand, senior curator Kings Park and Botanic Garden, has overseen management and growth of the Conservation Garden over the past 10 years.

'The garden provides a great opportunity for visitors who may never have the opportunity to see some of Western Australia's most endangered species growing in their natural habitats. All species must be conserved, whatever the cost, even if they’re on the brink of extinction', he says.

'The thing we want to avoid is the WA Botanic Garden being the only home for WA plants that have become extinct in the wild. Plants are far safer growing in their natural, functioning habitats. One of the aims with the Conservation Garden is to promote the need to safeguard the future of dozens of rare and endangered plant species and make sure they survive in their natural habitats. You never know if a plant might be the cure for a disease, or how many other plant or animal species might rely on a particular species. This is exactly why protecting WA's biodiversity is so important and why we don’t want to get to that point.'

Kings Park's Conservation Garden also inspired part of Perth Festival's 'Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak' event in 2017. Few would forget the haunting sight of dozens of suspended glowing specimen jars depicting plant species already lost. We all have a part to play in protecting WA's environment and today is a pretty great day to start.

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