Delve a little deeper into the quirks of the Western Australian Botanic Garden in February and spot the odd plants out!
Magnificent Misfits - standouts from out of this state
The Western Australian Botanic Garden is dedicated to the cultivation of Western Australian flora. Although this was the original intention of the garden when it opened in 1965, in later years, a decision was made to also display flora from allied climates: South Africa, California and the Mediterranean.
This saw the addition of thematic garden beds which provided a botanical journey through regions with a Mediterranean type climate.
In the 1990s a new masterplan was unveiled which returned the gardens to their original focus on Western Australian flora. However in homage to the garden’s history, some displays of allied flora have been retained here, including some significant trees.
You can find these magnificent misfits dotted through garden beds near Tuart Lawn and Forrest Lawn. As you wander along you will be able to spot some stately specimens, including a Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) and Cork Oak (Quercus suber) both from the Mediterranean region, along with a Grecian Strawberry Tree (Arbutus andrachne) and a huge Olive tree (Olea europaea).
Follow the birdsong and you will discover both Coast and Common Coral Trees (Erythrina caffra and Erythrina Iysistemon) which hail from rugged South Africa. These trees mark the changing seasons with vibrant green foliage, bare winter branches and bold coral-coloured blooms in Spring. This area also houses a discreet display of South African plants, including a diversity of Aloes with their succulent foliage and strong architectural forms and colourful Cone bushes (Leucadendron) that are closely related to Australian Banksias.
This collection will be relocated beyond the WA Botanic Garden to another prominent location in Kings Park near the South African War Memorial in the future.
Things to do and find
- Take a moment to walk out onto the Mt Eliza lookout and enjoy the spectacular views of the Swan River and cityscape.
- Look up! The best way to admire the heady beauty of the stately trees is to peer skywards. Spot a bird within the branches.
- Pause in front of the Cork Oak to get a closer look at the rough knobbly texture of its bark which is, of course, used to make cork products.
- Enjoy a picnic: Tuart Lawn is a beautiful shady spot.
- Continue your journey: Stroll through Tuart Lawn and onto the Lotterywest Federation Walkway or take Law Walk which follows the Mt Eliza escarpment all the way to Crawley.
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