August is the perfect time to take a wander through two star attractions of the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Stroll through the Conservation Garden to see Western Australia's most endangered flora and admire the blooming beautiful Banksia Garden.
Start at the entrance to the Conservation Garden near the Forrest Roundabout and follow the pathway that leads toward the Wildflower Pavilion. The meandering paved and sand pathways will lead you past threatened flora from the South West of Western Australia right to the northern tip of the Kimberley region, grouped according to habitat type. Read stories about these plants' struggle for survival along the way.
As you walk through these beautiful and rare plants, you will come to the Wildflower Pavilion. In a former life, the Wildflower Pavilion was home to the original Botanic Garden office which was built in a quintessentially 1960s design. To preserve its architectural legacy, it was transformed into an open pavilion and lifted into its current position in 2002. It was recently restored following major storm damage in 2014.
Continue though the pavilion to reach a display of flora which are all critically endangered. Some are close to extinction. Conserving them here will assist their survival.
On leaving the Conservation Garden, you will find yourself at the Banksia Garden.
Blooming beautiful banksias
Magical things happen in the Banksia Garden at this time of year. Not only do the banksias come into their own, producing vibrant bristly flowers, but if you look down, the floor of this garden bed also has its own impressive display.
As winter progresses towards spring, delicate bushland orchids such as Pink Fairy Orchids (Caladenia latifolia) and Spider Orchids (Caladenia arenicola) appear among the mulch, which provides the perfect environment for them to flourish. These orchids have naturally established themselves in these garden beds thanks to airborne seeds that have blown in from the surrounding Banksia woodlands of Kings Park.
There are an astonishing 94 taxa of Banksia on display here, varying from ground covers through to small trees. You may be interested to know the Banksia Garden bed requires the least amount of water of any bed in the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Within the Banksia Garden you will also come across the Scar Tree. This ancient Tuart has been registered with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, as it was traditionally 'scarred' by Nyoongar people in pre-colonial times to either mark significant places or obtain bark for shelter, tools and food.
Things to do and find
- Follow the signs in the garden beds of the Conservation Garden to learn more about threatened flora.
- Look at the mulch layer in the Banksia Garden. Can you see the orchids?
- How many of the 94 taxa of Banksia can you spot in the Banksia Garden? Which one do you like best?
- Take a moment to rest on the seats in the Banksia Garden and appreciate the view. These seats are made from milled Banksia from a tree that fell across a firebreak in Kings Park bushland. The Banksia Garden mosaics and seat are designed by Philippa O'Brien.
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