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THE BOTANIC GARDEN A Newsletter for the Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand

Issue 36 – JULY 2013 Theme: Engaging Partnerships – Gardens succeeding with Business, Government, Community and Volunteer groups ISSN 1446-2044


Editorial Committee Mr Alan Matchett Team Leader/Curator, Dunedin, New Zealand, and BGANZ Vice-President (New Zealand) Mr Mark Fountain Deputy Director Collections and Research, Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens Mr Dale Arvidsson Curator, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and BGANZ Vice-President (Australia) Managing Editor: Eamonn Flanagan Graphic Designer: Siobhan Duffy Disclaimer: Please note the views expressed in articles are not necessarily the views of BGANZ Council. We aim to encourage a broad range of articles.

Feedback and comments on the newsletter and articles is welcomed. Please email to: Cover: Fascination of Plants Day Winner: aliens have landed. Photo: Andrea Evans.

The theme of the November 2013 issue of The Botanic Garden will be Celebrating Success - The influence and appeal of botanic gardens. The deadline for contributions will be 30 October 2013.Please contact the Secretariat if you are intending to submit an article.


CONTENTS President’s View


Anne Duncan, BGANZ President

BGANZ Membership news


Botanic in Brief


Profile BGANZ


phill Parsons, President, The Tasmania Arboretum

5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress / 6th Biennial Botanic Gardens Australia & New Zealand Congress, 20-25th October Dunedin, New Zealand


Member Grant applications – now open Registration Alan Matchett, Congress Convenor Program Highlights Suzanne Sharrock, BGCI Convenor

Reports from BGANZ Professional and Regional Groups


BGANZ Professional Development Working Group Paul Scannell BRON (BGANZ Records Officers Network) – Survey Results Tom Myers, Convenor BGANZ New Zealand David Sole BGANZ Queensland Dale Arvidsson BGANZ Victoria Annette Zealley

Join ArbNet and Collaborate with Arboreta Worldwide


Sue Paist, ArbNet Coordinator

What are botanic gardens for? Gillian Sharpe, BBC Scotland




CONTENTS continued Vandals take axe to Botanic Gardens


Jared Lynch, The Age

Exotic plants face a prickly reception on foreign soil


Tim Entwisle, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Partnership 18 Partnerships Work David Reid, Mark Fountain, Marcus Ragus / Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Partnerships – George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens Susan Wills, Director, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens Effective Volunteer Partnerships – A case study Glenn Maskell Regional Botanic Garden building upon social capital and developing social capacity Karen Hagan, Education Officer, Dubbo City Council Ian McAlister, Manager Horticultural Services, Dubbo City Council Australian garden commemorates leading landscape architect Kate O’Brien, Media Officer, RBG Cranbourne

Reports from Botanic Gardens


National Wattle Day September 1, 2013


Maria Hitchcock

Bushcares Major Day Out (BMDO)


Isabelle Connelly

Calendar of Conferences and Events




President’s View

BGANZ Membership news

Anne Duncan, BGANZ President

Eamonn Flanagan, Executive Officer

The theme of this newsletter is partnerships – a topic that seems particularly relevant here in chilly Canberra (despite all the political hot air that’s been hanging about in various subterranean buildings and odd whale shaped balloons). Federalism could be thought of as the ultimate partnership – in Australia’s case it gives us critical mass as a nation, which has many advantages but of course its not always easy to make it work, and its certainly not without challenges.

Please take advantage of the BGANZ scholarships to assist people to attend, which are advertised in the newsletter Partnerships, of all types and at all scales, I am pleased to say are pretty much standard practice for most gardens – perhaps because of the chronic need for resources, perhaps because they are primarily places for people and people with a real passion usually come prepared to put some “skin in the game” – whether its money or action.

BGANZ has also been thinking about partnerships over the last few months; the Council has been working with the Association of Friends of Australian Botanic Gardens on a document which will formally recognise and celebrate the common goals of Friends groups and BGANZ members; BGANZ Victoria has been continuing to develop a very useful partnership with Parks and Leisure Australia in order to bring both our members and theirs relevant and topical training opportunities; and BGANZ Council has been actively working on bringing you the BGANZ Congress in Dunedin, which is an event being held in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Please take advantage of the BGANZ scholarships to assist people to attend, which are advertised in the newsletter – it is a fantastic opportunity to experience some of the gardens of the world on your own doorstep! Looking forward to seeing you there.

Details and application form available at the website. BGANZ Membership – It’s time for renewal. We currently have over 85 members who have renewed. Please renew or join today.

Career Vacancies on BGANZ website Please note BGANZ welcomes all vacancies and will place adverts on the BGANZ website and in our member email updates. All adverts will incur a $100 fee.

New Website The new BGANZ website is now launched. All members can have their own individual user name and password. User names and passwords from the old site won’t work. If you find a page not working as you’d expect or resources are missing please contact and let us know as soon as possible.

But sometimes I think that partnerships are so much part of the fabric that we can fail to notice partners and celebrate joint achievements. And as Glenn Maskell notes in his article about his experience in the National Rhododendron Garden, when things get tough in a partnership, the secret is to remember and focus on what the common goal is and celebrate what has been achieved. The articles in this edition really highlight the wonderful richness that partnerships bring to gardens, as well as some of those human challenges.

BGANZ is once again offering grants to facilitate attendance by botanic gardens’ staff, particularly from regional or distant gardens, at the forthcoming Congress to be held in Dunedin, 20 – 25 October this year.

How to get access to the new website? Go to and find the login page. Once there you’ll be asked to enter your details and a confirmation email will be sent to you. I will manually enable your access and depending when I receive it this may take a day or two, at worst, so please be patient!

BGANZ Updates BGANZ President Anne Duncan presents a farewell gift to former BGANZ Executive Officer Brigitta Wimmer

If you’d like to receive all updates and the Botanic Garden directly, please ensure we have your correct email address.



Botanic in Brief Dunedin garden named one of best in world Garden lovers in Dunedin have always suspected the city’s Botanic Garden camellia collection is one of the best in the world. Now, it is official. The collection has received recognition as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence from the International Camellia Society, one of only 29 gardens worldwide so honoured. The award comes hot on the heels of recent confirmation the Botanic Garden has retained its status as a Garden of International Significance. The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been named the top park in Asia based on feedback by travellers on online travel site. The site announced the winners of its inaugural Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards on Tuesday. These were determined based on the quality and quantity of travellers’ reviews in each of the categories. Australian Garden Show Sydney, Celebrating gardens, flowers, sustainability & design Centennial Park 5 - 8 September 2013. Tickets are now on sale.  Vertical garden expert Patrick Blanc will be at the first ever Australian Garden Show Sydney.

Christchurch: Design for Botanic Gardens revealed The Christchurch City Council is close to letting a contract for the construction of a glass-sided entry pavilion for the Botanic Gardens. Tenders for the pavilion, designed by Auckland architectural firm Pattersons as part of a 2009 nationwide design competition, have closed and the council hopes to appoint a contractor in the next few weeks so work can begin by the end

of the year. The pavilion, estimated to cost $8 million, is being built to mark the 150th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens and will serve as a visitor centre for the more than one million people who visit each year Rare Titan to flower in Ubud’s Botanic Garden. The new BOTANIC GARDEN UBUD, Bali proudly announces its success in growing several species of Titans - in Indonesian,“bunga bangkai” – (bunga means flower, while bangkai means corpse or cadaver) - or in scientific terms Amorphophallus titanium. One Titan Arum - from Sumatra – recently developed it’s big bloom The Titan is considered as the biggest unbranched flower plant on the planet with flowers becoming as high as 2,70 m.

And finally Dunedin Botanic Garden: Alarm over ‘possum’ drinking game Staff at the Dunedin Botanic Garden are concerned about the growing popularity of a drinking game called “possum”, in which participants sit in trees and drink large amounts of alcohol. According to the website Urban Dictionary, “possum” is a “drinking game in which players have to sit in a tree, like possums, and consume a pack of 24 beers ... until they fall out of the tree from drunkenness”. Dunedin City Council gardens and cemeteries team leader Alan Matchett said staff first encountered people - believed to be mainly students - playing the game about four years ago. Since then, it had increased in popularity to the point where it was “not uncommon” for gardens staff or security guards to have to chase away people playing the game.

Fascination of Plants Day 18 May 2013 BGANZ was delighted with the response to its inaugural photography competition held to celebrate Fascination of Plants Day on 18th May. People submitted entries from all over Australia and New Zealand sharing with us their passion for plants.  “We had a wonderful response to our inaugural competition. It was a great way to join with all the organisations across Australian, New Zealand and the world, who were celebrating international Fascination of Plants Day, “ BGANZ President Anne Duncan said. “We had a wide range of entries, all creative and interesting. The accompanying stories were equally wide ranging, from plants that rekindled childhood memories and grand daughters’ favourite flower to plants that stirred imagination.” Andrea Evans from Bassendean, WA, is the inaugural winner. Her photograph of a passionfruit flower appears on the cover of this edition of the Botanic Garden. “Passionfruit fascinates me in so many ways, from both a photographer’s and a horticulturalist’s point of view. The colour combination of the fruit, the leaves and the flowers all together is stunning. But it’s the alien-like stigma that really fascinates me. They remind me of some sort of alien spaceship coming into land!” Ms Evans said. “There are many, many plants I’ve come across that fascinate me for different reasons, but the passionfruit has to be my favourite.” Honourable mentions went to Jenny Possingham with her photograph of a giant 140 year old Sequoiodendron giganteum, Neal Jenkinson’s photograph of tree dahlia flowers and Marina Schwartz’s photograph of her favourite orchid Catasetum integerrimum.



Fascination of Plants Day is an international event celebrating the importance of plants and their significance in today’s society. A selection of entries from BGANZ Fascination of Plants Day 2013 photo competition.

Amorphophallus titanum Photo Credit: Susan Bradley

Wollongong Botanic Gardens - Cactuses, I love cactuses (or is that cacti!)... Photo Credit: Debbie Hartley Wollongong Botanic Gardens

Coming into land Photo Credit: Irene Taylor

Captain Cook’s spinach Photo Credit: Dot Crane

Autumn special tree zelcova rbg melbourne Photo Credit: Neeraj Sharma

I am attracted to colourful plants and gardens and I love the colours her Photo Credit: Debbie Hartley



Profile BGANZ phill Parsons, President, The Tasmania Arboretum

Fairies in the Garden Photo Credit: Neal Jenkinson

BGANZ / BGCI Congress – October 20 – 25 October 2013

Each Botanic Garden we focus on a BGANZ Member through a series of Q and A’s. If you know someone we should profile please let us know. In this edition we meet BGANZ Council Member phill Parsons, President, The Tasmania Arboretum.

They certainly did in the 3 months I took travelling down through NSW and Victoria on the way to moving to Tasmania. On arrival, what a mix of vegetation I saw here, from the natural areas of a cool climate to the exotica in the heritage landscape.

phill, your first name has a lower case at the beginning. Can you explain to the reader why this is so?

I lived and worked in the countryside and came to horticulture as a means of making a living that wasn’t picking up rocks. Order may not seem part of me but I certainly enjoy gardens in their complexity from the plants through the life processes to managing the whole as a collection.

I adopted the lower case when I was teaching adults about plants and trying to give an example of how botanical names worked. Species phill, Genus Parsons…. It became permanent when I was told I couldn’t style my name so. phill, how did you first get involved in plant life and botanic gardens?

Dunedin Botanic Garden New Zealand Celebrating Success – the influence and appeal of botanic gardens A collaborative Congress to bring together expertise and experience from botanic gardens and partner organisations from both the BGANZ and BGCI networks. This will be a unique experience for all when this alignment of our own 6th Biennial Congress and BGCI’s 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress takes place in Dunedin. Watch out for the Congress announcements and website updates of information and details about the programming call for papers posters and symposia coming your way shortly.

phill Parsons President Tasmania Arboretum Photo credit: BGANZ

Did my exposure to plants begin when I trod on a bindiieye, or was it that I grew up in a Manly with gardens and natural places or was it the Hydragea’s my mother grew? My father grew vegetables as men did then, he took me walking through the bushland of North Head and Collins Flat or perhaps I’m just curious about things and plants became an interest.

What do you enjoy about your role as President? I am fortunate enough to be entrusted with the second generation of making a new Arboretum. I have the challenge of making it with almost no funds, a great team of local people in a community willing to give, a limestone geography with a river and a creek, terra rosa and heavy clay loam soils and also a little bit of remnant vegetation. What is the biggest challenge facing the Arboreta? Collections of woody plants with an unusual name, let alone the plant names, are somewhat esoteric without an understanding of what we do. Regardless of the collection we hold any institution with such a role has an important task of generating a feeling of relevance for their community. Whilst it would be good to convert them all to plants, I use any vehicle. If we are relevant as an attraction or as a park, as an educational resource or a concert venue, it matters not because the plants still impress on many people’s being as they do when you grow up living with them.


Perhaps seen as old hat when we started, our role was described as to impress when our trees matured decades from now. In a short time we find ourselves struggling with how we make a collection of long lived living things when the climate factors are in a state of flux.


BGANZ / BGCI Congress 20-25th October Dunedin, New Zealand

We have no idea if our one, two or three decade old plants will withstand a world even 2 degrees Celsius warmer. At the same time we are limited with the plants from warmer climates we can use, let alone whether this will have any relevance in terms of conservation of habitat complexes.

Image. bganz6.jpg 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress / 6th Biennial Botanic Gardens Australia & New Zealand Congress

Trying to get that message across and retain support in a community that is in the least confused about how the earth works as a system and is constrained by its belief systems is to say the least challenging. Can you tell us about someone you admire in sector and why? Our Founders The Late ‘Professor’ David Richmond with his shock of white hair loved nature whether it was in the sea of the mountains and Dr Stephen King who worked to build the poppy industry in Tasmania before joining with David to give something that they say could last for a very long time. From a young man David dreamed of a botanical garden in Devonport and as he retired he worked with Stephen to make a jointly held dream happen. I admire their persistence in working to achieve a goal, overcoming local obstacles that now seem like the acts of fools. Do you have a favourite plant or special area at The Tasmanian Arboretum? I have many favourite plants in our collection. Perhaps 3 examples will give some clues about what make a plant outstanding for me. Nothofagus glauca has exfoliating bark, a blue tinged sand paper textured leaf and it is deciduous, lots of character. Agathis ovata because it reminds me of the time we were lost in the scrubby uplands of New Caledonia. Quercus rubra because when I see them growing here I can picture them as mature. For a special place sitting in the Alpine Arbour looking out over the collections to our Founders’ Lake refreshes me about our purpose.

Member Grant applications – now open BGANZ is once again offering grants to facilitate attendance by botanic gardens’ staff, particularly from regional or distant gardens, at the forthcoming Congress to be held in Dunedin, 20 – 25 October this year. Go to website for more details and application form VALUE The following levels of grants will be made available (In Australian Dollars): NZ $300 ACT, Vic, NSW, QLD $400 TAS $600 WA, NT $700 ELIGIBILITY AND CONDITIONS All staff of botanic gardens are eligible to apply. However, in order for the 2013 Congress to be inclusive of public gardens across Australia and New Zealand, preference will be given to grants to support gardens that are members of BGANZ and have limited financial resources for attendance at the Congress. BGANZ is able to make grants totalling a maximum amount of A$7,000.



BGANZ / BGCI Congress 20-25th October Dunedin, New Zealand

5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress / 6th Biennial Botanic Gardens Australia & New Zealand Congress

Alan Matchett, Congress Convenor

Suzanne Sharrock, BGCI Convenor

Starting with a welcome reception on Sunday afternoon 20th October the Congress runs through to Friday 25th. There is an exciting 5 days planned for all delegates with a wide range of discussion topics for BGANZ members including symposia and workshops.

Plans are progressing well for the Dunedin Congress with a wide range of speakers and events now confirmed. Amongst the keynote speakers are recognised leaders from the botanic garden world, including Professor Stephen Blackmore, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (twin city to Dunedin) and Professor Peter Wyse Jackson, President of Missouri Botanic Garden.

Professional development: modules specifically supported and developed through the BGANZ network will be available to BGANZ members with workshops focussing on planning living collections and education in botanic gardens. Tours: Pre and Post Congress Tours are available by contact Nature Quest Tours Your host Mark Hanger an acclaimed nature tour operator. On Wednesday a full day tour in and around the Dunedin will include Aramoana Orokanui Ecoscantuary, The Yellow-eyed-Penguin Trust Nursery, Tairoa Head and Larnach Castle. Another option for those wanting to stay closer to the city will be tours of the Otago University and Otago Polytechnic Campus’s and for those wanting a more unique experience, but limited to 25 is an excursion to Nth Otago and the strath Taieri visiting a number of sites to experience the unique flora and landscapes of these regions. Registration: Early bird registration closes on August 20 and a reminder to those that have had their abstracts accepted for the congress you should confirm your registration by July 1st. Note that the registration fees structure is the same for both BGANZ and BGCI members. Arranging your visit to Dunedin: Please note that there may be difficulties experienced booking accommodation in Dunedin on Friday 19 and Saturday 20th due to a trans-Tasman rugby match the Bledisloe Cup. What a wonderful time to be here. Tickets to go to the match will be available shortly but whether you planned if you plan to attend or not plan your travel and accommodation well in advance. This collaborative Congress between BGANZ and BGCI will be a unique and special opportunity for BGANZ members to join and meet garden representatives from across the globe. To share thoughts and experiences is one of the most highly effective mechanisms for developing our knowledge - new ideas and proven experiences. Make the most of the opportunity don’t miss this remarkable occasion.

The wider conservation community is represented by Dr Kathy MacKinnon, Vice Chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas and Dr Donald Hobern, Director of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Other renowned speakers will address issues related to the indigenous use of plants in the Pacific region and the education and outreach opportunities provided by botanic gardens. There will be a number of special symposia held during the Congress, covering themes as diverse as the conservation of ‘exceptional’ species, feeding the community, strengthening the conservation value of tree collections, building the social role of botanic gardens and garden tourism. The mid-Congress tour will visit several sites around the northern rim of Dunedin including Aramoana salt marsh, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Leith Saddle Cloud Forest and take in the dramatic scenery of the Otago Peninsula with the Royal Albatross Colony, Larnach Castle and the Yelloweyed Penguins Trust Nursery. Delegates who register early are also being offered the opportunity to participate in a special botanical tour – taking in some of Otago’s less accessible and unique habitats. The aims of the Congress are to celebrate our successes, and to discuss new challenges. Botanic gardens are increasingly looking ‘beyond the garden walls’ and engaging with new audiences. They are responding to and creating horticultural change and are at the forefront of botanical science and innovation. During the Congress, we will have the opportunity to reflect on these issues and develop a new agenda for botanic gardens, addressing conservation and sustainability in a time of global change. Don’t miss this unparalleled opportunity to meet, discuss and network with botanic garden colleagues from around the world. Make sure you register before 20 August to benefit from the ‘early-bird’ rate. Find out more about the Congress by visiting the Congress website:



Reports from BGANZ Professional and Regional Groups BGANZ Professional Development Working Group Paul Scannell

BGANZ Professional Development Program 2013 “BGANZ PD workshop at Dunedin Congress October 2013. Details to be confirmed.” Professional Development Workshop (Details TBC) BGCI Education & Interpretation Professional Development module. PD events will be updated on the website, by e-mail and in the newsletter. We continue to work towards an accreditation system that may be internationally recognised. Support BGANZ opportunities and grow. Cranium South and Gluteus Maximus North, so to speak.

BRON (BGANZ Records Officers Network) John Arnott - RBG Cranbourne, Anne Duncan - BGANZ President,Tom Myers - Dunedin Botanic Garden, Ross Demuth - Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Glenn Maskell - National Rhododendron Gardens The Botanic Gardens Records Officers Network (BRON) has been working on a proposal to develop a basic living collections database to assist regional botanic gardens in documenting and managing their plant collections. To inform this project BRON recently undertook a survey of BGANZ members seeking information about how they currently manage their plant records and to determine the level of need/interest and support there would be to progress the project further.

The collections:

We had a fantastic response with 46 gardens/individuals returning a completed survey. A summary of the survey results is as follows.

It is worth noting that 20% of the responses came from major capital city Botanic Gardens who have invested heavily in their own systems. This means that regional gardens on the whole do not have recording systems that are working well.

Managing plant records: • 89% of survey recipients manage plant records • 38% are happy with their current recording system and it effectiveness

• 60% are labelling plants • 50% have access to a mapping program (not necessarily using in garden) • 25% know what is in their collection • 18% don’t know what is in their collection • 43% Guess how many plants are in their collection

What was said about BGANZ developing a database? • 65% interested in BGANZ developing a database

• 49% say their record system is somewhat/slightly effective

• 47% most likely to adopt a BGANZ database

• 43% are not satisfied or only slightly satisfied with their current records system

• 43% able to spend 1-5hrs per week on database

• 63% spend less than 5 hours on records

• 60% would be in a position to contribute $’s in support of the project

• 90% want standardised fields

• 49% want a standardised system • 30% would like web based functionality


Database Functionality ranked from 1–10: 1. User friendly 2. Comprehensive search functionality 3. Periodic review entire collections names 4. Nursery accession and tracking 5. Link to photographs 6. The ability to select /check plant names directly from web 7. Mapping (GIS) integration 8. Tree assessment tools 9. Herbarium integration 10. Seed bank integration

Summary: There was a good response to the survey that has indicated to BGANZ that there is a need for small to medium sized gardens to have some form of database developed that is particularly user friendly for on ground horticultural staff. The functionality will need to have flexibility but be able to a certain amount of scientific rigour automated to help staff with plant names and updates.


Most gardens would pay some money towards a system that will do basic functions. There are many systems out there but in the smaller gardens the effectiveness of the database systems are minimal with and a level of frustration added.

BGANZ New Zealand

The survey has gone a long way in determining the needs of a target end user group which is very pleasing. The survey showed that there is a lot of support for the project and indeed a significant number of gardens indicated that they would indeed adopt a stand alone database to manage their plant records if BGANZ were to progress the project and ‘produce’ a database to meet their needs.

Please check the BGANZ NZ webpage for more on the news items below.

The working group is now in a position to prepare a scope/ specification of database functionality and standard fields to meet the needs of the target user group/s. The next step in the process is to explore and evaluate database options including undertaking an assessment of existing records databases such as Bauble, BG Recorder and BRAHMS. In order to undertake this exercise we will be looking to engage individuals/gardens that have indicated an interest in adopting the database. To this end we may be back in contact with individuals/gardens to see if they are able to assist in this evaluation.

David Sole

Regional Committee Meetings held on May 27th at New Plymouth hosted by Pukekura Park and supported by the New Plymouth Regional Council. Partnership Development: RNZIH – National Plant Collections - Work is continuing on scoping the database. This has been contracted to Landcare Research. Sourcing and digitising of plant source material is continuing. BGANZNZ Region members have agreed to export their plant records information for inclusion in the project. NZRA - New Zealand Recreation Association – 3P’s (Plants People and Parks) Conference was held in Christchurch 25th28th February. Primarily a wider Parks orientated conference this was attended by some BGANZ members.

Other Activities BGANZ Internships: A second year of the BGANZ-NZ Internship programme has been reviewed Millennium Seed Bank: NZ Plant Conservation Network has invited BGANZ-NZ to participate in the MoU partnership agreement signed with the Millennium Seed Bank(MSB). Trade Qualifications Review: The TRoQ - Targeted Review of Qualifications is moving ahead at high speed.



BGANZ Victoria BGANZ Queensland

Annette Zealley

Dale Arvidsson

For more on all these BGANZ Vic news items please go to our BGANZ Vic webpage.

Please check the BGANZQ webpage for more on the news items below.

BGANZ VIC Program of Professional Development Events

BGANZQ Regional Botanic Gardens are actively engaging with Friends volunteers and training groups to establish new plantings, assist with maintenance and operations and event planning. Education & Interpretation features strongly and after a long wet summer horticulture /gardening teams are progressing renovations and tidying up after wind and water damage. BGANZ Chair Kate Heffernan will visit most Qld Regional Botanic Gardens in June. Several Qld regional BG’s celebrate special anniversaries this year, including Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens 10th Anniversary of the first planting at the Gardens and The Mackay Regional Botanic Garden celebrated its 10th birthday on May 24. (See more in Garden Reports)

We are working with a number of hosts to finalise our program of events for the 2013-14 year. We will also be providing members with information on other professional development events of interest through our Victorian news updates.

Burnley Contemporary Landscapes Symposia In 2013 the University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus is celebrating the 150th year of its historic gardens

BGANZ PLA Partnership The Executive Committee of BGANZ VIC has been developing a partnership with Parks and Leisure Australia’s Victoria (PLA). Parks and Leisure Australia is a not-for-profit peak body representing a diverse industry of planners, designers, educators, event managers, parks, multi purpose facilities, community hubs, and horticulturalists.



Join ArbNet and Collaborate with Arboreta Worldwide Sue Paist, ArbNet Coordinator

Introducing ArbNet (, the first online international community of arboreta. ArbNet provides a platform for arboreta and gardens from around the globe to communicate and collaborate, with the shared goals: to foster the professionalism of arboreta worldwide and to enhance contribution to the science and conservation of trees.

Become Accredited ArbNet offers an accreditation program through which participants can demonstrate their organization’s level of achievement. Any public garden, university, zoo, or other location with a publicly accessible tree collection of more than 25 species can become accredited at one of four levels of accreditation. To be accredited, arboreta must meet professional standards in areas such as collections management, education, and organizational management, and be willing to share information to foster professional development of their organization and fellow arboreta. ArbNet accreditation can benefit your arboretum in many ways. Get accredited, and join other arboreta around the world to: • Identify other arboreta as strategic partners for scientific, collections, or conservation collaborations • Enjoy unlimited access to news, advice on best practices, and other resources from arboreta worldwide • Share events and news for greater exposure among the international arboreta community • Collaborate and learn from others’ diverse experiences and innovations

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. It was established in 1932 as a university-administered arboretum and public garden for research, education and horticultural display.  Their collection of scientifically documented plants began in the late 1800’s. More than 12,000 labelled plants of over 2,500 types from the temperate areas of North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe make its living collection.  Significant plant collections include conifers, hollies, magnolia, oaks, maples, roses, flowering cherries, and witchhazels. Photo credit: The Morris Arboretum, The University of Pennsylvania

The Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio was founded by Beman and Bertie Dawes in 1929 as a private, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the love and knowledge of trees, history and the natural world and is accredited at Level IV. Towards this end, the arboretum strives to be recognized as a leader in plant conservation and historic preservation through a demonstrated commitment to collections, research and education.   Photo credit: Dawes Arboretum, Newark


• Provide leadership and encourage development of other arboreta



Contact Us


For more information, please contact ArbNet Coordinator Sue Paist at (630) 310-7013 or email

• Advance the planting, study, and conservation of trees

How to Apply We encourage gardens and other venues with a tree collection to apply. The accreditation process is simple, based on selfassessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement. Most arboreta are accredited in 2-4 weeks. The accreditation application can be found here: arboretum-accreditation.html.

About ArbNet Established in 2011 at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill., ArbNet currently has 50 accredited arboreta. To be accredited at Level I, arboreta must have a labelled tree and woody plant collection, a collections and organizational management policy, be open to the public to some degree, and have at least one public education event per year, such as an Arbor Day celebration. Arboreta accredited at the highest level engage in original scientific research, collaborate and share their data with other organizations, and have a developed public education program. Many smaller or newly established arboreta have used ArbNet to improve their practices and achieve higher accreditation levels.

ArbNet Partners ArbNet is currently partnering with BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International) and APGA (American Public Gardens Association) to encourage collections database sharing. Other partnerships are being developed with The American Chestnut Foundation to develop educational materials and

F. R. Newman Arboretum in Ithaca, New York as part of Cornell University is accredited at Level III and was one of the first to become accredited through the Arbnet Accreditation program in 2011. The arboretum’s collections-including nut trees, oaks, maples, shrubs, and urban trees - comprise a 150 - acre pastoral setting.  Specialty gardens in the arboretum include the Zucker Shrub Collection and the Treman Woodland Walk. Photo credit: F. R. Newman Arboretum, Ithaca, New York

distribute blight-resistant seedlings to arboreta interested in highlighting the intriguing story of the American chestnut.

ArbNet Forum on A forum is currently under development and will provide arboreta with opportunities to discuss topics related to operations, science and outreach. The website will also house a collection of white papers, authored by member arboreta, discussing best practices and lessons learned.

Our Goal ArbNet is actively working to increase accreditation among arboreta around the world. The more connected we become, the more we can raise awareness and contribute to the conservation and planting of trees.

The Acer Glade photo is from Westonbirt,The National Arboretum in the UK. Its combination of maturity, species diversity and landscape style make it one of the most extraordinary arboretums in the world with an iconic status and tree and landscape heritage. The tree collection itself contains around 16,000 catalogued trees and shrubs from 3000 plant taxa. There are also 5 National Plant Collections including Japanese maples for which the arboretum is so well known. Photo credit: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, UK

The next photo is from The Morris Arboretum of The University of Pennsylvania. It was established in 1932 as a university-administered arboretum and public garden for research, education and horticultural display.    Their collection of scientifically documented plants began in the late 1800’s. More than 12,000 labelled plants of over 2,500 types from the temperate areas of North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe make its living collection.   Significant plant collections include conifers, hollies, magnolia, oaks, maples, roses, flowering cherries, and witchhazels.



What are botanic gardens for? Gillian Sharpe, BBC Scotland Their advocates say they are a store of knowledge, which could help tackle many global problems and offer a chance to live in a timeframe not bound by instant messaging, but across the world many botanical gardens have to face challenges, often related to funding.

Drawing of a tree transplanting machine used when the Garden moved from Leith Walk to Inverleith Photo Credit Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The way ahead for one of them, St Andrews Botanic Garden, remains uncertain in the face of an upcoming cut in its funding. The 16th century roots of botanic gardens lie in medicine but their more modern roles encompass research, education and conservation. So what are botanical gardens actually for? Some welcome spring sunshine makes a chequer-board pattern through the trees at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Beneath them, compost is being sieved into a wheelbarrow prior to planting and all around there are signs of activity and long waited for growth. “Here we are only a mile from the centre of Edinburgh and yet this institution, because of its three and a half centuries of history, is cultivating one in 14 of the plants on this planet,” says Alan Bennell, head of interpretation at the garden. Experts from the garden are active in more than 40 countries across the world. Botanic gardens have their roots on the continent and were intimately connected with the study of medicine.

Edinburgh’s botanic gardens cultivates one in 14 of all the plants on the planet Photo Credit Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Mr Bennell continues: “If I take us right back to the mid-1500s a number of early botanic gardens were founded on the continent and they were physic gardens. “The very first is recognised in Padua, (in Italy.) It’s still there.” Two Edinburgh doctors were doing their version of the European tour and when they saw this work going on they became determined to improve the practice of medicine at home. Mr Bennell says they were inspired by what they had seen on the continent: “Namely, if you’re treating people with potions derived from plants you need to consistently know what plant it’s coming from, how do I recognise it, what are its close relatives.”

The Edinburgh garden has been on different sites in the city. Its varied scientific and research work is supported by public money and funding also comes from other sources including grants. In many ways the history of the great botanical gardens mirrored the wider history of the society around them. In Edinburgh’s case it continued to develop, reflecting the fact that Scots entrepreneurs, pioneers, medics and missionaries were out in the world collecting and sending back new plant material. There is a whole network of botanical gardens across the world and a number here in Scotland, including in St Andrews, Dundee and Aberdeen.



of plant science. Things like food security, climate change, dealing with invasive species.”

Botanic gardens are defined as being different from parks in having documented collections of living plants and a purpose which includes an element of scientific research, conservation and/or education. But their purposes can be very varied.

The Cruikshank has the remits of research, learning and engagement

“Some will have a particular focus on education and public outreach,” explains Suzanne Sharrock, director of global programmes at Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organisation which links gardens around the world.

In Aberdeen, the university has the 11-acre Cruickshank Botanic Garden right on campus.

“Others are much more focused on conservation issues, they have seed banks and gene banks and they’re conserving threatened species.

Looking out over the city from Inverleith gardens in Edinburgh Photo Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

“There’s an increasing focus on conservation of native diversity and that’s particularly the case in some of the newer gardens that are being established in developing countries.

A couple coming out of the glasshouses say they come to look at the plants, meanwhile, a woman sitting on a bench warming her face tells me she is an almost daily visitor.

“Some gardens are involved in monitoring plant collections for climate change, things like control of invasive species, perhaps development of new plants for commerce, that’s still an activity in some gardens.”

“They call this the old folk’s row,” she laughs pointing to the seat, “because all the sun comes to this bit, so everybody sits here in the good weather and they get lovely tans.”

It is a day of sunshine and showers in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, in the west end of the city, and as a watery version of that sunshine appears, both gardeners and the public begin to emerge from the glasshouses. The gardens were set up in the 19th century by a distinguished Glasgow botanist, with the support of, among others, the university. They are now run by the council. But why do people come here? “I’ve got two young children,” says one woman, pushing a buggy along a path between the flower beds, “so it’s an ideal spot to let them run around.”

Whatever draws people now, many botanic gardens began being very closely associated with universities. Yet the world has been changing around them. Across Europe, the teaching of botany as a distinct subject has been in decline in many universities and amid tight budgets some gardens have been forced to prove they still matter. “They have to adapt,” says Ms Sharrock.

Various university departments use it and its curator, Mark Paterson views part of his role as being to raise its profile further, both in and outside the university. “It has, as far as I’m concerned three major remits, that of research, that of learning and public engagement. He wants the public to see more of what goes on behind the scenes.

“Think of how many things we use plants for,” concludes Alan Bennell. “You fed on them this morning; you’re probably wearing cloth made of them, the pharmaceutical industry, the forestry industry, the fabric industry. Mr Paterson says: “I’m promoting more and more of that in the garden for people to see, the vital academic and research work of plant science - let’s show some of it off front-of-house as well.”

“The important thing is they have to show their relevance in today’s society.

He explains his love of gardens in this way: “I do not live daily in the timeframe of our modern communications of instant messaging.

“It’s a slight contradiction in that so many of the problems or the issues that society is facing are related back to an understanding

“I’m thinking of seasons, I’m thinking of decades, I’m thinking of centuries, depending on the plants that one is trying to grow.”


Further south, and St Andrews Botanic Garden has been in existence since 1889, but its future is now uncertain. The university says it is no longer used for research and Fife council which has been leasing the site says it will need to half its funding over the next two years. “When you think about it, there can’t be many towns the size of St Andrews that has a botanic gardens,” local councillor Brian Thomson told Radio Scotland.


Vandals take axe to Botanic Gardens Jared Lynch,The Age This article first appeared in the AGE 5 June 2013. Read more: vandals-take-axe-to-botanic-gardens-20130605-2nq2j. html#ixzz2WiFquFJR

He explained that the council is looking to make savings across a range of services but that he hoped it could still be a partner or assist in some way toward setting up a trust which could access “a lot of external funding” and come up with some ideas to “rejuvenate the garden”.

Vandals, wielding a machete or an axe, have “cruelly destroyed” a decades-old section of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Back in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and several visitors are standing by a small stream as it hurries its way across stones and through rich planting. They seem to be just enjoying the sights and sounds.

Staff were devastated when they arrived at work on Wednesday to find almost all of the plants in the Arid Garden had been ravaged. Some of specimens of cacti and succulents that were destroyed are rarely found in the wild, the gardens’ chief executive Tim Entwisle.

Throughout the years, plants have been brought here from all over the world and now, in the form of its outreach work, knowledge flows the other way. “Think of how many things we use plants for,” concludes Alan Bennell. “You fed on them this morning; you’re probably wearing cloth made of them, the pharmaceutical industry, the forestry industry, the fabric industry. “The medical industry still needs plant knowledge more than ever and yet out there in our planet there is this other great threat. “Mankind is steadily eroding the very diversity base that is the future basis for future generations to have all of this. “It’s all very well wittering about conservation, if you don’t know what it is you’re trying to conserve, you don’t have that basis understanding of what’s out there.”

It is believed the attack on the attraction, which contained plants up to 30 years old, happened sometime on Tuesday night.

He said he believed it was a planned attack, involving a machete or an axe.

Vandals, wielding a machete or an axe, have “cruelly destroyed” a decades-old section of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens Photo credit RBG Melbourne

“It’s very hard to tell why they did it,” Dr Entwisle said. “I can’t understand why someone would do this to the garden. It’s the kind of thing I have never seen in a botanical garden before. Dr Entwisle said the destruction broke a respect and trust developed over centuries between the general community and public gardens. He said he believed it was a planned attack, involving a machete or an axe.


“It’s very hard to tell why they did it,” Dr Entwisle said. “I can’t understand why someone would do this to the garden. It’s the kind of thing I have never seen in a botanical garden before. “Occasionally you get small bits of damage or plants or a flower is taken, but not wilful vandalism to this extent.” There is no CCTV footage of the attack. Police are investigating. Dr Entwisle said the vandalism had distressed the garden’s curators, who he said knew the plants individually. “The plants are like children,” he said. About 80 per cent of the cacti and succulents, the majority of which are from South America and Africa, were destroyed. Dr Entwisle said: “the one silver lining here is for most of these we will be able to get something grown back from a cutting or the bits that they have broken off. “But you have really lost a whole landscape and you have lost plants that have decades of growth, so you have gone back to scratch.” The Arid Garden is located on the eastern side of the gardens near Guilfoyle’s Volcano. It was developed in the late 1980s from the gardens’ existing cacti and succulent plants, which were found to be in poor health, rotting and falling over. A restoration program began in the following years. It latest addition, according to the gardens’ website, was a cistus rockery using succulent species and crushed stone from Yarra Valley Quarries, in 2001-02. The Arid Garden is now closed to the public while the damage is assessed. Dr Entwisle said. Read more:


Exotic plants face a prickly reception on foreign soil Tim Entwisle, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Read more: comment/exotic-plants-face-a-pricklyreception-on-foreign-soil-201306062nt07.html#ixzz2Wu5tg9Z9

It seems harder for plants to be from elsewhere. They grow either in their home habitat, mollycoddled in an adopted garden or invade another plant’s home to become what we call naturalised. Kundera was writing about how difficult it can be, for some, to accept a writer from no particular place. Can we accept a plant under the same conditions?

We don’t know who savaged the cacti collection at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens on Tuesday night, or why, but one motive postulated is a hatred for exotic plants (there are no cacti native to Australia). This is a now fairly typical week where Australians yet again had to examine their attitude to indigenous Australians and overseas asylum seekers. At the core of all these issues is a fundamental question about who can call Australia home and how we deal with that.

Vandals, wielding a machete or an axe, have “cruelly destroyed” a decades‑old section of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens Photo credit RBG Melbourne

In one of his Encounter essays, Milan Kundera quotes Vera Linhartova; a Czech author who like himself moved to Paris and from there wrote in French, as saying “the writer is not a prisoner of any one language”. A great liberating sentence, says Kundera, and only the brevity of life keeps a writer from drawing all the conclusions from this invitation to freedom. Lovely lines and part of a plea for writers in exile to be considered neither of their home or adopted country, but what he calls elsewhere.

Living in Britain for two years, I came to realise that all plants there were from elsewhere. Some are more native than others but the immigrants have blended with the indigenous now and it doesn’t make much sense to talk about natural and man-made landscapes.

Back in Australia, place of origin is of utmost importance, whether relating to indigenous people, boat people or sports people. To Australians, it seems, it still matters. That’s not a bad thing when it comes to nature. We still have places we call wilderness and we still have vegetation that contains pretty much the same species as when Arthur Phillip arrived with the first European settlers in 1788. Outside our more or less natural lands, in places where human impacts are stronger, the distinction becomes blurrier. It seems odd to build roads and paths,



Partnership close‑packed homes, parking lots – indeed “pave paradise” – but then worry about whether a tree in our garden is from home or away. I’ve bleated on about this in the past, but if a plant stays put (it doesn’t spread into nearby bushland), doesn’t need excessive water or nasty chemicals to survive, and is not harmful (and perhaps even attractive) to local wildlife (in the broadest sense) . . . plant it. The pepper tree is a good example. There are some wonderful old specimens of Schinus molle in my neighbourhood. They conjure up vivid memories of my childhood in country Victoria, where they were the tree of choice around late19th century farmhouses, usually outliving the home itself. The home of the pepper tree is South America, in the deserts and dry lands of Chile, Argentina and Peru. It has had assisted passage to much of the southern hemisphere and in places it is a troublesome weed. In South Africa, for example, it is naturalised and causing widespread environmental damage. In Australia the story is less clear. In some places it invades and displaces. In others it just persists, a reminder of past dreams and achievements in rural Australia, or here in the suburbs of Melbourne evidence of earlier planting fashions. In my mind, it comes from elsewhere, in time and place. There are lots of other plants in the elsewhere category. Whether you choose to accept them or not will depend on personal whim and circumstance. I’d nominate oaks, elms, cedars, the jacaranda, a few scrappy weeds in our paths and more controversially, perhaps, red flowering gum from WA and Moreton Bay fig from subtropical and tropical eastern Australia. I’d also include cacti. I suspect the rampage in the botanic gardens was a random act of vandalism, but should there be any link to the origin and worthiness of these plants, I would be bitterly disappointed. No plant should be the prisoner of a country or state. Tim Entwisle is director of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Read more:

Partnerships Work David Reid, Mark Fountain, Marcus Ragus / Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) is involved in many different partnership projects. When you are faced with tight budgetary constraints and limited resources partnerships are a smart way to achieve results. The Gardens works in a number of partnerships ranging from playing a role in instigating state and National Food Security partnership projects like Feeding the Future to very localised projects like the Tasmanian Community Food Garden (a coalition of RTBG staff and community organisational members who are working to develop creative community engagement within the RTBG’s innovative new Food Garden). Two other particularly interesting partnership projects are outlined in the brief case studies below:

Case study 1. A combined effort to restore a riparian remnant Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, the Friends of the Gardens, the City of Hobart’s Bushcare Program and the Southern Coastcare Association of Tasmania joined forces to restore a section of the Derwent foreshore between the Tasman Bridge and the City of Hobart. The work is being funded through a Caring for our Country Community Action grant auspiced by the Friends of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and includes significant weed removal works targeting woody weeds and Blackberry, followed by plantings of local provenance riparian flora. As much of Hobart’s foreshore has been developed, this site is significant as one of the few remaining areas of remnant, native vegetation. Further, the Queens Domain Master Plan 2012-2032 has identified this site as ‘a key landmark within the City which

The site with volunteers at work Photo credit: Royal Tasmanian Botanic Garden


improves the arrival sequence to the State’s capital city’; and ‘an area that enhances the access and amenity of the foreshore and highway edges.’ The long-term intention of the project is to engage volunteers from the community to play a custodial role in helping to restore the natural values of this area through on-going bush regeneration activities. This will build upon the work already undertaken by the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens at Pavilion Point and the Cornelian Bay Bushcare Group at Cornelian Bay to the north of the site. The practice of pooling resources to get the job done has been remarkably effective, for example, the laborious task of hauling large amounts of woody weed material up steep slopes to collection points was carried out by both the RTBG Estate team and Hobart City Council Bushland crew, working together on designated days. A Community Planting day held in early June would not have been possible without the sharing of valuable resources of all the project partners. Tasks ranging from promoting the event, applying for relevant permits and organising VIP attendance to supplying refreshments for volunteers, could only have happened as the result of a collective effort. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens has a strong connection to the River and the foreshore, and it is very rewarding to be working with our partners and other members of the community to help rehabilitate this highly visible section of the Rivers edge


Partnerships – George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens Susan Wills, Director, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens The theme of partnerships is close to my heart as I think that purposeful connections are vital to solving some of the challenges and ‘wicked problems’ that beset us. However while many partnerships ideas can be proposed and spark with potential, it is a whole other level when they prove viable and ‘bear fruit’. Here are some of our harvests.

Remember Me Kindly This ‘full circle’ story began under the Gardens first Curator, Dr Maurice Holtze, as a pioneer of experimental food crops for the early settler community of Darwin and is still playing out with our current Snake Bean community food garden which aims to re‑invigorate the energy for local food production for a whole new generation of people in our community.

Case study 2. A partnership creates a unique learning opportunity This partnership between the RTBG’s Learning and community unit our training organisation partners Globalnet Academy and the National Trust, Tasmania provides unique vocational training opportunities in other areas of the state. Based in two of Northern Tasmania’s significant heritage estates Clarendon House and Franklin House the 30 week, Certificate Two program promises to provide an incredible learning opportunity for students wishing to study horticulture and practically apply their skills throughout the year of the course duration. There are further opportunities for training on the rural and remote west coast of Tasmania in the historical estate Pyengana in Strahan. These are only a snapshot of some of the RTBG collective partnerships that are promising to increase the organisations sustainability and relevance into the future.

Children under parasols in among the veggies Photo credit: George Brown Darwin Botanic Garden

As pressures continue to increase on food and water resources, passion for localised community gardens and sustainable living practices grows. So emerged the Gardens’ Snake Bean (community food) Garden with its focus on building community resilience and local food production through the principles of permaculture. This then recalled the


founding work of resilient Northern Territory pioneers Maurice Holtze and his son Nicholas (who succeeded him) who, in the 1800s, needed to be resource efficient and self‑sufficient to counter remoteness, to feed the growing settlement, and to provide viable economic opportunities. Interestingly, the Moringa plant was first introduced in 1891 and was also last month’s plant for choice for the Snake Bean cooking workshop as it is high in protein and you can eat every part of it from stem to bark to leaves.

As pressures continue to increase on food and water resources, passion for localised community gardens and sustainable living practices grows. So emerged the Gardens’ Snake Bean (community food) Garden with its focus on building community resilience and local food production through the principles of permaculture. This broad story captivated the attention of a (then) volunteer at the Herbarium, Deborah Bisa, who spent two years researching and writing a full manuscript titled Remember Me Kindly (soon to be published by the NT Historical Society) which she hopes will ‘augment the current history of the Holtze family in the Territory’ as well as capture some of the ‘rich history of the Gardens’ connections with the pioneering endeavours of the Holtze family, and in particular the exceptional historical, cultural and societal values inherent in current projects at the Gardens to promote these connections.’ This book (featuring many archived photographs from the Gardens collection) will greatly inform future education and interpretative projects at the Gardens including where heritage‑listed sites are soon to enjoy re-development (including


remnants of the porcelanite steps that extended from the Holtze residence to the Gardens, the nursery and stockyards previously located on the flats below, and the retaining wall where you’ll find today’s Plant Display House. Deb’s research built and reinvigorated many relationships including with the NT Historical Society, Heritage Branch and descendants of the Holtze family from far flung corners of the country. Content from Debs’ research will soon be made accessible to visitors to the Gardens through digital QR Code Technology as part of an upgrade to Gardens interpretation. Once published the book will be available through various outlets including the soon to open Eva’s Cafe in the Gardens – Eva’s being named for Evlampia Holtze.

serve as an inspirational and verdant hub for one fortunate NT Writer to further develop a body of literary work. The Eco House centrally situated in the Snake Bean Garden and just a short stroll from the Sensory Immersion Garden, Plant Display House and Rainforest will offer tantalising views and fresh air through louvered windows and the opportunity to pick from the communal garden beds to enliven each meal with local flavour. Linked with ‘Wordstorm’ the biennial writer’s festival, this will include the offering of writing workshops for visitors to the Gardens. Further phases may include a Poet in Residence, poetry tours and much more.

Our longest standing partnership would have to be with the Friends of the Gardens, who have recently refurbished the Plant Display House, installed free Wi-Fi throughout the Gardens for visitors and will soon install two permanent iPad pedestals and a large DVD screen to enhance visitor access to the wealth of plant (and other) content on the web

Helicteres Translocation

‘The lost cow’ Snake Bean Garden, 2013

Writer in Residence Another partnership project that was first sparked as an idea some 2 years ago is our upcoming Writer in Residence program with the NT Writer’s Centre. For 3 weeks, the Gardens will

In partnership with Environmental Consultancy EcOz and local mining developer Alan King, the Gardens have commenced preparatory work on a Helicteres translocation program. With large weathered face granite rocks forming the base of a small escarpment this feature will serve to offer a sanctuary for the endangered plant in a managed landscape, provide an additional layer of soil to an area that was previously degraded and at risk of further erosion and, once supplemented with Eucalyptus tetrodontis and other natives, will provide a new feature for visitors in an under developed part of the Gardens.




Transitions Film Festival


Our longest standing partnership would have to be with the Friends of the Gardens, who have recently refurbished the Plant Display House, installed free Wi-Fi throughout the Gardens for visitors and will soon install two permanent iPad pedestals and a large DVD screen to enhance visitor access to the wealth of plant (and other) content on the web. They are also committed to helping us develop new technologies such as QR Codes in the Sensory immersion Garden as a first step. Not only do the Friends offer much needed discretionary funding but equally importantly a high level of well recognised support.

In 2011, in partnership with local film curator Tim Parish, the Gardens sponsored the first Transitions Film Festival, with a focus on sustainability to inspire positive behaviour change and environmental stewardship. The series was hugely popular and enhanced with either local live music performance or informal discussions before and after each screening. This was followed in 2012 with the Food for Thought Film Festival, Darwin’s first ever solar film screening with a focus on the local sustainable food movement. Meanwhile, the Transitions Film Festival was taken interstate where it grew and gathered a host of partners, returning in 2013 bigger and better than ever.

The Darwin Garden Education Network (DGEN) is an organic partnership which has emerged and continues to grow with the support of the Botanic Gardens by linking schools and educators with a passion for food gardening and environmental education. In addition to their vibrant school garden displays and engaging workshops, this year they contributed to the highly popular and surprisingly profitable ‘Community Cafe’ and ‘Taste of the Top End’ features of the Tropical Garden Spectacular.

Snake Beaners Our equally active (albeit newer) advocacy group is the Snake Bean Gardeners (or Snake Beaners as they refer to themselves). As a recently Incorporated Association, they have now secured two grants for Gardens projects, namely the forming of the Snake Bean Creek (to divert and slow down storm water flows) and the Permaculture Workshop series (and forthcoming education packs) which have rallied a dedicated following of ‘foodies’ and organic gardeners as well as those who just love being outdoors and part of a community. This group are always keen to take part in media opportunities and promotions and they also love getting their hands dirty in the most practical of ways.

NGINT/ECNT The biggest event on the Gardens calendar is the Tropical Garden Spectacular, partnership event most recently run with the Nursery and Garden Industry of the NT and (over the past two years) the Environment Centre NT. Drawing crowds of up to 5,000 people over the weekend the Gardens fill with innovation, inspiration and goodwill which remind us all of the value of all things ‘natural’ and the benefit of all things community.

Darwin Festival The Gardens partnership with Darwin Festival makes the Gardens Darwin’s venue of choice during the month of August. Following last year’s amazing Spiegeltent, this year’s event will also be held on George’s Green, with a starlit canopy and a diverse range of tastes and sights and sounds.



Effective Volunteer Partnerships – A case study Glenn Maskell My first experience with our volunteer group was being sworn and yelled at. Not pleasant but it was the result of a poor relationship that existed between the group and staff of the National Rhododendron Garden. Partnerships can be extremely powerful. They can be destructive but can also be very powerful to progress an organisation. The results from the poor partnership in the gardens here resulted in-

work, ingenuity and generosity over many years. In the early 1990s the gardens management reverted to the government and was taken on by Parks Victoria. The relationship between the two groups had been a strained one through to the mid 2000s after which a change of gardens management within Parks Victoria, and a change of committee within the ARS, allowed the two groups to move forward and celebrate what was has been achieved and what we have in common.

• Poor garden outcomes (high mortality rate on new plantings) • Patchy records (individual ownership of records meant they were lost to the garden) • Collections not shared by volunteers from private to public (but often taken from the garden) • No public advocate (in fact a negative voice in the community) • Adversarial relationship between volunteers and staff (unmotivated staff and volunteers) • Volunteers working for themselves (little good outcomes for the garden)

We all love plants and want to see the garden prosper. The ARS has a membership of dedicated enthusiasts who know more than I or my staff will ever know about Rhododendrons. For example one of the members Laurie is 85 and has worked and been interested in Rhododendron since he was five years old - where are we ever going to find that kind of knowledge and experience? This partnership had so many benefits for both our organisations, how could it be let go?

• Staff morale low

Building Relationship The past was a big issue for the Australian Rhododendron Society (ARS) and it was important that we recognise and celebrate that together. The ARS developed the garden in the early 1960s and what we have today is built from their hard

Giving Power to gain control (strategies for a better partnership) With very little dialogue it was easy to find mutual ground we all love plants and want to see the garden prosper. Soon we started working together on small projects gaining trust, then giving the group permission to take on projects and have some

autonomy meant that they had confidence that they were doing worthwhile work. Working together we were able to get better bed preparation and after care resulting in lower mortality rates of plants. The group felt they had a say in how the gardens were managed and we were able to start working together on the issues that we didn’t necessarily agree (not yelling and swearing). Implementing an annual work plan for the ARS, in which we jointly agree with them the outcomes and goals for the group each year, gave us the necessary control over what they did in the garden, and gave them the power to get out and do what they wanted, knowing that they were endorsed and supported by Parks Victoria as the gardens manager.

Power in the people In my first year I had to answer at least four ministerials about the gardens and how we managed them. These were all generated by members of the ARS and directed to the state minister. The change in our working relationship with the ARS, specifically being open to their ideas and always giving them the opportunity to raise issues directly with us concerning works in the garden, has completely transformed their stance. Siobhan break out text if needed: Volunteers are a vital piece of this partnership and we wouldn’t have our great garden without them.


Negative ministerials are thankfully a thing of the past. Because we communicate and work closely with the ARS, they understand the priorities for the garden and instead use their influence in many spheres of their lives to turn their energy to promoting, resourcing and lobbying. Their recent successes in this regard has included additional funding for increased resourcing for the garden, and championing with the Minister our strategy to formally gazette the National Rhododendron Garden as a botanic garden. The results of a good partnership with the ARS have been• Better quality gardening • Expansion of the collection • Improved records • Public advocacy in government and community • Renewed investment into the garden in workforce and money


Regional Botanic Garden building upon social capital and developing social capacity Karen Hagan, Education Officer, Dubbo City Council Ian McAlister, Manager Horticultural Services, Dubbo City Council The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden has strengthened its identity and established itself as an educational resource by building upon social capital and actively developing local social capacity. The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden is a relatively new botanic garden constructed within the ten hectare Elizabeth Park in Dubbo, NSW. It comprises four distinctive garden spaces: Shoyoen ( Japanese Gardens), the Sensory Gardens, the Biodiversity Garden and the new Oasis Valley a dry rainforest.

• Promotion of the garden • Invigorated staff

Shoyoen (strolling and refreshing garden) is one of the most authentic and well maintained Japanese gardens in Australia. Its distinctive elements include a well-appointed tea house and traditional tea garden, a traditional sukiyamon (entrance gate) which is possibly unique in Australia and a kare-san-sui (Zen Garden). It is the oldest of the garden spaces. It was opened in 2002 and is an outstanding tourist attraction in its own right. Until recently few people realised that Shoyoen was part of a LGA Masterplan and the first stage in the development of the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden. During the construction of the Oasis Valley, which was opened this year, an impassable fence was constructed around all four garden spaces. Enclosing the gardens into one large area, physically separating them from the rest of Elizabeth Park was a major step towards helping the public visualise the space as a botanic garden.

• Motivated volunteers Building effective partnerships with volunteer groups is vital for public gardens. We all need resources and support, and people love gardens. The time and effort managing volunteers is considerable but of immense value.

A botanic garden is of course much more than a park with a fence around it. Comprehensive plant records have been maintained for the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden and all four garden spaces have been designed to fulfil educational objectives.

Our Motto at Parks Victoria is Healthy Parks Healthy People. Volunteers are a vital piece of this partnership and we wouldn’t have our great garden without them.

Shoyoen, Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden Photo Credit: Karen Hagan


For example the Biodiversity Garden recreates some of the different habitats of the region and displays some of the native plants which may be found in these habitats. Interpretative signage describes the different habitats, plants and fauna. To encourage further engagement with the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden by schools, educational institutions and community groups, an education officer (an experienced teacher) was employed to develop a set of curriculum-based educational programs. After consultation with local teachers two major needs were identified: • Teachers needed support as they prepared for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum and in particular, they needed resources to help them fulfil the cross-curriculum priorities of: Sustainability; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures; and Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia. • The programs should be facilitated by a trained teacher with knowledge of the relevant syllabuses. The distinctive nature of the garden spaces meant that the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden was well placed to support all of the cross-curriculum priorities. However, it was recognised that one person would not have the expertise to design and develop educational programs covering such a broad range of subjects for students from preschool to university level. To overcome this challenge the education officer consulted many local experts including educators, scientists, botanists, government organisations focussed upon the environment, professionals from all the departments of Dubbo City Council and local environmental groups.


By building upon social capital in this manner the educational programs: • are highly varied and rich in content • are supported by a significant depth of knowledge and experience and • the hands-on activities designed for the botanic garden can be linked to local, national and global environmental and conservation issues Furthermore, by designing some of the programs to fulfil the educational objectives of organisations with similar aims, long term support for the botanic garden was encouraged and in-kind resources were made available. For example RiverSmart Australia provides educational resources and equipment to test water quality, the Technical Services Division of Dubbo City Council make their Differential GPS equipment available for demonstration purposes and Macquarie Regional Library provide a literacy resource box. A need to learn from other botanic gardens was also identified. To this end a request for help was made of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust (RBG). The RBG responded immediately with a generous offer of assistance. This assistance took a number of forms: • a week’s internship at the RBG for the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden’s education officer to learn from their experienced educators and observe the educational programs delivered at the RBG • access to all of the RBG educational programs and permission to adapt them for use at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden • continuing mentorship for the education officer

Volunteers Henry Smidt‑Geering (left) and his father David Geering learning how to use a differential GPS at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden to create a Climate Watch Trail Photo Credit: Karen Hagan

Significant help and advice was also received from the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens with respect to species choice for the new Oasis Valley and educational programs.

By building upon social capital the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden has strengthened its identity as a botanic garden



Since the commencement of the facilitated educational programs in September 2012, over one thousand students and educators ranging from pre-schoolers to university students have participated in the programs. Re-bookings are common and weekly programs are also supported.

The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden supports tertiary institutions and community groups seeking to promote a sustainable community. It achieves this by providing the opportunity for students and members of the wider community to actively engage in real and relevant tasks at the garden.

Many of the schools have become aware of the programs through word of mouth. There has not been any formal advertising.

These tasks include landscaping, horticulture, planting trees, basic maintenance and carpentry. A free horticultural consultancy service is also provided.

To further establish the construct of a botanic garden a weekly column “Botanical Buzz” is submitted to the local newspaper describing a plant or feature of the garden. The column is written in an engaging style attractive to non-experts. To add human interest, the article is accompanied by a photograph taken at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden featuring both a visitor and the plant or feature forming the subject of the article. The newspaper publishes the column for free to help promote community engagement in the botanic garden. This initiative is in addition to regular media releases submitted to the local media highlighting significant events. These also promote and raise the profile of the botanic garden. Later this year the identity of the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden will be further established by the launch of its own website. It is also recognised that the building of social capacity should be at the core of educational programs so the programs offered by the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden extend beyond schools to the whole of the community.

In addition to up-skilling the community, the opportunity to actively engage with the botanic garden encourages community pride and inter-generational ownership. The success of this approach is evidenced in the community support for the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden for example: • The volunteer group “The Friends of the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden” have helped to maintain Shoyoen (and now the other gardens) for over ten years • a recent working bee at the Oasis Valley attracted representatives from six different community groups • in May this year a school spent a whole morning planting two hundred acacias to form a new educational resource • a small group of Aboriginal children have recently begun to visit the garden on a weekly basis to plant and tend plants in the Biodiversity Garden By building upon social capital the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden has strengthened its identity as a botanic garden and created an excellent, varied and well supported educational resource for schools and the wider community.

Organisations which formerly struggled to get their educational messages across to the wider community now have a vehicle for doing so. In return, the botanic garden benefits from having the support of a wide range of experts and scientists, and extra resources in the form of existing educational packages and specialist equipment. The support of the Royal Botanic Garden adds academic weight to the educational programs offered and allows the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden to adapt existing high quality programs to meet local needs thereby saving considerable time and money. This support emphasises the value of an educational network connecting botanic gardens and promoting the sharing of resources and information. By developing social capacity the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden promotes sustainability in the community, and pride, ownership and engagement in the botanic garden. Community support generated by this approach has already manifested itself both in the many hours of voluntary work carried out at the botanic garden and in the wide section of the community represented by the volunteers.



Australian garden commemorates leading landscape architect Kate O’Brien, Media Officer, RBG Cranbourne A sculptural installation has been unveiled at the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne to commemorate Landscape Architect, Kevin Taylor’s (1953‑2011) significant contribution to its genesis and fruition.

The sculptural installation was proposed by former Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Dr Philip Moors, and has been installed in one of Kevin’s favourite areas within the ‘Eucalypt Walk’ of The Australian Garden. “Kevin Taylor’s creativity and passion for the Australian flora can be seen in  every  tree and stone in  this  garden. Now  with this beautiful sculptural element his words  will be part of that inspiring landscape,” said Professor Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) with Paul Thompson, the international award-winning Australian Garden was delivered over 17 years with Stage Two of the project opening late last year.

A beautiful glass memorial sculpture in honour of Kevin Taylor, Landscape Architect and Director at TCL (the design firm that developed the design for the Australian Garden) was recently unveiled in the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Photo Credit: RBG Cranbourne

Designed by internationally renowned artist, Janet Laurence, in collaboration with David Lancashire and Kate Cullity, Secrets of Lightness is a sculptural installation of seven glass panels (400mm x 3050mm) etched with Kevin’s handwritten prose on the Australian landscape: Those who live in the shadow of gravity employ the secrets of lightness to survive. The feathery canopies of red gums dance. (Abstract from the Secrets of Lightness)

“Kevin would have been incredibly proud of what TCL has achieved with Stage Two of the Masterplan,” said Kate Cullity, Kevin’s wife and Director of TCL. The resultant garden is testament of Kevin’s overall vision to inspire and educate visitors on the Australian landscape and flora: “The Australian Garden expresses the tension between our reverence and sense of awe for the natural landscape, and our innate impulse to change it, to make it into a humanly contrived form, beautiful yet our own work…(it) seeks to create an environment in which specific qualities of flora are highlighted in a manner which will inspire visitors to further explore Australian plants.

A beautiful glass memorial sculpture in honour of Kevin Taylor at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Photo Credit: RBG Cranbourne

This inspiration may be stimulated by a variety of experiences; it may occur through appreciation of beauty, either in detail of broad expanse, through experiencing surprise, humour, awe or reverence. For some the garden will challenge preconceptions and spark their inquisitiveness. For others it will provide information, leading to new understandings.” In July 2012, Kevin was awarded the Sir James Irwin President’s Medal at the South Australian Institute of Architects’ Awards in recognition of his exemplary contribution to design. His legacy lives on in a sponsorship fund established by TCL to assist emerging designers, artists and other creative individuals explore areas of endeavour that Kevin was particularly interested in. As he was a great exponent of cross disciplinary collaboration, this research could explore many different avenues and produce a wide spectrum of outcomes.



Reports from Botanic Gardens Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

• 10th Anniversary of first planting at Gardens - Friends Events: July 28th 10th Anniversary event and commemorative planting

• The MRBG also celebrated its 10th birthday on May 24 with the launch of the first book produced by the Gardens Friends ‘The Bungee Jumping Caterpillar’. This book follows the story of the caterpillars of Alcides metaurus - the North Qld Day Moth that in the Mackay region survives on just a single species Omphalea celata - a plant threatened in the wild with just 2 known locations within the bioregion. The highly visible caterpillars - when threatened - launch themselves off the tree via a silken thread, then climb back up the thread once the threat has passed. This species is the’ hero plant’ telling the wider story of species threatened in the wild. Large tubes of the Tree Omphalea were given away at the launch evening.

• Skilling Queensland Trainees finish this month. Projects include – establishment of new garden on entrance drive featuring exotic plantings suited to SEQ; Extension of Eastern Precinct, general maintenance Display Gardens, Mangroves to Mountains. • Skilling Qld and TAFE Conservation trainee’s projects concentrating on weed removal in M to M. • Redeployment of Hort. Student training groups to gardens projects • Projects in progress:  remedial rockwork and planting around feature lake to reduce erosion; replant Bedding Displays; tidy up and infill planting in M to M to replace  weather losses. • Projects planned for next year: Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust  memorial garden; Sensory Garden improvements; Montane zone of Mangroves to Mountains; Tree replacement and remedial pruning; • Friends volunteer Guide training commenced • School education  and group guiding • Infrastructure: realignment and improved access to temporary toilet over next few weeks; Temporary Maintenance shed to replace containers and improve WHS. • Herbarium: establishing collection priorities and GCRBG involvement in threatened species monitoring. Herbarium team to start ex situ collecting in Council’s conservation reserves. • Friends awarded Dahl trust grant for Gum Tree Corridor interpretation. • Small group of Friends travelling around Botanic Gardens in UK and ensuring everyone hears about Queensland’s unique botanic gardens.

• With a delayed wet season and by the feel of it - winter as well, MRBG Crew have been focusing on site wide formative pruning of the young collection and continuing to replant sections of the site badly damaged by Cyclone Ului in 2010. • New database has commenced furnishing and MRBG staff braved cool (for Mackay!) temperatures, persistent low cloud and rain and visited an annexed rainforest site in the Eungella highlands west of Mackay to procure species, especially ferns, for the MRBG living collection. Collected material was accessioned into the database. • Interpretative signage being developed for the Torres Strait island Garden - an important cultural link for Mackay. Island specific native and ethno botanic themed flora on display. • Garden Friends were kept busy planting 1050 Lomandra spp., Crinum pedunculatum, Pandanus sp. and the threatened in the wild Eucalyptus raveretiana adjacent to the new Meadowlands Amphitheatre in May. A guided walk to a section of the Eungella rainforest at Crediton hosted by Dale Arvidsson and local plant enthusiast Meryl Ritchie educated Friends and MRBG staff on many of the special highland species.



Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden

Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens

• New Cathy Money/Friends sculpture ‘Here, in This Special Space’ built from recycled bridge timbers and cast aluminium installed and officially opened by Peter Nagel, Councillors Jenny McKay and Greg Rodgerson.

• Sandy Silabon appointed as new Manager and with the great support of our Committee, she is doing a wonderful job directing the Volunteers as they maintain the Gardens and work on the new projects.

• Sunshine Coast Council have engaged delve landscaping consulting to work with SCC landscaping unit -design for the children’s experiential garden in the Whip Bird Walk area and the Maroochy A&E Centre (Site of the BGANZQ Conference last year)

• The completion of the last Contemplative Site, situated overlooking a bend in Tamborine Creek in an amazing rainforest setting, has opened up a new area of ‘tranquillity’ for visitors to the Gardens.

• Sue Aspland has the new children’s holiday program (Trees for Life) out for June/July holidays.

• Finished construction of the new Orchid House and are now landscaping the interior for the placement of orchids and supporting foliage plants.

• The Fern Glade has a new overhead’ natural rainfall irrigation system installed

• Celebrate our 30th anniversary in October and hope to have the Governor of Qld. Penelope Wensley attend, during which, she will be asked to officially ‘open’ the Orchid House.

Myall Park Botanic Garden • New bird hide planned as part of the Honeyeater Walk up-grade • Power and hot water connected to the Gallery toilet block • Proteaceae division plantings completed in preparation for opening in August • Plans progressing for ‘Passion for eucalypts @ myall park botanic garden’ spring day 24th August 11am – 4pm • Botanical at workshop planned for 10-12 July • New exhibition 1st June – 25 November ‘A passion for Eucalypts artist Marcelle Stirling • Preparation for Nambour Expo Garden Show stall going ahead as is the Mapleton Book Sale stall. • Successful promotional and retail stall held in Surat 24th May • Web site continues to be up-dated and face book achieving numerous hits and ‘likes’ • New caretakers are outstanding – a young couple – full of excellent ideas and energy

Goondiwindi BG project funded by the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund. The project involves: a. The establishment of scientifically authentic plant communities throughout the Garden by removal of inappropriate ground cover and the planting of mid and under storey species with the existing over storey, much of which is approximately 20 years old; b. Native seedling production for public use, with a grow tunnel constructed and equipped in the existing secure compound for seedling propagation from seeds collected in the Garden; c. Development of a multi-faceted education program to assist public and private land managers with biodiversity enhancement.



The outcomes of the project will be:

Previous Projects

1. The only public facility where a broadly representative selection of native plants of the Upper Darling Basin can be observed, studied and enjoyed in communities as they occur in nature;

A mulga community was established with the help of a Community Action Grant from the Australian government’s Caring for Our Country program. As part of this project we:

2. A gene pool, including some rare and endangered species, for the preservation and propagation of plants that are important for future biodiversity;

• constructed raised mounds of suitable soil and planted mulgas and associated species

3. A source of genetically authentic seedlings for use by public and private land managers to enhance biodiversity; 4. A practical, accessible program to motivate and assist land managers to convert biodiversity theory into practice; 5. Community participation and learning egg partnerships with indigenous people, opportunities for training of disengaged youth, resources for school agriculture and science programs; 6. Local and regional development through enhancement of an existing community amenity and tourist attraction; 7. A contribution to structural adjustment as water is withdrawn from consumptive use under the Murray Darling Basin Plan between now and 2019. Progress reports will be provided as the project progresses.

• installed embossed aluminium plant community signs throughout the Garden • erected an information board about selecting and growing Australian native plants • developed a website, • produced a new brochure for the Garden Funding such as this is invaluable for the continuing development of the Garden. There are several more areas to be planted, with the next one being a grasslands community featuring native grasses and forbs. Our latest project, completed in October 2011, was the re‑snagging of the lake to provide a suitable habitat for native fish. Large logs have been placed in a lattice pattern around the island and at two locations on the outside perimeter. This has been funded by Border Rivers Catchment Management Association with a Natural Resource Awareness grant from the Qld government.

The lake is a great place for native fish, which come in during floods. However, being man-made, there has not been much suitable habitat. This limits the number of fish that can survive. With European carp in the mix, it makes it even harder for yellowbelly and Murray cod. The re-snagging project involved removal of as many carp as possible, the placement of suitable logs for fish shelter and breeding, and the removal of weeds around the edges and in the wetlands. This is a major improvement that will see numbers build up and stabilise. The Goondiwindi Fish Restocking Club has kindly offered to do the restocking on an annual basis, which is greatly appreciated.



National Wattle Day September 1, 2013 Maria Hitchcock Australians in the early part of the 20th Century. Since gazettal in 1992 it has achieved a strong revival with a grass roots effort all over the country. The Wattle Day Association based in Canberra has led a revival in the ACT by assisting with citizenship ceremonies, hosting an annual dinner with speaker and assisting the Rural Fire Service with an annual Fundraising campaign. They are hoping to go national fairly soon. The Australian National Botanic Gardens has celebrated Wattle Week each year for many years with education programs for children, special speakers and other activities.

National Wattle Day was gazetted by the Commonwealth in 1992 as a day to celebrate the Australian floral emblem Acacia pycnantha Photo Credit: Maria Hitchcock

Wattle Day has a long patriotic history in Australia and was conceived before Federation.

Does your Garden celebrate Wattle Day each year? National Wattle Day was gazetted by the Commonwealth in 1992 as a day to celebrate the Australian floral emblem Acacia pycnantha, our flora and natural environment. Although one Acacia was selected as the official emblem, Australians have embraced any wattle to use as a symbol on that day.

National Wattle Day presents an ideal opportunity for your Botanic Garden to increase attendance by featuring wattle in a range of activities. It falls on a Sunday this year which is usually the best day for visitors to gardens. Here are a few suggestions for celebrating National Wattle Day. 

Wattle Day has a long patriotic history in Australia and was conceived before Federation. Although not officially gazetted at the time Wattle Day was celebrated with great fervour by many

• Hand out sprigs of wattle for visitors to wear on the day. Some people may plead allergies but research has found that very few people are actually allergic to wattle. An alternative would be yellow ribbons or badges.

• Have educational activities for school students in the week following. • Invite a guest speaker on the day for a lunch time talk if you have an auditorium. • Have special tours focusing on specific flora such as rare and endangered plants or the local flora • Have an art exhibition of botanical art, pottery or other craftwork which feature native plants. • Ask the café to feature bush foods on the menu (eg scones with finger lime marmalade). These are just a few ideas. There are hundreds more in my book ‘A Celebration of Wattle’ (Rosenberg 2012).   So please join with other Australians in celebrating National Wattle Day this year.  Take lots of photos and please send me some feedback to

Maria Hitchcock 16 Hitchcock Lane Armidale NSW 2350 02 6775 1139



Bushcares Major Day Out (BMDO) Isabelle Connelly Bushcares Major Day Out (BMDO) is an annual event set up to encourage greater participation by local residents in bushcare groups. These groups provide valuable extra resources for councils, Australian native botanic gardens and government organisations that have to regularly undertake weed management on their estate in order to protect bushland biodiversity. BMDO has been held annually for the last 4 years. The event began on Sydney’s north shore with the support of Willoughby City Council, Landcare and volunteers. It has gradually built up to become an Australia wide event successfully raising the profile of bushcare and attracting volunteers. Almost 100 sites participated on 9 September 2012 across five states generating 2100 volunteers. In recognition of the achievements of the BMDO Committee, it was awarded the North Sydney Community Award 2012 and most recently, the award for the most innovative group at the 2013 Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority’s Regional Landcare Awards on the 4th May. Our vision is to build awareness and reach of BMDO over the next 3 years so that it becomes as well-known as Clean up Australia Day and a true national event. We are already getting an enthusiastic response to this year’s event and our target of 150 sites is looking conservative.

We have a website that contains an introduction by Angus Stewart from ABC’s Gardening Australia that is used to promote the event and provide information on participating bushcare groups or organisations, along with links to other useful information.  

You might like to have a look at this video on the rise of the Bushcare Major Day Out committee, prepared by the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority for the Regional Landcare Awards on 4th May 

We would like to extend an invitation to all native botanic gardens that are members of Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Inc. to participate in this years event that will be held on Sunday 8th September. 

(If this link doesn’t work for you, go to Select ‘Breaking News’, then look for ‘2013 Regional Landcare Award Winners…’, then select ‘Bushcare’s Major Day Out, Innovative Community Group’.)

We are also currently ramping up the publicity and are working on getting the ABC to run a gardening Australia program or a series of segments on bushcare. If we pull it off we will be looking for a variety of stories and sites that are picturesque and interesting that may well include gardens that are within your membership.

If you would like any further information on BMDO and our various plans for the event, please do not hesitate to contact Don Wilson, the President of the Bushcares Major Day Out Organising Committee on don.wilson@bushcaresmajordayout. org or contact myself on or mobile 0404222191.

We would also like to ask if:

We look forward to working with you to raise the profile of bushcare in Australia’s many native botanic gardens and attract volunteers.

BGANZ members would like to publicise the event by making a publicity bookmark available (that we have prepared), in information centres for visitors to take away with them as a reminder of the upcoming event. We do hope that your members can join us on the day. All potential participating groups have to do is email us on



Calendar of Conferences and Events BGANZ 6th Biennial Congress 2013 (Website) 20 – 25 October 2013, Dunedin, New Zealand In conjunction with the BGCI 5th Global Botanic Garden Congress

BGANZ AGM October 2013 Dunedin New Zealand

BGANZ New Zealand 15 – 16 November Auckland Botanic Gardens

PLA 2013 National Conference, TRANSFORMING – People and Places 13 – 16 October, The Pullman, Albert Park, Melbourne, VIC

The Guide Conference 28 October to 1 November 2013 Christchurch, New Zealand The Guides Conference website has more information.

International Horticulture Congress 17 – 22 August 2014, Brisbane The “Olympics” of horticultural science

The Botanic Garden - Issue 36 - July 2013  

Theme: Engaging Partnerships – Gardens succeeding with Business, Government, Community and Volunteer groups

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