Little Gem: Royal Botanic Gardens, 25/3/21

Text Joan Kenny, photos JK, MB, ML

The ‘Little Gems’ program got off to a good start on Thursday 25 March, with two guided walks in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Our volunteer guide for the General Garden Explorer Tour, charmingly named ‘Bud’, provided an excellent tour, with clear and fascinating botanical and landscape design information about our world-renowned gardens.

Group 1 with guide ‘Bud’

I’m a frequent visitor to the RBG, but I learned a great deal from Bud’s commentary. On the Oak Lawn we admired the imaginative use of enormous limbs from a tree that had split apart and fallen about the time that Covid arrived; these limbs now form a play and seating area around the shattered trunk.

Bud showed us new areas of the gardens (I suspect the 2020 lockdowns enabled a great deal of ‘behind the scenes’ landscaping). We loved a new very accessible sensory walk, which includes memory-evoking species for older visitors, as well as unfamiliar species, such as a young ‘Rainbow Gum’ – Eucalyptus deglupta – with an eye-catching multi-coloured trunk. It is native to PNG and other Asia-Pacific countries.

Bud’s favourite tree

When we were exploring the Arid and Drylands Precinct, Bud outlined the evolution of the distinctive Guilfoyle’s Volcano and explained the origin and design of the new Arid Garden. Landscape designer, Andrew Laidlaw, used a botanical cross-section of a succulent as the basis for the design of this brilliant new feature.

New arid garden

The second guided walk programmed for our visit, the Aboriginal Heritage Guided Tour, had to be postponed due to the illness of the guide. The substitute guide, Julian, has a special interest in eucalyptus species, and he provided his group with insight into this genus, so beloved of bushwalkers.

Ironbark beauty

450 year old River Redgum

On trail for coffee

Thanks to Margi Breare for arranging this most enjoyable Little Gem activity.