Melbourne Botanic Gardens 3: The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse is tucked away in the recesses of the Botanic Gardens. It contains many mostly foreign species, some of which however are also popular garden and indoor plants in Melbourne’s residential homes. Some of these depend on a more humid and consistently warm environment, and don’t do well in the hot and dry climate which predominates in Melbourne’s summers.

Botanic Gardens 3 Fern wall

In the Greenhouse visitors can also find tropical mosses and epiphytic plants, such as ferns and others which usually grow on large tree trunks and receive nutrients from falling rain and leaf matter accumulating around them. Many of these can also be found in Australia’s more tropical northern regions.

Botanic Gardens 3 Heliconia orthotricha

Heliconias, such as these Heliconia orthotricha can be seen in many gardens around Melbourne. They are at home in central and south America. They are not as easy to care for compared with local plants because they require additional watering during dry times.

Botanic Gardens 3 Spathiphyllum

 

This beautiful red Spathiphyllum flower is more familiar to most people as an indoor plant. From the family Araceae, many of which are popular in private homes due to their glossy leaves and attractive flowers.

Botanic Gardens 3 Colocasia

This is also true of this species of plant from the Colocasia family, other members of which include edible varieties such as Taro, which is a staple in its native Southern India and Southeast Asia.


The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1846 by Lt. Gov. Charles LaTrobe. The site was rather swampy, being in the vicinity of the Yarra river, and located just across from the Central Business District of the young city. Melbourne itself had been founded by way of the negotiations with local Wurundjeri in 1835. Botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller, who was at the time the government Botanist of Victoria, was appointed as director of the Botanic Gardens in 1957. Mueller’s successor, William Guilfoyle, contributed to the landscaping of the gardens and many of its current features, such as the fern gully, rockeries and the ornamental lakes are based on his designs. The Botanic Gardens continue to be the playground for generations of locals and visitors.


The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Main entrance: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne 3004

Open 7.30am – sunset every day of the year

Entry to the Gardens is free.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 1: Australian trees walk

For anyone interested in the Australian natural environment the Melbourne Botanic Gardens are a good starting point. The gardens are a great place for a walk or picnic with an educational edge. Many local, national and international species can be found serendipitously whilst perambulating along the shady trails.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 1 Australian tree walk 2

Signage provides the names of individual species, and there are also other features such as a fallen tree used to explain to visitors the importance of decomposing wood for the ecosystem.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 1 Queensland lacebark

The Brachychiton discolor or Queensland Lacebark whose trunk is shown above, is in flower around January, and abundant pink blossoms scatter around the trunk.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 1 Queensland lacebark flower

Most species here are from other regions of Australia, and so it’s more useful to learn about other regions of the country rather than just Victoria alone. There are also some unusual examples such as this Pisonia umbellifera, or Birdlime tree, which is reported to entrap and kill birds with its sticky fruit to fertilize the soil. Vicious!

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 1 Pisonia umbellifera 2


The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1846 by Lt. Gov. Charles LaTrobe. The site was rather swampy being in the vicinity of the Yarra river, and located just across from the Central Business District of the young city. Melbourne itself had been founded by way of the negotiations with local Wurundjeri in 1835. Botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller, who was at the time the government Botanist of Victoria, was appointed as director of the Botanic Gardens in 1957. Mueller’s successor, William Guilfoyle, contributed to the landscaping of the gardens and many of its current features, such as the fern gully, rockeries and the ornamental lakes are based on his designs. The Botanic Gardens continue to be the playground for generations of locals and visitors.


The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Main entrance: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne 3004

Open 7.30am – sunset every day of the year

Entry to the Gardens is free.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens 2: Succulent walk

The Melbourne Botanic garden has many beautiful corners. One particularly interesting area is the trail leading from Gate G to the “Temple of the Winds”, a small pavilion set on a hill. Many different kinds of succulents, various types of aloe and agaves as well as cacti grow to the left and right of the trail. Some are usually in bloom, with tall flower stalks emerging from their midst.

Botanic Gardens 2 Agave attenuata II

Most of these aren’t natives to the Australian environment, but they do well here and can be seen in gardens around Melbourne. They can withstand heat and drought, and thus they can survive without being watered even in summer heat waves.

Botanic Gardens 2 Aeonium arboreum I

The genus Aeonium (this photograph: Aeonium arboreum) for instance derives its name from the ancient Greek word for ‘eternal’ or ‘ageless’, a reference to its hardiness. It is native to the Canary Islands.

Botanic Gardens 2 Agave attenuata I

The Agave attenuata in this photographs is native in Mexico. This species is a popular garden plant because it has no teeth or terminal spikes. The plant below is a small Agave protoamericana.

Botanic Gardens 2 Agave protoamericana

While this area of the Botanic Gardens might not teach the visitor that much about Australian natives, it’s definitely educational for anyone wandering the inner suburbs, where succulents are a popular plant in many front yards.

Botanic Gardens 2 Agave potatorum

Agave potatorum

Botanic Gardens 2 Echeveria

This Echeveria is also at home in to semi-desert areas of Central America, from Mexico to northwestern South America, but seems to be doing well in Melbourne.


The Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1846 by Lt. Gov. Charles LaTrobe. The site was rather swampy, being in the vicinity of the Yarra river, and located just across from the Central Business District of the young city. Melbourne itself had been founded by way of the negotiations with local Wurundjeri in 1835. Botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller, who was at the time the government Botanist of Victoria, was appointed as director of the Botanic Gardens in 1957. Mueller’s successor, William Guilfoyle, contributed to the landscaping of the gardens and many of its current features, such as the fern gully, rockeries and the ornamental lakes are based on his designs. The Botanic Gardens continue to be the playground for generations of locals and visitors.


The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Main entrance: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne 3004

Open 7.30am – sunset every day of the year

Entry to the Gardens is free.