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.
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.
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.
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.
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.