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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.