Monday, October 1, 2012

Across the Border: Central Sydney: Plant Life: Royal Botanic Garden

Now that awful winter has passed and the sun is out the best place to be is outdoors, so last week my friend Crystal Kaye and I headed to the city's backyard, the Royal Botanic Garden.

From Darlinghurst, it's just a short walk down William Street . . .

. . .  and across The Domain, looking back to see the neat rows of antique terraces and modern apartments of Potts Point, the new and old faces of our city.

Soon after arriving at the garden, close to the Macquarie Wall, we were hit with a boom of colour: pink, red and creamy white tulips, heads the size of apples, necks craned to the sun.

I had visited the garden the previous week so I knew what to expect from the annual Spring Walk, but Crystal was overwhelmed with the colour. 
It's so striking and intense, because you emerge from the usual paths of green foliage into a mardi gras of floral freakishness. 

There are those endless tulips, dainty primula, cute pansies, fragrant wisteria (above left), blue mist flowers (above right), blossoming ornamental pear trees and loads of other bee magnets.

There are also plenty of other plants that I couldn't identify, such as these two pinky flowering things (above).

Fortunately, there are plaques on some of the flora so I was able to identify the unusual Japanese spiketail (above), which is one of those plants that you need to stop and look at closely to appreciate the beautiful, intricate buds that form its jewel-like strands. 

I also admired these blue towers of mini flowers (above), which I don't know the name of. 

According to a flier I picked up at the garden, the Spring Walk began in 1856 when shade-loving plants, such as azaleas and rhododendrons (below) were planted along the southern side of the Macquarie Wall. 

Since then, the Spring Walk has become "a much-loved and visited horticultural feature in the garden" and there were loads of people dawdling along the path with us.

The short walk begins at the Botanic Garden Creek and the start is marked by a sculpture of a woman, Spring, which was donated in 1957.

The walk then runs along the Macquarie Wall up to the 1878-built Lion Gate Lodge, possibly one of the best sandstone party venues in Sydney.

Crystal and I mooched on a bench, admiring the lodge's neat lawn and flowering garden, while dreaming of the party we would host in its grounds: live music, real Champagne, canapes.
But then reality kicked in and we knew we would never be able to afford the $3000, or whatever, fee to rent the place and so instead we rambled down to a sunny spot near the main duck pond and polished off a bottle of wine (or two). 


Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of clivia (above) across Darlinghurst and the inner city over the past month?
There are clumps of them everywhere, even in my own street, and I don't remember seeing so many in previous years. 
Is the spread of the waxy orange flower a result of the high rainfall we had over winter?
Or has someone seed-bombed the area?


Lithopsland said...

Love this post, thanks for your perspective. ;) Seed bombed clivias, lol, now you're talking. This post has inspired a walk to The Gardens. Love all the photos, in particular the one with the cacti bed & cityscape in the background. The Japanese spiketail looks awesome! What a smorgasbord of colours at the gardens. Thanks. Best wishes. :)

Jim said...

Terrific blooms.