Saturday, November 6, 2010

Adelaide Botanic Gardens - Park Life 2

4th October, 2010 - For those that have been following - and are interested - it would seem that the worst of L-kun's cold is over. His first night not having a 38+ temperature in about a week. Mummy and Daddy are still recording 37+ degrees, so we're not fully over our Spring-time cold either. 

Well, now for the second part of our trip to the Botanic Gardens was a slightly unusual combination of relaxation and running around. There was enough time to sit down and grab a drink... and contemplate all those things that are worth contemplating. Like what's for dinner...

Adelaide has had a strained relationship with water over the last few years. Like many parts of Australia, Adelaide has been in drought... which has lead to many water restrictions (e.g. can only water gardens with a water hose 1 evening per week etc). As a result a lot of plants have died - and especially a lot of the big old trees - but it has also meant a lot of hard times for water-features which were either neglected or stopped altogether... Thankfully the drought has at least temporarily lifted here... and we're almost back to normal rainfall. This fountain was a legacy from an earlier time... but makes for a focus in the herb and vegetable garden section... which is known as the Economic Garden.

But the Adelaide Botanic Gardens have by and large lived through the drought without too many troubles (although I'm sure the staff would disagree).
Moreton Bay Fig

And it remains a small escape into a green verdant microworld in a sometimes dry land.

Speaking of all things drought related...the tree below stores water in its trunk
during the wet season to help it survive the dry season. Bottle Trees (from monsoonal Queensland) are also drought deciduous - a good thing in a Adelaide -  which allows them to lose their leaves as a water saving mechanism... overall not a good move for a tree, but perhaps the difference between life and death when it's really dry. The tree can literally be used as a bottle, by cutting into the tree the water can be squeezed out... and the wood fibre has also been used as cattle fodder in hard times as well. Quite a versatile tree.
The Bottle Tree

I was a bit surprised to see how prevalent the clivia was in the botanic gardens, especially (as I mentioned earlier) they're actually native of South Africa... from the Natal province. They've a strong yet beautiful colour.... very exotic. I might have to see if I can grow some for our yard...

Now... of course it wouldn't be a grand old colonial garden without a suitably colonial building... with a grandiosely colonial name... The Museum of Economic Botany. Where do I buy tickets! It continues to be a working museum of all things agricultural, and has exhibits that are 140 years old. This museum emphasizes the importance plants have played in the development and sustainment of the South Australian State.

There weren't too many things in bloom at this time... but when they were, they were doing it in style.

One of the feature exhibits within the Garden is the Bicentennial Conservatory that was opened in 1989... This  modern take on a glass house is largest single span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere. We Australians love having the biggest anything... but if you grab a globe you'll realise that there aren't that many countries in the Southern Hemisphere at all (no offence to our brothers and sisters in New Zealand and South Africa).

But no time to look in on the tropical delights... That will have to keep for another trip.

One of the reasons we had come here today was to have a look at the International Rose Garden... Hmmm, I'd say we might have been a tad bit too little early. By about 2 weeks. I'll post about a return visit shortly... because when it's in bloom, it's a quite spectacular

There's a number of sculptures in the botanic garden - this glass and water sculpture is one of the more interesting ones. Hard to photograph though on a sunny day in part shade.

Hello there (blurry) T-chan and L-kun!

Of course most glass isn't colourless, and if you have enough of it, you see the beautifully deep colours comes through. These glass layers are about 1-2 m thick in parts. I love glass as a sculpture material - but I haven't seen it used in this way before.

And whilst Adelaide is not the first place you would think of when you mention "bamboo" there is a strong connection now.... From last year, Adelaide has been the host of two Chinese Giant Panda (Wang Wang and Funi) just down the road at Adelaide Zoo. We'll meet them some time in the near future I am sure. As a result there's been a general call put out for anyone to help by donating their bamboo to feed their insatiable appetites!... I wonder if the Botanic Garden have a nice little spin-off business going here.

So we've pretty well finished the tour ... the sun had been starting to go down and the air was getting cool again. The Park Life concert was just starting to warm up however, and the deep, vibrant beats echoed through the park. It may be Spring, but the October nights in Adelaide can be quite cold.

The Botanic Gardens are free to enter, and right in the heart of the city. It's a great place to unwind during the day,  or take the family for a run around. It may not be #1 on a list of things to do for visitors, but combined with a trip to the Zoo, it makes for a great day out (weather permitting).


  1. I am very impressed by the Bottle Tree!

  2. The Australian bush (outback) is quite amazing in that there are so many things that have had to adapt to it's harsh environment. The Bottle Tree is just one of many amazing trees. But I suppose each environment has it's amazing successes at adaption.