A Wollemi a day – pining for Australia

A week back home and I said to my colleague “I am missing my daily Wollemi Pine”!  This magnificent cousin of our kauri tree was first known to modern botanical science only 25 years ago. Our trip from Sydney BG to Mt Tomah, then Mt Annan to the National Arboretum and the Australian National Botanic…

Did that plant just bite me?

I ducked into the Calyx for the first time, Sydney BG’s newest building, an exhibition (and events) space. Plants with Bite is on showcasing the mysterious world of carnivorous plants.  As I walked to the venue the fun posters caught my eye and drew me in as if I were a fly on the peristome…

Big vision

The National Arboretum of Australia in Canberra bold & visionary. After a fire destroyed some forest at the site in 2003 the Arboretum was designed & is being progressively planted. So it’s not a forest quite yet but no one plants trees for today. Try and visit in 200 years. The visitor centre building is…

Banking $eeds

Visiting the PLantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is probably as close as I’ll get to visiting another planet.  That might sound flippant but for me it’s light years from where NZ is in terms of plant conservation and certainly seed banking. It’s a high-tech seed storing factory/lab.  Lucky for us we got a…

The National Botanic Garden of Australia

Capital cities sometimes get a thumbs down from tourists as they are usually built for government workers and the place shuts down when Friday night drinks are over and only comes alive again for 8am Monday coffees. Not Canberra.  It has amazing architecture and landscape planning, bike lanes, craft beer, museums and…two fabulous public gardens…

Magical roadside places

In Australia it turns out you can just stop by the side in the road on your way home, after your meeting, and botanise the most beautiful flora. This was heathland of Mt Banks, Blue Mountains. Thelymitra & Calochilus orchids, peas, sedges & ferns (saw one of each we share with Australia), many proteas and…

Seedy

We spent a day benefitting from the experience of seed collector Gavin Phillips who works for the Royal Botanic Gardens based at Mt Annan. We’ve been trained by Kew in the Millenium Seed Bank protocols but it’s always great to get a refresher. It’s also really useful to stand in the field looking at a…

Mountain refuge

I was the very grateful recipient of this years BGANZ (Botanic Gardens Australia New Zealand) award to visit Australia to attend the NSW BGANZ regional meeting and the Australian Network for Plant Conservation Conference (ANPC). The NSW meeting was at the Blue Mountains, at Royal Botanic Gardens Mt Tomah site. The topic was ex-situ collection…

Invisible monkeys in the jungle

Our wonderful south Sulawesi government hosts took us to the jungle today.  It doesn’t get much better than an offer like this for me!  I was in Makassar 7 days wondering what was in the green hills on the horizon.  We visited the site of a future Botanic Gardens in Tompobulu in the Maros region…

Fruit Salad Sulawesi style

If you were making a fruit salad in Sulawesi right now it would have jeruk (a pale mild mandarin), mangosteen and longans, dragonfruit (fruit of a cactus), snakefruit (a palm fruit), soursop and jicama (root of a pea family vine). Today I had jeruk & snakefruit at breakfast. Snakefruit is sour/sweet not quite like anything…