in a Name?
Fennessy , Volunteer Guide
In the Australian
National Botanic Gardens there is a planting of Grevillea wilsonii
in Section 27 at marker No 37 on the Main Path. It is growing
under a spreading Cabbage Gum Eucalyptus amplifolia, which
is downhill from the Main Path opposite a long, spreading specimen
of Grevillea 'Poorinda Peter'. A garden seat is nearby.
is a small, low spreading shrub with prickly, bipinnately lobed
it has a brilliant floral display of erect clusters of red
flowers. Its natural distribution is in the south-west of
Western Australia. It occurs in the Darling Ranges where it
grows in sandy gravelly soils.
species was named by Allan Cunningham, botanist-explorer,
to honour his friend and fellow explorer Dr Thomas Braidwood
Wilson (1792 - 1843). The latter was born in Braidwood, Lanarkshire,
in Scotland. He became a surgeon in the navy in
1815 and later served as surgeon-superintendent on several
convict transports bound for
New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.
by Murray Fagg
He made nine voyages in this role. He had great success
in preserving the lives of convicts under his care; he insisted on
cleanliness and a daily issue of lime juice and wine. Prior to the
appointment of surgeon-superintendents who were given absolute authority
and responsibility for the welfare of convicts on the transports,
almost half of the convicts who left England on the Second Fleet did
not survive the voyage or the first week of their arrival in Sydney
Cove, so great were their privations.
In 1829 Wilson
commenced exploration work in the southwest of Western Australia,
particularly in the region of King George Sound. He named the Denmark
River after one of his naval surgical colleagues, Alexander Denmark.
a keen botanist and brought seeds and plants, including Grevillea
wilsonii, to the botanist Allan Cunningham. Wilson is credited
with bringing to Hobart Town in 1831 the first hive of bees to survive
in Australia. In 1835 he published a narrative of his voyages and
included in it a description of Grevillea wilsonii by Cunningham.
given a grant of land in Tasmania in 1822 but later transferred
this to New South Wales. Part of the land granted to him there was
called Braidwood and became the site for a township.
his wife, daughter and son to New South Wales in 1836, on his eighth
voyage to Australia. They settled at Braidwood and Wilson became
noted for the management of his farm and for his efficiency as a
magistrate. He took a leading role in the affairs of the district.
His wife died in 1838. During the depression of the early 1840's
his health declined. He became bankrupt in 1843 and died that year;
he is buried on a hilltop overlooking the town of Braidwood.
Western Mallee (Section 100)
Member of Growing Friends
like to draw your attention to a fascinating little pocket of
the Gardens situated above the nursery. Section 100 was established
for the express purpose of holding mallee eucalypts from the
arid areas of Australia, that were previously sited along the
edge of the Eucalypt lawn where they received too much irrigation,
with undesirable consequences.
this garden began in about 1990, first by excavating a lawn
area and preparing a drainage system three metres deep. The
area comprises washed coarse and fine river sand. A couple of
years later the retaining wall was built to contain soil run-off,
and this section consists of crushed granite and eucalyptus
mulch, fine sand and lime, a bit of humus and zeolite to hold
nutrients. Several truckloads of red soil from Roto near Griffith,
NSW, were mixed with this.
time the ANBG was moving away from the use of chemicals to control
insects, and this field being of interest to Greg Flowers, horticulturalist
at the Gardens since 1987, he embarked on a study of biological
control, selecting three Eucalyptus ligulata in Section
100 for the trials. In the early stages these plants were prone
to a fierce infestation of scale, Eriococcus tepperi
(identified by the Zoology Department of the ANU). Now, with
a healthier microclimate, this is rare. The reading of this
study into the insect ecosystem is indeed interesting, but I
won't go into detail here.
to Section 100 is up the tar road beside the nursery. On your
left are a variety of mallee eucalypts, but on the right your
wonderful discovery tour begins. You'll see lots of Eremophila
species, but what caught my eye was Eucalyptus eremophila
(eremophila meaning 'desert loving'), the Sand Mallee.
It has the most unusual paw-like stems, about three centimetres
long, flattened with a zigzag tip, where the pendulous buds
form. This species is from south-west Western Australia.
Melaleuca decora stands sentinel over the horseshoe-shaped
one afternoon in May, I saw Eastern Spinebills feeding
on the nectar from a few remaining flowers of the rare
Eucalyptus crucis subsp. crucis, the Southern
Cross Mallee. The bark is most interesting with its curling
strips revealing smooth coppery-red underbark (this type
known as minniritchi bark). It
is a small, sprawling mallee, again from south-west W.A,
found always on, or around, granite rocks.
by D Grieg
by M Crisp
Round the corner of the path you'll find the Upside-down Pea Bush,
Leptosema daviesioides (similar to the genus Daviesia).
low to the ground and the orange/red flowers form a
crown around the base of the plant while the foliage
sprouts out over the top.
on the gully side, is Grevillea centristigma covered
in yellow/orange flowers set amongst soft hairy leaves.
to be flowering at time of publication of this newsletter
(Alex George's Banksia Book says June to January)
is Banksia coccinea, Scarlet Banksia, though it can
be reluctant to flower in cultivation. The flower
head is round and squat, with the flowers actually grey,
contrasted by the scarlet styles. Robert Brown in 1801 collected
the first specimen from King George Sound, W.A.
another striking plant, Hakea victoria, Royal Hakea,
looks like it belongs in the sea or the veggie patch. Its distinctive
feature is its leaves - fiery red/orange near the stems changing
to green with orange veins towards the outer edge. New growth
is yellow to green with yellow veins. Dazzling when the sun
strikes the plant and the leaves really do resemble flames.
It's the best specimen of its kind around these parts, though
there is another good one at Burrendong Arboretum near Wellington,
always more to discover at other times of the year, so keep
visiting Section 100.
Pass at first seems like all the other roads along the east
coast that lead from the tablelands to the seaside. It is, however,
less bendy and a lot steeper than many, with a spectacular 1:6
gradient. Another difference is a lovely garden set into the
hillside almost hidden from view behind the Bulli Bowling Club
and the Showground.
garden, Illawarra Grevillea Park, otherwise known as Slacky
Flat Park, was the site chosen for a visit by a group of Friends
on Saturday, 3 May. The park is staffed entirely by volunteers
and only opens its gates to the public six times a year. The
small number of volunteers has managed to minimise the formalities
and devote their time almost exclusively to maintaining the
park. They receive assistance from the Bulli township, local
businesses make donations in kind and the Grevillea Study Group
of the Australian Plant Society provides generous assistance.
main gates open onto a courtyard where volunteers had plants
for sale. Some of our group made purchases while others thought
that Canberra might be too cold for these varieties.
Brown made the group welcome and described the ten-year history
of the park and gave a quick rundown of how the plants are maintained.
A map was provided and we set off on our journey of discovery.
part of the gardens is an area on a slope leading up to a knoll
where an historic chapel has been rescued from a dismal fate
and now serves as a tea and coffee shop, bookstall and picture
gallery. There are no large trees on this slope and the zigzag
path is lined with plants soaking up the sunshine. As the name
of the park implies the main plants in this area are Grevilleas.
size of the flowers and their range of colours - yellow, orange,
red and even mauve - brought plenty of cries of delight from
the group. The only disappointment here was the absence of labels.
The best you could do was take a mental picture of one or two
species and look at the picture gallery in the chapel and attempt
to make a match.
picnic area the path led into the rainforest plantings. Here
the humidity was palpable, supported by recent rains, an irrigation
system and the nearby sea. This area is cultivated and features
well-made paths leading through fern laden banks. The tall trees
form a nice canopy and the dappled sunlight drifting through
makes a pleasant scene. This is, however, only a preview of
the delights that await those who are able to venture to the
the back gate of the park the trail leads to a gully running
into the hillside under Bulli Pass. Here lies a real rainforest.
The only improvements made are a path and narrow gates designed
to stop anything but people getting through.
makes a loop through the forest and is named the Vine Forest
Walk. Unfortunately the path is dirt, rough, twisty and at times
quite steep. It crosses Slacky Creek twice and the walker has
to step from rock to rock. Not everyone in the group could manage
this part of the park. For those that could, the tall palms,
cedars, various fungi and, of course, the vines all combined
to make this a sensational part of the day.
Park occupies 40 acres and there was no difficulty filling in
the three and a half hours we had there.
trip back home we travelled from the coast across to the Hume
Highway via Appin. In one part the road was lined by hundreds
of Doryanthes excelsa. This will be quite a spectacle
when they are in flower. I look forward to hearing a report,
or seeing pictures, from the next group to travel down that
Friends Twilight Dinner
very welcome calm and pleasant autumn evening at Hudsons in
the Gardens ensured the success of this event for the 65 Friends
and guests who attended on 6 March. Chatter flowed freely as
long-standing and new friends enjoyed the ambience of good food
and wine from Hudsons. Our Friends President, Andrew Walker,
welcomed all present and drew the lucky door prizes. Generous
support was provided by the ANBG, the Botanical Bookshop, Hudsons
Catering, the Summer Concerts Wine Table, and the Growing Friends.
Given the success of this evening, it is planned to have a Friends'
dinner on a more regular basis.
Volunteer of the Year
to one of our more active Friends, Rosemary Blemings, for winning
the Volunteer of the Year award, in the environment category,
largely for her conservation work in the A.C.T.
Growing Friends Plant Sale
plant sale held by the Growing Friends in April was an outstanding
success. The date of the next sale has been tentatively set
July, 2003 by Shirley McKeown - email :