The cover of this month's Newsletter features Crowea exalata. In late February C. exalata was flowering in section 112 along the main path. The Crowea cultivars with bigger, pinker flowers - Southern Stars and Coopers Hybrid - were flowering in section 240 opposite the Friends Lounge.

Photograph by A. McWhirter


This is a sample of our Newsletter's diverse and interesting content.
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March, 2007

Welcome to the new Director

Anne Duncan

Anne Duncan comes to the Australian National Botanic Gardens from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service where she has been Regional Manager for Southern Tasmania. In that role Anne was responsible for leading a regional team developing and implementing land, visitor and conservation management. This work ranged from Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, through to the South-West World Heritage Area and major national parks, coastal and island reserves.

Anne has 20 years experience in conservation management and policy development at national, State and regional and remote community levels. She has worked with the Tasmanian State Government, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Environment Australia, and regional community and business organisations. She has a particular interest in threatened species conservation, as well as the practical integration of business and environmental management systems.

Anne was born in Scotland, educated in Australia, and has Bachelors and Honors degrees in Science from the Australian National University and University of Tasmania. She is currently undertaking an Executive Master of Business Administration at the University of Melbourne. Anne is married and has two primary school aged children, Hamish and Fergus.


Vale, Tom

Tom Green, 23 October 1944 to 15 January 2007


Tom Green died suddenly on 15 January 2007 and his life was celebrated at a gathering at the Botanic Gardens on 19 January.

'Thank you for joining with us to celebrate the life of Tom Green. He meant different things to all of us, but we will all remember him as a loyal, reliable, considered gentleman and a gentle man with a love of his family, friends and the natural world ...

'Tom was a passionate bird watcher throughout his life and in retirement. This became the theme that connected some wonderful travel in Australia and overseas and linked him to a network of special, like-minded friends.

'All his life Tom wanted to be a farmer. Consistent with this, Tom trained at Roseworthy Agricultural College and then worked with the Eastern Eyre Peninsular Weeds Board, the Agriculture Deparrment of South Australia and the CSIRO at the Ord River, Narrabri and finally, Canberra ...

'It may surprise some that in earlier days, Tom won prizes for rifle shooting and was a teetotaler; however this last was a charactersistic that did not survive his encounter with beer and red wine !

'Tom had remarkably good health through his life, allowing him to be physically very active and to contribute to many causes and other peoples' lives. We are grateful that his good health continued to the very end.'

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The Cockatoo
Congratulations, Alison !
Watering by Computer
Gardens' Field Trips to the Alps
What was in flower, March to July 2006
 President's and Director's Reports from the A.G.M.

The Cockatoo

Don Beer

It's not the sort of thing that Tom Green did, but ....

The cockatoo has a strident, uncultivated voice but this coarseness is misleading - it is a most respectable bird. Its habits are regular, in fact, its life is 'governed by routine', according to one naturalist.

Unlike many of its fellows, it has only the one mate during its breeding life - no playing around here. It does not gallivant during the day but rests pretty much in the one area. Of course it likes to eat out for dinner, and also for breakfast. In the evening it enjoys getting together with friends, always in the same place, even the same tree, with the same group.


These gatherings can produce considerable merriment; some of it no doubt not quite innocent, for the cockatoo is a very competent mimic. It may go off for a long holiday during the season but returns to the same spot, even to the same house or hollow, to raise its children. It will maintain its home very effectively, carrying out repairs from year to year - the neighbours can never complain about the state of the house next door. Its reward for this very proper lifestyle is that it lives for an unusually long time - or perhaps it just seems that way.

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Congratulations, Alison


Until the recent AGM, the Friends had only one life member, Anne Joyce, who played a key role in establishing the Friends in 1990 and in ensuring that we had a healthy future.

Last year the Friends' Council decided to implement its recently formulated policy on Life Membership of the Friends, that it be offere3d to members for the 'provision of exceptional service as a Friend of the ANBG'. We have several worthy candidates for this honour within the ranks of our volunteers but Council unanimously agreed that Alison McKenzie should be approached to see whether she was happy to accept it. She is happy, and said at the AGM that she felt very privileged; everyone who knows her is very pleased too. The citation on her Certificate of Life Membership says :

In appreciation of your outstanding service as an active volunteer for the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens since its establishment in 1990.

The Friends particularly appreciate your organisational skills, your practical common-sense and 'no fuss' approach to the many tasks you undertake and your consistent and warm hearted willingness to help and encourage other volunteers within the Gardens, especially the Volunteer Guides.

To accompany her certificate, Alison was also given a gold parking permit for the Gardens.

Congratulations, Alison !

Long may your contribution to the work of the Friends continue.

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Watering by Computer

Paul Janssens

The ANBG irrigation system was updated in 2006 with the installation of a new computerised central irrigation system, Irrigation Central Control (ICC). This system comprises a central computer which is radio linked to 15 controllers located throughout the gardens.

Previously the gardens were watered by fifteen independent, stand alone controllers that staff programmed for the areas of gardens that they maintain. This 'old' style system had many limitations in effective water management. The controllers operated independently from each other and did not take account of water pressure deficiencies across the ANBG site. Nor did it turn sprinklers off when rain occurred and it offered little in reporting how much water was used in various sections and vegetation types throughout the gardens.

The new ICC system is a tool that offers best practice irrigation management. It has its own weather station which measures daily evaporation and rainfall (whenever that falls from the sky). If we have rain occurring during the night, when irrigation programs are running, the system will pause or shut down any irrigation that night.

There are ten water flow meters installed into the irrigation pipe network. These measure the amount of flow through various sections of the gardens and assist with managing pressure problems. They collect data on how much water was applied to various sections. These water meters will also pick up any leaks within the system and send an SMS out to one of our on-call trade staff to alert them to a problem. When the meters were first installed they detected a leak in the Rainforest Gully of about 500 litres per hour or 12 kilolitres per day. This leak has now been fixed, thanks to the new system.

Staff can operate sprinklers with a portable hand held radio to test sprinklers. This is very efficient compared to the old way of either having two staff testing sprinklers or visitors being accidentally watered when sprinklers were being tested.

There is more work required on the irrigation pipe network and to source alternative water for irrigation, so I will provide more information on this in future newsletters.

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Gardens' Field Trips in the Alps

Joe McAuliffe

Short Alpine Herbfield is the most specialised alliance of the alpine herbfields. It is characterised by Plantago gracialis, Neopaxia australasica, Caltha introloba and snow-patch mosses, amongst other species. Back when cattle freely grazed the Australian Alps the short alpine herbfields suffered extensive damage. Later rehabilitation and stabilisation efforts failed to successfully re-establish the alliance.

Chionogentias muelleriana ssp. alpestris

Today, and somewhat unexpectedly, the short alpine herbfields have not only failed to recolonise former habitat but are continuing to decline. It is probable that climate change is a major contributor to this.

           Pentachondra pumila
The ANBG is currently investigating opportunities to further advance both our knowledge of short alpine herbfields and ways in which ex-situ collections can help lead us to further understand what the climate change impacts are on this beautiful and highly threatened alliance.

Photos : Joe McAuliffe

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What was in Flower, March to July, 2006


These photos are of plants described in "What's in Flower this Week", compiled for many years by Barbara Daly. Numbers in square brackets are the Sections in the Gardens where the plants can be found. Ask in the Visitor information Centre for a map.

1.    17 March    Eremophila christoperi   [302]   Photo by D. Greig

2.    4 April      Hemiandra pungens   [100A]   Photo by Murray Fagg

3.    15 April     Eucalyptus landsdowneana   [15R]   Photo by Murray Fagg

4.    28 April    Anigozanthos 'Bush Glow'   [174, 210]   Photo by A. Lyne

5.    5 May       Myoporum floribundum    [ 15R]   Photo by Murray Fagg

6.    12 May      Acronychia littoralis   [104, 114]   Photo by A. Lyne

7.    19 May      Lechenaultia biloba   [174]   Photo by Murray Fagg

8.    26 May     Draqcophyllum secundum   [191]   Photo by Murray Fagg

9.    2 June      Hakea laurina   [20]   Photo by D. Greig

10.  16 June     Dryandra quercifolia   [100C]   Photo by Murray Fagg

11.  23 June     Darwinia meeboldii   [174]   Photo by Murray Fagg

12.  14 July     Grevillea rhyolitica subsp rhyolitica   [191H]   Photo by Murray Fagg

13.  21 July     Baeckea crassifolia   155]   Photo by A. Lyne

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