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Here you will find a calendar of Friends’ activities in the Gardens including Thursday Talks, social events, exhibitions and the ever-popular spring and autumn plant sales. In addition to events arranged by the Friends, we include some events arranged by the Gardens and by other organisations. A full list of events arranged by the Gardens is in their What's On webpage.

Thursday Talks are held at 12.30pm every Thursday from February to November in the Gardens’ Theatrette. Talks last for 1 hour. Admission is by gold coin donation. There is no need to book. Some other events do require booking – please see individual items.

See all lunchtime talks | See all the recent events

Event title Date Details
Tim the Yowie Man ‘Beyond the Bark: the hidden faces of Canberra’s trees’ Thursday, 5 February 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Tim the Yowie Man, Canberra Times journalist and cryptonaturalist, will reveal fascinating stories behind some of our trees. He will also take us on a journey through some of nature’s little-known secrets in the Canberra Region.

Professor Susanne von Caemmerer ‘Improving the productivity of the world’s rice crop’ Thursday, 12 February 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Susanne, ANU researcher, will describe the work of the international C4 Rice Consortium to identify and engineer genes necessary to install C4 photosynthesis in rice to greatly improve the yield of this crop, which is essential to meeting the world’s growing demands for food.

Dr Susan Serjeantson ‘The Banksia Story’ Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Sue, Convenor of the Thursday Talks Committee, will explore the history of discovery of banksias. For some years, Sue has been on a mission to photograph Australia’s banksias in the wild; this work in progress has led to many adventures in places such as Litchfield National Park, N.T Banksia dentata), in the StirlinRanges W.A. (B. oreophila) and on Fraser Island Qld. (B. robur). Sue will describe the history of European discovery of the banksias and their naming.

Twilight Dinner 2015 Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 6:30pm

The Friends 2015 Twilight Dinner will be held at Cafe Floresco in the Gardens. This dinner will be a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Friends. Our guest speaker will be Associate Prof Don Beer, formerly of the University of New England. Don is a member of the Friends of the ANBG and a volunteer guide. Don's topic will be '... already a force to be admired' (28 August 1990): the creation and subsequent history of the Friends of the ANBG. See the dinner invitation for full details. Also the dinner menu.

Dr Richard Groves ‘My Life in Weeds’ Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Richard, CSIRO, will explore the potential for biological control of Spiny emex, thistles, Bitou bush and Bridal creeper. Richard started work at CSIRO Plant Industry to research biological control of skeleton weed (Chondrilla juncea). He has also been associated with research on Spiny emex, thistles, Bitou bush and Bridal creeper in relation to their potential biological control. Some aspects of these programs will be presented and a case made for enhancing research on this biological approach to weed management in southern Australia.


Ben Walcott ‘Some notable gardens of England, France and Spain’ Thursday, 5 March 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Following a European tour in 2014, ANBG Friends, Ben and Ros Walcott will highlight the diversity of garden styles in these countries. The Walcotts moved from the USA to Canberra in 2003 and soon became Friends of ANBG. They have always been interested in gardens and have visited many in US, UK, Europe, Morocco and Australia over the years. They have developed their own superb garden in Red Hill, drawing on garden experiences locally and from further afield.

Sally Barnes ‘Parks Australia – Strategic Visions’ Thursday, 12 March 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Sally, Director of National Parks, will discuss the Vision and Strategic Direction of Parks Australia, with particular attention to the ANBG’s programs and partnerships. Her talk will focus on ANBG endangered species programmes and partnerships, the ANBG Master Plan process, the importance of volunteers and the ANBG Business model.

Dr Penny Olsen ‘An Eye for Nature: The Life and Art of William T. Cooper’ Thursday, 19 March 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Natural History artist William T. Cooper has been described by David Attenborough as ‘arguably one of the greatest of all bird artists’. Bill’s biographer, Penny Olsen, talks about his surprising path in life, his development as an artist and his close collaboration with his wife, botanist Wendy Cooper. Bird art may be Bill’s claim to fame, but his landscapes and botanical art evidence a much broader talent.

8th Art in the Gardens with Friends Exhibition Saturday, 21 March 2015 - 9:30am to Sunday, 19 April 2015 - 4:30pm

The 8th ‘Art in the Gardens with Friends’ exhibition will open on Saturday 21 March 2015. Paintings will be on display in the Visitor Centre between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm every day until Sunday 19 April. All of the paintings to be exhibited will portray native Australian plants many of which can be found in the ANBG Gardens.  Most of the paintings will be for sale and a percentage of all Exhibition sales will go to support the Friends activities

Dr Sarah Ryan More than Food Miles: Choosing Food for a Lower Environmental Footprint Thursday, 26 March 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

The transport of food from paddock to shop is only one source of its impact on the environment. Between the energy embodied in fertiliser to food that is purchased and not eaten, there are many steps that contribute to the environmental footprint of our food. The talk will outline lifecycles of some foods commonly eaten in Canberra, and point to the steps where consumers can exercise a choice to reduce their footprint.