When I began this blog I wrote a post about the Arboretum in Canberra (Arboretum, 100 trees… in 100 forests)..here is a photo from that post showing this beautiful place in the early morning.
Amongst the newly growing forests in the Arboretum is one of the best kept secrets, a regional botanic garden called STEP (Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park)
This area has been designed to represent the native plants and trees typical to the Southern Highlands. These areas have forests, woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands.
Unlike all the other forests in the Arboretum, this forest has an understory of shrubs, herbs, grasses and ferns. As we walked down the path from the highest area to the wetlands I’ve concentrated on the flowering understory for photos, but just occasionally there is a lovely spring flowering Eucalypt..
…. this one is called Eucalyptus dalrympleana (Mountain Gum)
and a flowering Wee Jasper Grevillea ..
….. further down the path the open woodland area is being developed, the clumps of grass are called Poa sieberiana
Early the following morning I went back to take more photos, and I was reminded of my childhood in Africa ….. walking along paths lined by soft green grasses, and watching birds skimming through them…but in this botanical garden there are street lights in the distance to remind me that we are very near a carpark, and the expressway to the city is not too far away.
The only bird happy to have his photo taken is this cockatoo, who was very busy eating the tips of the grasses.
Here are some of the colourful spring flowering native plants and shrubs
and my all time favourite is this tiny flower, perfect in every way!
The frosty hollow area has species that need frost and cold air ..a favourite tree of mine is the snow gum (Eucalypt)
There is a small wetland for the plants suitable for this type of habitat.
This attractive rock amphitheatre has been constructed to use as an educational space. Over time the plan is to have regular groups of students to learn about the plants native to this area.
The Arboretum provides water tanks for STEP, and these are used to irrigate the fledging trees and shrubs.
Here is one of the dedicated volunteers watering the plants, the netting over his hat is a most efficient way of keeping the annoying flies away from his face (a sure sign summer is on the way).
The volunteers working on the STEP program are an inspiration. They are full of enthusiasm and very knowledgeable about all the plants that they see growing and developing every week.
When we arrived they were just packing up after a shared morning tea under the gum trees. What better way to spend a lovely warm spring day, being productive and useful and sharing that with like-minded people.
STEP is having an open afternoon with volunteers to show visitors around STEP and answer any questions about growing native plants in Canberra on Sunday 29th November between 12.30 – 3.00.
12 Replies to “Stepping out at the Arboretum”
Lovely post. So nice to see free roaming parrots and pleasant vistas. Great ideas for arid gardens in the US. Enjoy your spring. Keep those photos coming! Diane
Glad you liked the post…the arboretum is a lovely place to visit. I’m trying to take as many photos as possible in spring because once summer comes the Canberra region gets very dry and brown-looking. Thanks for your comments Diane, always appreciated.
It looks like a beautiful place to wander. The scenery around there is lovely, as in your first shot. I’ve never seen a Eucalyptus in bloom before and I love the cockatoo!
Thanks Jessica, so nice to get feedback from another parts of the world…yes, the Eucalyptus trees are at their best at this time of the year. The cockatoos have big personalities and are very much a part of life in Canberra. Oh the joys of blogging, I am just sitting here with a cup of tea reading your post on thatching your cottage. Very interesting…
will you be joining the volunteers?
Not at this stage, but a friend of ours works there…
Looks like a wonderful arboretum. That Dianella is a charmer! I have never seen a picture of Eucalyptus blooms before.
Yes, the Dianella is lovely. Glad you could see a flowering Eucalyptus for the first time…Jessica from Rusty Duck said the same. My day is made!
What an interesting post because the trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, and handsome bird are so different from our landscape. I love the beautiful rock seating arrangements – reminds me of our stone walls. 🙂
Thanks Judy, lovely to be able to exchange stories and photos across the world!
I work at the Arboretum and love your blog post. Terrific photos and descriptions, and I can feel your enjoyment! The STEP team have probably seen your post already but I will email them about it just in case. You have some excellent photos and I wonder if you would let me use your photos in some of our communications – perhaps brochures, website, social media? FYI, STEP are having an open afternoon with volunteers to show visitors around STEP and answer any questions about growing native plants in Canberra on Sunday 29th November between 12.30pm and 3pm. Thanks again Gerrie, I enjoyed reading your post very much – it expresses the beauty of the Arboretum and the hidden gem that is STEP.
Lynne Sealie, Communications Officer, National Arboretum Canberra.
Thanks very much Lynne, the Arboretum and STEP are a wonderful part of Canberra.