I attended a docent brown-bag luncheon/discussion session at South Coast Botanic Garden
earlier this week. Afterwards, I made the rounds of a few of my favorite areas and snapped some photos, focusing on two areas I haven't previously featured in blog posts.
The first is the Tropical Greenhouse. It's not fancy but I almost always haul kids through it when I conduct garden tours, enticing them with the opportunity to see carnivorous plants. It's warm and humid inside, although I'm not sure the humidity level is high enough to keep the pitcher plants happy as they seem to dry out easily.
|This photo was taken from the doorway looking to the back of the greenhouse. There's a mix of what many people would recognize as houseplants, as well as ferns, bromeliads, orchids, succulents and sub-tropical species. The purple plant spilling into the central path from the left is Tradescantia pallida (aka purple heart). The silvery plants hanging from the walls are Tillandsia usneoides (aka Spanish moss).|
|Clockwise from the upper left, featured plants include: Adenium obsesum (aka desert rose), noID bromeliad, Vriesea, Cordyline 'Miss Andrea', Dracena 'Limelight', and Nepenthes (aka pitcher plant)|
The second area is the Banyan Grove, the best place in the garden to visit on a warm day because it's always significantly cooler than the rest of the garden. It's also a great place to allow kids to run off steam climbing over the massive roots of the Moreton Bay figs (Ficus macrophylla
|Coming down the tram road, you can't miss the Banyan Grove on the left|
|There are over 20 Moreton Bay fig trees here. With canopies up to 150 feet wide, they provide dense shade and their fallen leaves blanket the ground, keeping the soil below relatively moist. In spring, the Clivias planted below the trees are covered in orange flowers.|
|The tree roots are massive and can extent a foot or more above ground in places. I've heard kids comment that sitting in the cavities between them feels like a bathtub.|
|The trees are native to Eastern Australia|
|Branches continually produce new adventitious roots, which stretch down until they reach the soil to form another leg in the tree's huge root system. The photo on the left shows a small root stemming from the tree's trunk. The photo on the right shows a fully-formed root, already firmly connected to the soil below.|
On the other side of the road, there's another species of fig the docents fancifully call the Ghost Tree (Ficus petiolaris
|Its yellow bark is natural and it stands out dramatically from the other banyan trees surrounding it|
One of the docents has devoted a lot of time and energy to cleaning up the Garden of the Senses so I stopped to check it out too. This is also a regular stop on school tours because it gives kids an opportunity to touch and smell plants; however, some of the plants had died out and others were so overgrown they swamped everything around them. Signs no longer matched the plants in many cases. Our industrious docent Kay is working hard to put things right.
|She cleaned up one bed of herbs and planted Rudbeckia (coneflowers) to add color and interest (top photo). She also tidied up plants like the exuberant Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena, bottom).|
I made only a few other quick stops to snap photos before heading home to construction noise.
|This Opuntia in the Desert Garden was covered with prickly pears|
|Floral color in the Volunteer Garden is muted this time of year but, clockwise from the top, I found: Physostegia virginiana (aka obedient plant), Anemone hupehensis japonica, and 2 tree-sized hardy Hibiscus in bloom. I'm counting the appearance of the Japanese anemones as another sign that fall may be arriving early this year.|
|Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun' is still going strong across the road from the rose garden but what really impressed me here was how well the sweet potato vine (Ipomea batatas) was doing as a groundcover|
|The Leucadendrons and Aeoniums at the entrance/exit area were also looking good, even in the glare of the mid-day sun|
The botanic garden is relatively quiet this time of year and the cooler-than-average summer temperatures make it a great retreat from the chaos of our home remodel, although that's been stalled at several intervals and I'm getting frustrated by that. While I long for the peace and quiet of a construction-free zone, I also want the other half of our house back before Christmas!
Best wishes for a peaceful weekend.
All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party