The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney

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Walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

These gardens are so perfectly located- right in the heart of Sydney, a few minutes walk from all the big views of the Opera House and the Harbour.  We were walking through, rather than visiting, but there were so many fabulous plants and trees to be seen, that I was frequently dawdling and photographing- and we did have time for a quick much-needed cup of tea in the tearoom, near the shop, which also got a fly-through.  So, what follows is not a studied look at the botanical offerings, but rather what we saw as we walked through, but none the worse for that.

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Actinotis helianthi, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

This Actinotis helianthi positively sparkled with shimmering grey foliage, and these spikey, upright white daisy flowers.  It is a Sydney area native.

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Alloxylon flammeum, Red Silky Oak, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018
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Better photograph from Brisbane, Alloxylon flammeum, Red Silky Oak, October 2018

Alloxylon flammeum is a stunning medium-sized tree, with all of the Australian chutzpah that native shrubs seem to have- dazzling colour, spidery form and good tree-shape.  In the wild, this tree would be much taller and is becoming endangered.  The world would be a poorer place without it.

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Calliandra, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

Another flowering tree with chutzpah, Calliandra, no labelling help other than the species name, is astoundingly from the pea family.  These powderpuff flowers are wonderful, fine and delicate, but make an astounding show to European eyes.

This magnificent clump of Candelabra Aloe was just beside the ladies loo and the Shop.  It was the best clump that we saw in the whole garden, and perfectly positioned for a close-up, even if it did look as if I was stalking someone into the loo.

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Candelabra Aloe, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018
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Detail of candelabra Aloe, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

More often seen as a yellow cultivar apparently, this Aloe ‘Southern Cross’ was definitely labelled as such.

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Aloe Southern Cross, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

Dietes robinsoniana comes from the Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, and this particular Dietes is not only stately and tall, but has the most lavish flowers of the genus.  It was collected in 1869 on Lord Howe Island by Charles Moore, the Director of the Botanical Gardens in Sydney,

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Dietes robinsoniana, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

Melbourne had the flame-red Erythrina x sykesii that we saw later , but Sydney had Erythrina latissima– perhaps a less flambuoyant tree, but nonetheless very striking.  The flowerheads are smaller and a paler red heading coppery-brown colour, and the leaves appear after flowering.

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Erythrina latissima, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

I am almost certain that this rather gorgeous, golden-yellow centred creamy white flower comes from a Michelia, a shrub closely related to the Magnolia.  But no label!

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Unknown Michelia, I think, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

This was a very cheery plant- Isopogon anemonifolius.  This was a junior plant, it is closely related to the Grevillea family and will make a wide shrub of 2m or so.  You can see the family connection in the pinnate leaves and the flower shape.

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Isopogon anemonifolius, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018

And at the end of my Sydney photo pile, I think that this is a cousin of the very first plant in this post, but I will stand corrected by any more knowledgable folk.  I’d lay money on it being an Alloxylon, possibly pinnatum.

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Another Alloxylon, maybe pinnatum, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, October 2018


6 thoughts on “The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney

    1. Good heavens! Hi Gill, you won’t remember me, but I visited your nursery several times with Cherrie and Derek Stubbs, and have quite a few of your plants going strong! I love what Imogen and Kate have done next door…we are back now from Australia but will remember your suggestions! Please do follow my blog if you feel up to it…Best wishes, Alison


  1. Fabulous. I’m on my way back from Australia, having been here for the last eight weeks. It’s such a wonderful country and of course I had to revisit Sydney Botanic Garden. It is so wonderfully located it’s great to be able to wander through it on many separate occasions while in the city. And I always seemed to find new areas I’d missed. What frustrates me intensely is seeing all those fabulous plants, growing happily in the ground, which barely survive for me under glass!


  2. Part of the arboretum at UC Santa Cruz is for Australian plants, but those that were selected are not the most impressive, and not many are very happy there. It is an excellent concept, but plants that are happier with the local climate should have been selected. It is hard to say. I am sure that those who selected the plants knew what they were doing, so there might be more to it than just climate.


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