The Australian Garden

Dr Hill Hassall, founder of the tuberculosis hospital, would be pleased to know that thirty-one different eucalyptus species, famed for their ability to alleviate respiratory problems, thrive at VBG today.

By Ventnor Botanic Garden

Eucalyptus australiaVentnor Botanic Garden

Australian Garden
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Curator of Ventnor Botanic Garden, Chris Kidd introduces the garden.

The Australian indigenous populations used eucalyptus for spiritual and physical cleansing. Equally, eucalyptus oil is widely known for its medicinal properties.

Following the Ventnor Method, we allow eucalyptus leaf litter, a natural weed deterrent, to decay in place. The mysterious arrival of a truffle which only grows on eucalyptus in Australia attests to our ability to create a habitat, and not just a collection of plants.

Tree AustraliaVentnor Botanic Garden

Most likely tracked in from Australia, this spore “bio-tourism” is on the increase globally much aided by human action.

Fern JungleVentnor Botanic Garden

Another prime example of plant migration, discovered by our volunteer biologist, Dr Colin Pope is Tmesipteris or hanging fork fern which likely hitchhiked in on our Tasmanian tree ferns.

Fern FrongVentnor Botanic Garden

Prostanthera, a small tree native to Tasmania which sprouted from a seed lodged in one of the tree ferns years after arrival, demonstrates two things: authentic provenance of our specimens and the impact of the Ventnor Method. 

BottlebrushVentnor Botanic Garden

Bottle brushes and tea trees are planted densely in the valley ringed by eucalyptus to resemble the scrubby habitat of the riparian flora of New South Wales. Riparian denotes this unique ecology where short-lived, seasonal rivers “rip” through a normally dry landscape.

Tree FernsVentnor Botanic Garden

Deep in the valley of the Australian Garden is a dell of tree ferns. In the wild they are so thick that you would rarely get such a close perspective of these ancient plants. 

FernVentnor Botanic Garden

In Tasmania there is a saying, “Where tree ferns grow no human foot has trod.” We have aimed to present Tasmanian tree ferns in their characteristic density while still allowing you to get up close and personal with them.

Ferns on Bob's BridgeVentnor Botanic Garden

If you scan the horizon from the canopy to the understory, every plant is true to New South Wales. One can perceive a visceral, emotional reaction as people from New South Wales become conscious of their home environment in our Garden half way around the world.

Banksia ericifolia orange cone australiaVentnor Botanic Garden

While in the Australian Garden you may want to introduce yourself to Banksia integrifolia ssp. monticola. Banksia needs heat to release its seeds. In fact many of the Australian myrtles share this need. 

Aboriginal Art AustraliaVentnor Botanic Garden

The aboriginal people practised regular controlled burning to flush out game which helped propagate the myrtles, whereas European settlers only had an accidental relationship with fire. 

Without the aboriginal patterns the bush grew higher and the hotter fires roasted, rather than released, the seed. One can only reflect on this ecosystem change witnessing the dramatic 2020 bush fires in Eastern Australia.

Eucalyptus australiaVentnor Botanic Garden

The themes of globalisation, climate change, extinction, and the plight of indigenous people are all told in the rock drawings and plants at VBG. It is increasingly important in today’s society that we learn from this history.

Go beyond the garden

See the natural Australia for yourself

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