Celebrating 50 years with banksias

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Banksias in the new gardens. Photo: Helen Musa.

THE Australian National Botanic Gardens is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the opening of a garden dedicated to the native banksia wildflower. 

Opened this morning (October 21) by federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, the 2500 square metre garden was established using cutting-edge grafting technology, and required the construction of thermal walls to shield plants from Canberra’s chill and to absorb and radiate heat from the winter sun.

Photo: Helen Musa

“The banksia is closely linked with Australia’s biodiversity, culture and history,” Minister Ley said, adding, “the banksia is one our most iconic plant species and it is fitting that it now takes pride of place among the largest collection of Australian native plants in the world.”

“Banksias are ideally adapted to the Australian landscape, their fruits opening after fire. Native birds enjoy their nectar, and many parts of the plant have been eaten and used by Indigenous people for tens of thousands of years.”

Photo: Helen Musa

The new garden, close to the visitors’ centre and entry point, includes many threatened, unique and rarely cultivated species is intended to underline the role the gardens play in researching, protecting a propagating native plant species.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens, which was a dairy farm prior to its establishment half a century ago, now showcases more than 6300 species, representing one-third of Australia’s known native plants with more than 78,000 plants growing on site and each year welcomes 500,000 visitors.

 

 

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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