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Australia’s Botanic Gardens: Tracing the Past and Anticipating the Future


Gardens such as the Western Australian Botanic Garden increasingly showcase native plants. Credit: Shutterstock

Can we justify the maintenance of water-starved botanical gardens in an era of climate change and rising water prices?

Gardens like these may no longer be suited to climate change in Australia – if they ever were.

It’s easy to say that the Australian Botanic Gardens are a relic of an empire filled with European flora, an increasingly uncomfortable reminder of British colonialism.

But gardeners and gardeners are not rigid. They are fundamentally variable entities.

Historical overview

Most Australian botanical gardens were established in the 19th century, beginning with the garden in Sydney Domain circa 1816.

The oldest gardens served multiple functions.

They were food gardens. Test gardens were used to determine the suitability of crops and vegetables introduced from Europe and other colonies.

Nostalgia, European ideas of beauty, and a desire to test the varieties offered meant that the botanical gardens were planted with trees familiar to British visitors. Oaks, elms and conifers, together with allied species of flowers and shrubs, have all been grown in British private and public gardens.

The introduced plants and trees were distributed to settlers as part of acclimatization – the introduction of exotic plants intended to transform the Australian landscape into a more familiar landscape and make it “productive”.

The Botanic Gardens have also reflected this exchange by collecting, cultivating and distributing internationally Australian native plants deemed useful or beautiful.

Finally, and The most controversialThey were public places.

Australian public parks approved Then new ideas of European social reformers and progressive politicians. These gardens were seen as providing healthy air for the citizens of increasingly crowded cities. It was also built on ancient ideas of the commons and of providing a common public space for the entertainment of the poorer classes.

These different uses sometimes conflict. It was Ferdinand Müller, Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens It can be said that she is displaced of his role because his vision of the garden was an educational plant nursery. Public demand turned into a desire for a garden that was more aesthetically pleasing and usable.

Addressing the climate emergency

Watering trees and ornamental plants from very different climates has always been a problem for these gardens.

As early as 1885, Richard Schomburgh in his role as Director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Tell nature about the drought which afflicted that town and the severe effect it had “on the many trees and shrubs of the Botanical Garden, natives of colder countries”.

The history and future of Australian Botanic Gardens

Australian specimens were often collected by botanical gardens and sent to Europe. Credit: Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

As the climate shifts, droughts, changes in the water level, and climate change have added uncertainty to the plight of these thirsty trees, and some died.

Geelong Botanical Gardens, established in 1851, Provide an example Water demand and work done to retain the historic trees, using waste water to maintain these plantings. The garden now also contains a “21st Century Garden” that focuses on sustainability, including Serious Indigenous People acaciaAnd eremophilasalt bush and herbs.

Today’s botanical gardens are still test gardens, and now they are important sites for global climate change research. They demonstrate what not to plant, but also that not all introduced plants are unsuitable for Australian conditions.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens presents a Plant selection guide Where residents can check if the plant is suitable for their local conditions.

Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens has a Displaying a “Climate-Ready” RoseIt’s a rehash of the perished rose collection, which modifies exotic farming to accommodate climate change, without throwing away the baby with (diminishing) bathwater.

Some European, Mediterranean, northern and southern plants are well suited to the Australian climate, or robust enough to adapt to changes that include increasing dryness and heat in many areas, but also the possibility of increasing humidity in previously arid regions.

Colonial memorials

he was there latest trend To erase what reminds of our colonial past.

Do the best lessons come from removing colonial memorials, or from rewriting their meaning? Draw gigantic trees and exotic gardens, or use them to prove and examine the assumptions and mistakes of the past, as well as to design the future?

Various garden exhibitions such as sightseeing tours Garden photography gallerydo the latter, introducing the problematic history as well as the future possibilities of the space.

Many parks now include it as well Acknowledgment and Indigenous ContentHeritage tours, tours, and talks by indigenous owners to show the long history, naming, and uses of native plants that overturn their colonial sites.

The changing landscape

Australian Botanic Gardens have changed a lot over the past 200 years.

botanical gardens Adapts to climate change, replacing dying, stressed trees and outdated gardens with hardier varieties and new possibilities, preserving endangered species and serving as proof-of-concepts for climate impacts.

For decades, state and national parks such as Western Australian Botanic Garden and regional parks such as Mildura Indoor botanical gardens She installed original, original, or climate-focused gardens, in addition to or instead of the traditional European style of the heritage.

The Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand provide natural scenery Succession Toolkit: a guide to mapping what is doomed to fail, what needs to be preserved most and what modifications are most relevant to our botanical gardens in the future.

Finally, we do not need to uproot the introduced trees that are not hardy: climate change will gradually remove them for us.

Introduction to the conversation

This article has been republished from Conversation Under Creative Commons Licence. Read the The original article.Conversation

the quote: The History and Future of the Australian Botanic Gardens (2023, 3 May) Retrieved 3 May 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-history-future-australia-botanic-gardens.html

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