Monday, 25 March 2013

Sanctuary in the City Botanic Gardens

I loathe the city; the noise, the smell, the crazy-eyed zombie shoppers, the traffic and the cigarette smoke has me close to conniptions.  At some point in time; however, it's the only place that things are available and a trip to the city becomes requisite.  Alas, Thursday was one of those days and a survival plan was in order:

  1. Write a list of everything that needs to be done or purchased in the city so you don't have to go back for another six months
  2. Plan a lunch meeting with hubby (who, poor thing, has to work there) so there's something to look forward to for the both of you
  3. Catch the bus - this avoids using the car, helps decrease traffic and keeps you sane because you then don't have to negotiate surprise one way streets and the dreaded infestation of peak hour traffic
  4. Meet with someone who knows the city fairly well so they can direct you
  5. Plan an afternoon in the City Botanic Gardens to reassure yourself that the entire world hasn't been engulfed in a concrete and glass tsunami and to cleanse your lungs of the grit and grime
I won't elaborate on steps 1-4 as there's not much to tell.  They did their part in keeping me on track and sane.  Step 5 turned out to be one of the most interesting and informative afternoons I've had in the city since school excursions.

The council runs free volunteer guided tours of the City Botanic Gardens on a twice daily basis.  The guides are dedicated to the history and plants in the garden.  Being a weekday, the small tour group comprised two guides, a trainee guide and myself (running a tad late as usual).  I was immersed in a wealth of botanical, cultural and historical knowledge while exploring the gardens.  As you can see I had a very hard time culling the myriad photos.  There was so much to see so I recommend embarking on a tour if you've ever got a free day in the city and need to escape the consuming hordes.

Elephant apple blossom and tree (Dillenia indica).
he fruit pulp is edible and used in curries and chutney.
Elephant tree
The characteristic twisted appearance of the blue quondong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius).
Unfortunately they had finished fruiting.

Ficus sycomorus - yes this is the tree you may have read about Zacchaeus climbing.
It produces funny projections on its branches that fruit at the tips which are edible.
Flood markers from 1974 and 2011

Times are a-changing.
This is a green manure crop (lablab) that the gardeners will dig in before the spring planting.

The first ever commercially planted Macadamia (integrifolia).
It still produces a crop after more than 100 years.

Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra)
The cottony lining of the seeds pods was used in mattresses as a down substitute until synthetics came along.

Ginkgo biloba

Lady's slipper vine planted to commemorate the volunteer guides (past and present)
(Thunbergia mysorensis)
Tipuana tipu
Did you play with the seeds as helicopters when you were little?

Water fountain added by Walter Hill once Brisbane had reticulated water

Logwood tree (Haematoxylum campechianum)
If you've ever done science or histology  you'll be interested to know the blue dye is derived from the heartwood of this tree.

Tamarind flowers

Davidson's Plum  - I love tart foods so this was a hit with me, not so much for the guide.

Davidson's Plum (Davidsonia ?sp)
Qld Kauri (Agathis robusta) and robust it is!

Male cycad flower

Coral dredged from Moreton Bay - it's amazing to think there was once reef there.
Bunya "pine"
(Araucaria bidwillii)
A Japanese lantern donated a second time after the first was vandalised.


  1. Sympathies. We had to do a similar trip last weekend. Was not impressed this morning to realize I forgot one thing so we have to make another city trip next weekend lol.

    Gardens look lovely. We spent the afternoon at QAGOMA, which was also a good place to recover from the traffic :)

    1. Thank Jeni. There's always ONE thing! Groan. Makes me wonder how the women way out on the land managed to get all their groceries once a month. It'd be one hell of a list.

      GOMA often seems to have some fun stuff on display. Glad you liked it.


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