The Australia National Botanic Gardens is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the official opening of one of the largest gardens in Australia dedicated to a national symbol of biodiversity – the native banksia wildflower.
Using cutting edge grafting technology, staff established a 2500 square metre garden that required the construction of thermal walls to shield plants from Canberra’s chill and to absorb and radiate heat from the winter sun.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said 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.
“The banksia is closely linked with Australia’s biodiversity, culture and history,” Minister Ley said.
“Helping people understand and celebrate the importance of plants like the banksia in supporting native wildlife is an important part of protecting our environment and I congratulate garden staff.
“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.
“The new garden, which includes many threatened, unique and rarely cultivated species, underlines the important role the Australian National Botanic Gardens plays in researching, protecting an propagating native plant species.
The ANBG showcase more than 6,300 species, representing one-third of Australia’s known native plants with more than 78,000 plants growing on site.
“It is the only place in the world where you can see this level of diversity of Australian native plants in one location and each year around 500,000 visitors come to learn, relax and recharge,” Minister Ley added.
“The fact that it was dairy farm prior to its establishment half a century ago is a reminder of the how the passion and dedication of individuals can regenerate our native environment.”