To The Sydney Botanic Gardens

The early autumn weather was warm, but overcast. There was no sign of rain, so I decided to go ahead with my day trip to the city’s Botanic Gardens to see what muses presented themselves to my attention.

On the way over I stopped by the nearby Art Gallery. There are three young Wollemi Pines gracing the glassed outlook of the Art Gallery Members’ Room. The Wollemi Pines (they are not actually pines, but descendants of an older conifer family called Araucariaceae) are of an extremely ancient lineage stretching back as far as the age of the dinosaurs. They are primitive, graceful trees festooned with long, snaking branches each bearing a fringe of spiny, rich dark green leaves.

Three conifer trees

Wollemi Pines

They are modest trees, seeming very dusty and ordinary to the casual glance, until one notes there are few trees like these. But they have survived and seem to view the modern world of smog and concrete jungle and cars with placid indifference, perhaps knowing that this age (like all others they have seen) will one day pass.

The entrance to the Botanical Gardens is graced with a

Fountains and cacti at Botanical Gardens Entrance.

Gardens Entrance

refreshing puzzle of ponds with little fountains and against the nearby wall, distinctive Barrel Cacti plants preside in a row.

Large Hoop Pine Tree

Hoop Pine

Once in the gardens, a large Hoop Pine (native of New Guinea, QLD and NSW) has swaying clumps of fingered pine needles hanging from its branches.

A large Port Jackson Fig Tree with garden seat in foreground.

Port Jackson Fig Tree

Trunk of Port Jackson Fig Tree.

Port Jackson Fig

A majestic writhing Port Jackson Fig provides shade for myriads of fleshy Bromeliads living under its shadow and a comfortable seat for visitors.

Mexican Bald Cypress tree trunk with branches and leaves.

Bald Cypress

A Mexican Bald Cypress has a trunk like grooved shale and from its branches hang weeping light green fingers of tiny, feathery leaves.

An old QLD Bottle Tree.

Bottle Tree

A QLD Bottle Tree looks like a paunchy old man about to go off for a walk.

 

Banksia tree blooms

Banksia Tree

Meanwhile, a group of banksia blooms sit on their seats of radiating leaves as if waiting for a conference to begin.

Trunk of large Flooded Gum Tree

Flooded Gum

This mighty tree, the Flooded Gum (or Rose Gum) occurs in North NSW to QLD and is a dominant tree in the tall wet forests and rainforests there.

Brazilian rainforest tree with large green leaves Chrysophyllum Imperiale

Chrysophyllum Imperiale

Chrysophyllum Imperiale. This tall tree with its distinctive large, pleated, almond-shaped leaves of a shiny dark green is a lone refugee of the disappearing rainforests of Brazil.

 

Further along the path I come across a nest-like Spiny-leaf Podcarp, a Australian conifer cousin of a nearby Wollemi Pine growing in complete harmony with it.

Nest fern-like conifer plant the Spiny-leaf Podcarp

Spiny-leaf Podcarp

Johnstone River Almond - small tree native to Australia.

Johnstone River Almond

This handsome young tree is a Johnstone River Almond.  Bearing edible fruit once eaten by Aboriginal peoples, it is a native of the North East QLD rainforests.

 

A park with lawn in foreground and pond and island with palms.

Botanical Garden grounds

Here I paused to genuflect on the calm, verdant, placid scene of

the Botanical Gardens and how it has and is providing rest, information and relaxation for generations of people as well as offering sanctuary for many precious, endangered plants.

Large circular yellow sandstone monument in Neo-Classical tradition.

Replica Ancient Greek Monument.

This totally dysfunctional looking thing nearby is a yellow sandstone replica of an Ancient Greek monument, erected at Athens in 330 BC, before which a certain Lysicrates received the Victor’s Tripod at the Festival of Bacchus. So now I know. Around the top of the monument there is a strange frieze of figures of men metamorphosing into beasts although much weathered away.

Here below is garden life on the banks of a pond completely

Banks of a pond of Lotus plants with pink flowering bushes and nearby tree branches.

Banks of the Lotus Pond

taken over by rampant Lotus plants.  The tree in the background with its lovely sheening grey and ash branches is a Water Gum (family Myrtaceae) from the forests of the East Coast of Australia – from Maryborough in QLD to East Gippsland in Victoria.

White marble neo-classical statue of a draped woman by the side of mossy canal.

Spring

Then I came across this charming Neo-classical statue of Spring by a mossy canal – ah, but it is now Autumn!

This is a Floss Silk Tree – indigenous from Brazil to Argentina,

Floss Silk Tree

Floss Silk Tree

a very large spreading tree bearing beautiful soft pink flowers, mostly fallen with the late summer season.

Grove of Senegal Date Palms with epiphyte Bromeliads living on trunks.

Senegal Date Palms

Here are clusters of the fleshy, epiphyte Bromeliads clinging to the trunks of these slim, graceful Senegal Date Palms (from subtropical Africa and Madagascar).

So ends my jaunt for the day. I reluctantly took my leave and went home, but bearing lots of memories and a strange sense of renewal and serenity. People should do this more often.

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