I am a writer living in Adelaide. I love food and travel.
Published May 13th 2017
Free tour of the garden with an expert guide
With some time to spare in the city, I decided to join in on the free guided walk at the Adelaide Botanic Garden. I am not much of a fan of anything botanical but this walk was surprisingly quite interesting and I would actually recommend it.
We met at the Visitor Information Centre at the Schomburgk Pavilion. The guide was already waiting for us there just before 10.30am. She was ready and excited to start showing us around the garden. After a quick introduction, she began the tour by pointing out the Santos Museum of Economic Botany and the SA Water Mediterranean Garden. Both are located just to the right and left of us, on either side of the Schomburgk Pavilion.
The Santos Museum of Economic Botany showcases a permanent collection of plants and their various uses in our lives. The building itself has also been restored featuring many of its original details. The SA Water Mediterranean Garden showcases plants from Mediterranean climates, just like ours, that conserve water during seasonal dry times. These plants adapt well and use water wisely.
We then began walking towards the Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden and the First Creek Wetland. The Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden is designed to educate children about where food comes from. Food does not come from the supermarket, as some children unfortunately think. It includes garden beds, pots, trays, climbing plant structures, fruit trees, compost, worms and working bench spaces. Their 'classroom' is enclosed in a basket weave dome.
The First Creek Wetland forms part of the water security plan and sustainability of the garden. It will hopefully be able to recover enough water from the aquifer for the garden's irrigation in years to come.
Next was a quick stroll through the International Rose Garden to the Bicentennial Conservatory. The Bicentennial Conservatory is an award-winning curvilinear-shaped building. It houses lowland rainforest plants from the northern parts of Australia.
Just outside the Bicentennial Conservatory, the guide pointed out an interesting plant to us - the sandpaper fig. It is a native species of fig tree and has rough sandpapery leaves. We were encouraged to touch it, and it indeed does feel like sandpaper. The story goes that these leaves were used as sandpaper by indigenous people to polish their wood.
Lastly was a wander across the Australian Forest. Another interesting plant was pointed out - the 'blu-tack' plant (a nickname given due to its very sticky pods). We were again encouraged to touch it, and it sure feels sticky indeed. This stickiness helps give its seedlings a fertiliser boost. How? Well, I will leave that for you to find out on the tour.