The Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden showcases a large range of native trees and plants of Australia, including trees and shrubs from tropical Queensland down to Tasmania and wildflowers from the Victorian, NSW and Tasmanian highland regions. A West Australian native plants section is also being developed.
Located in Celia Parade, opposite the Men's Shed, I came across this delightful garden while on a casual bike ride around the area. It is quite obviously a labour of love as it is a beautiful and well-maintained space containing a number of different garden sections, with plants labelled and identified by signage.
It is interesting to learn that the garden has been developed and maintained by volunteers from the Shoalhaven Heads community. Officially opened in April 2011, (and originally known as the Curtis Park Arboretum), the garden now boasts hundreds of plants endemic to eastern and western Australia. The aim of the garden is to encourage the use of native plants in suburban gardens by showing what can be grown in Shoalhaven Heads and the types of plants that grow well in this area.
The garden features an attractive formal entry on Celia Parade set amongst the wildflowers and as you enter you will notice the enormous Bangalay Gum directly in front of you. To the left of the formal entry is the Bush Tucker Garden which contains a number of edible plants, usually found from Queensland to the Illawarra, such as native ginger, mulberry and elderberry, Illawarra and Davidsons plum and Midgen berry.
In the south-west corner of the garden, you will find the walk-through fernery as well as palms, orchids and epiphytes. While in the north-west corner there are native grasses and grass trees, grevilleas, Wollemi Pines, banksias and waratahs.
On the eastern side of the park is the Western Australia garden featuring plants from the south and south-west corner of Western Australia.
Within the garden, there are many little paths to follow and you will find plenty of other interesting features along the way including various sculptures, an interactive water feature, a sundial and seating. There is also a large sign containing information about the birds which visit the garden.
Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided walk through the garden which will take around 30 minutes. A Self-Guided Tour brochure is available from the Information Box located near the formal entry.