A City Oasis; Adelaide Botanic Park and Gardens

in hive-148441 •  9 months ago  (edited)

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When the children were younger and we lived a bit nearer the city, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens were one of our favourite places to visit on the weekend. Entry is free and there are open grassy areas where children can run around and play Frisbee or ball games. It's something of a little oasis in the city centre, the only issue can be finding parking when it gets busy.

The Botanic Park

Plane Tree Drive offers paid ticket parking, but if you don't mind the walk you could park on the streets further down the River Torrens and enjoy a riverside stroll to the gardens and park. This was what we did on our last visit. We parked on a side street near St. Peter's Billabong and followed the river as it flowed west, taking us under the busy highway. On the other side a footbridge takes you across the river where you can go up and cross through the Botanic Park to reach the gardens.

We were heading in on a cooler day, following a record breaking heatwave which broke 47°C (117°C). We didn't know what to expect with the gardens, how well any of the plants had survived the furnace, but even as we crossed the river clues that something hadn't survived it, reached our noses. We discovered on our return to the river that, sadly, the local grey-headed flying-fox population had taken a hit and their bodies were dotted around, decomposing.

The Botanic Park is an expanse of lawn encircled (or should that be entriangled?) By Plane Tree Drive, named for the plane trees which edge the park. It's a great opportunity for picnics and games which require plenty of space and the varied trees dotted throughout this arboretum offer shade from the summer sun.


There is also a collection of Moreton Bay figs which line the Botanic Gardens side of the park, their huge size and striking, buttress roots making them a memorable and enticing attraction.


The park was obtained by the Botanic Gardens in 1866 and the development of it began in 1873. Rather than planting pretty flower displays there, the focus was to go on trees, planting them for education, display and preservation. They retained as many of the existing river red gums as they could, but few remain today. They are fiercely protected and known as the remnant trees.

The Botanic Gardens

The main entrance from the park side is the Friends Gate, where North Lodge, the home of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, is located.


The Friends are a volunteer group which help with guided tours, information and raising money to support the gardens and keep it free and educational for all. A noble cause, but it was my love of old architecture which first drew my attention to the building.


From the Friends Gate, walking straight ahead leads you down a pathway lined with more fig trees. A lovely avenue, where I got distracted and failed to photograph, or was perhaps too busy trying to catch up to my family who were on a mission. The gardens are large, with lots to see, but there are plenty of signs to guide visitors and help them decide where they want to go next.


For my family I think it was somewhere to sit down and eat and it was a rather lovely spot they found.


My husband and eldest daughter weren't feeling like exploring much. The weather may have cooled a little, but it was still very warm and with the cloud cover it was feeling muggy too. If they'd have joined us, they could have found reprieve in the air conditioned Museum of Economic Botany.


Very little plant life appeared to have suffered greatly during the heatwave, a testament to how well the gardens have been established and are cared for. We didn't head into the museum straight away, instead braving the heat for a bit longer to explore the gardens a bit more. However, I did pop in briefly after admiring this bush outside.





Feeling a little cooler from the quick air conditioned visit, I went to find my youngest daughter, Izzy, photographing by the lily pond. She was trying to sneak up for some close ups on a dragonfly, but it kept moving away from her.




We didn’t cover much of the gardens that day, but it wasn't a day where you'd want to be rushing anyway. Originally Izzy wasn't that interested in the museum, but by the time we'd visited the Palm House…





…strolled through the Cactus and Succulent Garden…





…and tried to find shade in the Garden of Health...






…my mention that the museum was air conditioned suddenly made it the desired place to be. With a trip to the toilet on the cards, our route back to the museum took us via the café kiosk next to the pond. The outside dining area is shaded by a huge tree and surrounded by the plants that must appreciate that shade.




I also couldn't go past the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion without popping in.



Unfortunately, the waterlily pond was empty for renovations. After 150 years, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that some leaks had developed. Still it was fascinating to see the internals of the pond, which you never normally see.



The Museum of Economic Botany is sponsored by Santos, an oil and gas producer. It's hard not to find that rather ironic.

Inside I got drawn towards a display case which, among many other things, had woodworm damaged books and some quotes from some of the people who founded the museum. The first basically explains that botany is a huge party of the economy and people should know what plants the many things produced come from. The second quote really struck me:

”…my friends have asked me what is meant by the term ‘Economic’ in connection with this Museum. My idea is that, as every botanical exhibit in the Museum has a use and a value to mankind, the word is most appropriate since they show what can be made of various plants, and this waste can be prevented… it would be well were everyone to study how to prevent waste and make the most out of everything that comes their way.” Albert Molineux 1881

So nearly 140 years ago people were already very much aware about wasting resources and making the most of what was there, yet still we are trying to educate people in this as our wastefulness has only increased. One has to wonder if we are fighting a losing battle.

As I stood reading this, I was next to the desk of one of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens and I think the lady on duty may have been getting a little bored, because she struck up a conversation with me and shared some of her knowledge on the items and history of the building. She awed me with the beauty of the ceiling decorated with real gold, fascinated me with some history of the busts and damage to some of the exhibits from woodworm and we had a giggle over the saucy looking shape of the coco-de-mers. I only wish my camera could perform better in the indoor lighting to share more with you.


coco-de-mer or double coconut.



By the time we came out of the museum everyone was wanting to head home. So we said goodbye to this oasis…


…and headed back towards the river, having a quick drink from the old drinking fountain by the gate.



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Wow a little slice of paradise on earth! brought to you in part by your friendly oil and gas company. 🤣 I am sure they received a nice tax cut. But hey, what a great place you got there!

My opinion is they were referring to the economic waste and not natural resources but maybe! Sadly, are too far sighted to be better and comfort seems to be far more important than leaving a clean abundant world for our descendants.

“We have not inherited Europe from our ancestors, we have borrowed it from our decedents.” Can’t remember who said that but it stuck with me and should be thought about for the entire world!

I had to go and read that quote again. With a different viewpoint I realise it can be taken in a variety of ways. We shall never know for sure what his focus was... sigh. Avoiding waste can be applied to all areas of life, so maybe even if it was aimed at economy, some may have applied it to ecology too.

Do the oil companies even pay tax? I'm pretty sure our mining companies don't. I'm sure they're going it will green wash them a bit.

Thanks for stopping by. You always add some thoughtful contributions.

I am always excited to see when you made a post because they are one of my favorites to read 😁


Hiya, @LivingUKTaiwan here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Top 3 in Daily Travel Digest #820.

Your post has been manually curated by the @pinmapple team. If you like what we're doing, please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider supporting other authors like yourself and us so we can keep the project going!

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Thank you @livinguktaiwan. I appreciate the work you all do.
Has the travel section been much quieter since the quarantine, or are past travels keeping you busy?

Got any photos? :)


You being you and taking into account that we had that photo display issue on Hive the other day, I'm trying to decide if this is still a display problem or a dig that there are too many photos.


When you do a post you really do the full tour!

The photos all seem to be working fine - that problem didn't last long thankfully

It's just so hard to decide which ones to leave out! Just add this one more... and maybe just that one too. Oh, I can't miss out that one! And maybe just that one...

That really is a wonderful botanical garden! Thanks for the beautiful tour of it. :))

It is a beautiful place and always changing with the seasons.

The Palm House is so pretty! Everything looks so beautiful.

Always good to take photos of every place one goes so you can make a post about something else than staying home. Then I can come a make a virtual trip to that place too. Can't get myself to imagine the 47° Celsius temperature in December though... Crazy. :D

47°C is pretty much unimaginable at any point. I'm still not entirely sure how we survived it!

Some nice photos and great read!
Worth of support @tipu curate

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 12/18)

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I love the botanic gardens. Great idea for a family daytrip.
So I've heard of Moreton Bay as a source of figs and bugs; but not as an actual place. Is it real? Do I want to know or will that ruin the magic?
That's a massive, white flower on that bush. Do you know what it's called?

It wasn't labelled and I'm afraid I'm no horticulturalist, so I've no idea what the Bush was. The chances are if you told me I'd forget straight away, as well! 😅

Dare I reply on the other question? Will my answer ruin the magic? 🤔
Legend has it that Moreton Bay is a magical region in the tropical land of Queens, where the the great fig and incredible bugs grow...

Looks like an absolutely wonderful day was enjoyed by your family @minismallholding! You did a really nice job capturing all of it and I enjoyed reading all of the details. Brought back fond memories (although far less in scope than Adelaide's ...) of the one and only time I was in a botanic garden, on an anniversary trip. Wrote one of my first travel posts about it - Yampa River Botanic Park ...

I would imagine the travel community here on Hive will be very happy with your work on this post. Did you embed the code (at least that is how they did it on SteemWorldMap ...) to pin it on their map?

This caught my eye ...

"... it would be well were everyone to study how to prevent waste and make the most out of everything that comes their way."

... as I could almost hear my parents saying it. They were both Great Depression era children and I was raised with all of their stories about what those times were like.

I wonder if we are not relentlessly determined to relive them again, in the so-called "post-COVID" world which appears more and more in the news here ...

Thank you. Yes, the code is embedded. It's @pinmapple now for Hive. I think @steemitworldmap is slowly being retired.

That must have been a rough era to grow up in. Depression followed by war. Much of my frugal nature comes from my grandparents and parents, learnt from this era.

Okay @minismallholding ...

"Yes, the code is embedded. It's @pinmapple now for Hive."

... thank you for that link. I hope someday to be able to write some more travel posts. We'll see! 🙂

Yep. Can't speak for Australia, but here in America they are referred to as "the greatest generation" that lived through all of that. I don't personally agree with that, but it is indisputable they went through a great deal.

I haven't heard them referred to as that. Is that a recent thing? The generation labels seem to be something of a fad online of late. Perhaps they felt the need to label the generation that birthed the boomers.

Good question @minismallholding ...

"It's that a recent thing?"

... I can't say for sure when I first heard it, but it has "been around" for a number of years now. I would have to research it to figure out who first came up with that statement. And why, as a result, it continues to be repeated. What I can say for sure, given my age, is that I have no recollection of hearing it when I was younger.

Fascinating study in human behavior comes to mind. Specifically, the inspiration any one person has to say or do something. And, then, what lies behind the tendency of far too many of us to "join in" and become part of the "herd" mentality in response ...

At least that is far too characteristic of America in recent times. The "rugged individualism" which used to be a common reference to our national character has become a thing of the past ...

47C is a horrible temperature.

Says the person who has an operating temperature of 25C-30C, five degrees either way is tolerable but may lead to complaining

That's somewhere I'd be visiting more often. Though having said that I really should go up to King's Park more often (well later maybe, and previously before the stupidity happened). I just hate driving in Perth (and driving in general) but taking public transport there is a bit of a hassle x_x

If some of the people I know and knew previously are anything to go by it doesn't matter how long we've collectively known about sensible resource usage for, nobody can think past their own front door (garbage goes out, out of sight out of mind, multiplying that by tens of thousands doesn't even occur to them) and ease and convenience right this second will always trump any future problems they cause.

Were those glasshouse things a specific shape during a certain time period? I'm pretty sure the one in Melbourne that we went to was the same or similar shape.

Good question re glasshouses. I guess architecture has fashions too. Although they probably had the same design and build groups doing all the work across Australia for things like this too.

I imagine that out in the direct sun, like many of these plants and animals would have been, it was over 50°C. It's pretty amaging that anything survived that!

I hate driving or getting on public transport to to city. I mostly avoid it at all costs, but the gardens are so nice. I don't think hubby and Angel like them much these days, though.