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‘Terra Australis’ garden at National Arboretum

By Ros Walcott, Canberra, ACT

November 2022

Here is an update on the ‘Terra Australis’ garden at the National Arboretum in Canberra. The garden is progressing beautifully as of Novmber 2022.


Six years ago, the Arboretum invited ANPSA to create a garden as part of the ‘Gallery of Gardens’ at the National Arboretum in Canberra. Each of the seven gardens were established on an oval shaped site 24m long by 20m wide. It is located along the events terrace above the amphitheatre.

As the Garden Design Study Group Leader, Lawrie Smith prepared the planning and design, in conjunction with Ben and Ros Walcott. Together we planned the garden to represent the most iconic botanic elements of Australia. As people walk the pathways, they gain a sense of the diversity and uniqueness of the Australian flora.

We identified 11 physiographic regions of the country to inform the design process. Each ‘garden room’ closely relates to the physical characteristics of the regional geology and landform. Each area has its distinct plant communities.

The garden opened in November 2018 and has become progressively established as per the design concept. Ros Walcott keeps us informed about progress in regular reports and photographs. This is her most recent update which illustrates how well ‘Terra Australis’ is developing.

National Arboretum team devoted to looking after the ‘Terra Australis’ garden

Ben and I are thrilled that the horticultural staff at the National Arboretum, led by Owen Bolitho, have devoted themselves to looking after the ‘Terra Australis’ (Great Southern Land) Garden. The team weeded, mulched the area with new pebbles and put in aluminium mulch dividers. They have done a terrific job.

New plantings in the garden

We had a planting day there last week. Plantings included:

  • A reasonably mature Brachychiton rupestris
  • Rows of Angus Stewart’s Kangaroo paws
  • Three Kunzea ambigua to shield the water feature from the public
  • Another Callistemon ‘Brogo Overflow’
  • Ten Rhodanthe anthemoides
  • Two more Phebalium squamulosum
  • Three Banksia menziesii dwarf
  • One Calothamnus quadrifidus ‘Pencil Form’
  • Five more Chamelaucium ‘Paddy’s Pink’
  • Five Grevillea ‘Pink Lady’.

We seeded various areas with Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea. We have a couple more plants to add to the collection in the future.

The wattles were in flower, all looking terrific, Acacia acinacea, A. verniciflua, A. fimbriata, and A. covenyi.

The Allocasuarina duncanii has grown beautifully to 3m high, as has Allocasuarina littoralis.

Chrysocephalum ramosissimum is poking through the new mulch, Phebalium squamulosum is flowering freely with fluffy lemon flowers and Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ is in full bud.

All the eucalypts look fine and both the Daintree Pines and Mt. Spurgeon Black Pines are hanging in there against all odds.

We had five horticultural staff to our garden last week – all young and keen. They took two hours to get around the garden and photographed many plants. They will come back for cuttings in the future. I think all our ANPSA members would be really pleased to see the progress at the ‘Terra Australis’ Garden.

To see the next update on the ‘Terra Australis’ garden at the National Arboretum in January 2024, click on the link below.

And the garden was blooming in March 2023.

Terra Australis Garden in full flower – Scaevola, Chrysocephalum, Chamelaucium ‘Paddy’s Pink’, white flowering Eucalyptus leucoxylon, Senna barronfieldii, Anigozanthos, Callistemons ‘White Anzac’ and Brogo Overflow’, amongst many others, image Ben Walcott