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‘Terra Australis’ garden developing beautifully

By Ben & Ros Walcott, Canberra ACT, text and images

Plants in Design


The Terra Australis Garden is developing beautifully. It was opened in 2019 and is one of the Gallery of Gardens at the National Arboretum in Canberra.

Inception of the Terra Australis garden

The Australian Native Plants Society (ANPSA) developed the garden as a stylised representation of the Australian geography and its diverse flora.

Designed by Lawrie Smith, the garden celebrates the varying Australian landscape through landform, rock form, and plant species. It showcases a more formal garden using native plants. Lawrie is the leader of the ANPSA Garden Design Study Group.

‘Terra Australis’ garden in its dramatic setting

Garden maturing beautifully

Now the Terra Australis Garden is growing bushy and in some cases almost too bushy!  You can see from recent photos (September 2023), the garden is packed with plants in flower.

The wattles have bloomed magnificently this year. These include Acacia acinacea, Gold Dust Wattle, A. covenyi, Bluebush, A. fimbriata, Fringed Wattle, A. howittii ‘Canberry Honey Bun’ and A. verniciflua, Varnish Wattle.

The maintenance staff at the Arboretum are doing a marvellous job of pruning, watering and fertilising the garden. They even have strategic plans to limit children climbing on the water feature and disturbing the rocks.

Kunzea ambigua, Tick Bush, planted between the water feature and path, will grow to 3m high. It has aromatic leaves and honey-scented white flowers to form an impenetrable barrier (we hope).

Ground zero after first planting in November 2019

Acacia verniciflua, Varnish Wattle, Allocasuarina littoralis, Black She-oak, Laurel hedge is now growing high enough to protect against the wind

Acacia fimbriata in full flower, basalt ridge, Gymnostoma australianum, Daintree Pine

Queensland section, basalt ridge, Chrysocephalum ramosissimum, Macrozamia moorei, Brachychiton rupestris, Queensland Bottle Tree, not leafed out

Acacia acinacea, Gold Dust Wattle, Allocasuarina duncanii, Duncan’s She-oak, Eucalyptus neglecta, Omeo Gum, Leptospermum ‘Copper Glow’, Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’

Shows a water feature made with rocks

Water feature, Callistemon subulatus ‘Brogo Overflow’, Eucalyptus neglecta, Omeo Gum and Lomandra ‘Lime Tuff’