Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah
August 18th 2012 10:41
The first time I went to this wonderful garden, the mist hung heavy in the air and everything glistened with moisture. It was so beautiful and atmospheric.
First opened in 1987, the Mount Tomah botanic garden covers 28 hectares in the Blue Mountains and sits 1000 metres above sea level, allowing all sorts of cool-climate plants to thrive there.
There are winding trails and paved paths through 13 feature gardens of native, exotic and rare plants from all over the world. A great way to see a good chunk of the gardens is by doing the 8 recommended walks. The following are some of the gardens and walks that Iíve enjoyed.
Past the equatorial sundial opposite the Visitor Centre and up the steps, the Herb Garden lies on the first of the three terraces of the Formal Garden. Edible and medicinal plants have never looked so good. Up another few steps is the manicured Lawn Terrace, where I came across a wedding in progress on my second visit. Finally, at the Pergola Terrace, surrounded by a high hedge, against a backdrop of soaring eucalyptus trees, vibrant flowers and other verdant plants vie for attention.
Boardwalk and Viewing Platform Walk
A path leads out of the Formal Garden toward the Plant Explorers Walk and Boardwalk. The boardwalk cuts through the rainforest, under eucalypts, rhododendrons and tree ferns for which Mount Tomah was originally named. Fern Tree Hill was the first European name for Mount Tomah and Tomah is said to be the word for a tree fern in the language of the Daruk Aboriginal people. From the viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk, we can see an expanse of rainforest stretching away. Apparently, the Sydney Centrepoint Tower is visible from here on a clear day.
Plant Explorers Walk and Rainforest Walk
Along the Plant Explorers Walk are many plants, which come from eastern Asia and information panels that detail the travels of the European plant hunters who had collected the plants. The path continues on to the Rainforest Walk through the areaís natural plant life, and ends back in civilisation at a tarred road.
Lady (Nancy) Fairfax Walk
This pleasant walk through the remnant rainforest is where rings of trees and a giant hollow tree in which I (and a few others) could stand inside are located. Within each of the rings of trees used to grow a giant tree that was destroyed by fire or logging.
The highlight for me in this garden was the King Protea flowers. These beauties with pink pointy petals native to South Africa are humungous!
The Bog Garden looks better than it sounds. Pretty little carnivorous plants like the sundew and Venus fly trap grow here. Another fascinating plant I came across was the pitcher plant. It is said that mosquitoes try to suck blood from their red veins.
Iím not entirely sure if I have the right garden. I was a little turned around here. Maybe it was the Rock Garden since there were a lot of large rocks scattered around this section, though Iíd call it the Succulent Garden for all the gorgeous hardy plants here. By this garden is a must-see picturesque lake busy with fish.
Heath and Heather Garden
This is where the Northern Pavilion is set amid a glorious sloping sea of green and hedges of tiny leaves and flowers.
The alder tree in this garden is beautiful. I try not to overuse this adjective, as it often comes to mind while Iím writing about this place, but this tree is beautiful, as is the vista of the northern Blue Mountains from this garden. Iíll have to remember to bring a picnic the next time I visit.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah is 105km west of Sydney, about a 2 hour drive that becomes quite scenic. It is located on the uniquely named Bells Line of Road.
Entry is now free.
For the gardenís lovely website, please see www.mounttomahbotanicgarden.com.au.
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