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whitewind

Sydney Botanic Gardens - Ethnobotany Garden to receive new makeover

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I have just been chatting to the horticulturist in charge of the Herb Garden and Ethnobotany Garden at Sydney Botanic Gardens and she tells me she has received the go ahead to redesign the Ethnobotany Garden there. It will cost about $60,000 all up over a few years, and this includes irrigation and a new structure as well as plants.

The theme is to be "Melanesia Village" (or some such) and a central "Village Hall' (proposed) to be surrounded by medicine and food plants from Papua New Guinea (mostly), West Papua, also The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, and so on.

She will hopefully be sourcing plant material directly from these islands, but was also very interested in receiving material from sources other than the usual - other botanic gardens or very sporadic in-house collecting trips (which hardly ever come off).

She seemed quite enthusiastic about getting the online community ("your friends", she said to me) on board, and was happy to have suggestions and ideas (as well as plants and seeds!) thrown her way. She's one of the best horts at the gardens (in my opinion) and she's done a sterling job of the herb garden so I'm really looking forward to seeing what she makes of the ethno garden there.

So if anyone wants to get involved, donate seed or plants, come up with random ideas, chuck them into this thread and we'll see what naughty plants we can get into the ethno garden in Sydney!

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if one compares overseas botanical gardens with ours, one can start crying, so boring are they medicinal herb wise.

probably our stupid laws are to blame, I tried to change this, but all the plants I donated to my local botanical garden just simply disappeared.

other botanical gardens display salvia divinorum, coca plants, poppies, and mandrake for example, and here they don't even give kava a chance, sad very sad, stupid law makers.

I hope this project will be a success!

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There are some cool plants in the gardens, they aren't themed or hidden away in the nursery to stop thievery or because no-one really knows what to do with them. Torsten and Darklight have donated some cool things which may not make it to the public eye, it's really sad how little attention is given to ethnobotany in Australia. But as T has said, the new director is an ethnobotanist so maybe it's his influence that allowed this to go ahead, who knows? I know the hort in charge is pretty open minded about these things, it's just working with the rest of the bureaucracy that sucks.

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This sounds awesome. :)

Is there any constraints on land usage? Or is it mostly financial constraints?

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This sounds awesome. :)

Is there any constraints on land usage? Or is it mostly financial constraints?

I think it's not going to be any bigger than the existing area, but I'm not sure. I'll ask. It's not very large..

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Well maybe it could become the premier ethnobotanical preservation and conservation site of all of Australasia and the Pacific (if it isn't already). :)

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Maybe if there was some kind of "gift registry" - i.e. a list of plants they want - it would make things easier for those wanting to donate? I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would be keen to give something back to the Gardens, but planthelper pointed out a potential problem with this - don't want to donate plants if they're going to be deemed unacceptable and tossed in the bin...

That said, this sounds like a great project and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it develops.

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Interesting. I never realised there was an Ethnobotany garden. Usually I check out the catus garden and wander around to one of a few favourite places for some time out.

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Is there any constraints on land usage?

Actually the area has been extended to include the existing bed below it. I hear that most of the old trees that don't fit the theme are to be removed - rather unusually. Probably our beloved Catha edulis 'Narrow Leaf' is to go, but it has already been transplanted into the herb garden, so will hopefully live on there. I'm trying to get hold of plans (been promised a visual at least) so here's hoping.. If I get anything I'll chuck it in here.

Edited by whitewind

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I have a list of plants supposedly in that bed, I guess I can't post it up here without authorisation (I'll check with the hort first), suffice to say I'm not excited by the selection. New stuff will be focussed around the food/medicine/other use theme so even though it will be geographically limited it will be on topic and may contain stuff we haven't seen in Australia before - there isn't yet provision in the proposal for collecting trips so who knows?

Interesting. I never realised there was an Ethnobotany garden. Usually I check out the catus garden and wander around to one of a few favourite places for some time out.

It's directly below the herb garden, there are coffee plants on the top corner. It's pretty open so you can just wander through it at will. There's a few interesting things in there but it's not well labelled so it's not easy to spot.

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i thought sydney bot gards was just that boring patch of land near the opera house! where is the real one? i want to go to there! Also very interested in this ethno section

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WW if you can find a good way to facilitate donations of plants and seeds I'll give what I can.

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