Belated Happy Birthday to Annan!*

Australia’s largest botanic garden celebrated its 21st birthday this year, with a free Garden Tea Party and photographic exhibition (Then and Now) in October.

One of the State Government of NSW’s bicentenary projects, Mount Annan Botanic Garden was opened by visiting Royal Sarah Feruson in 1988. It was a chance to show-off our diverse native flora, and to grow plants that don’t do well in the harbour-side Garden or Mount Tomah. The 410 hectares in south-west Sydney also includes remnants of endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland.

Twenty-one years later, Mount Annan is home to more than 4000 different Australian plant species, plus a few thousand in the State’s conservation Seedbank also at Mount Annan. Mount Annan is a parkland like the Domain and Centennial Park, as well as a world-class botanic garden.

It’s still in its youth – albeit now being 21 years old – and there are lots of exciting new projects planned. Over the next six years we’ll build a children’s adventure garden, a competative ‘pump track’ for cycling and new facilities for our seedbank and associated science (facilities you’ll be able to explore when you visit).

This is in addition to continuing improvements to the Connections Garden (previously called the Terrace Garden), showcasing the evolution and diversity of Australian flora through the four themes of Time, Habitat, Wildlife and People.

Already you can enjoy the themed gardens around each BBQ area, including the new ‘What’s the Big Idea’ garden, full of great ways to save water and create an environmentally friendly garden.

Mount Annan is part of D’harawal land and you can reflect on past wrongs at the Stolen Generations walkway and memorial.

One of the hidden treasures of Mount Annan is the wildlife. Much of it comes out in the evening so you’ll need to book in for a Wallaby Walkabout, which starts at 5 pm. Call 4634 7935 to book a place (cost is $5 per person or $20 per family). There are also free daily guided tours – just ring the same number.

If you like to see Watch it grow and mature over the next few decades – you won’t be disappointed. Over the next few months Simon Marnie and I will talk more about Mount Annan and some of its special plants.

Images: Two views of Mount Annan – open parkland ('with blue tree’) and the Connections Garden showing just some of the diversity of plants native to Australia.

*This Passion for Plants posting will also appear on the ABC Sydney website (possibly under 'gardening'), and is the gist of my radio interview with Simon Marnie on Saturday Morning sometime between 9-10 am on 702AM.