Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Adelaide, Australia

If you’ve ever had an interest in the history of food, clothing, and textiles,

and how they became a part of a region’s economy, you’ll want to visit the Santos Museum of Economic Botany when you’re in Adelaide, Australia.

The museum has educated the public on the sources of food, drugs, and clothing that entered the economy of Australia during the 19th century.

Unearthing the Past

When you visit, you’ll learn about the historical uses of food, seeds, and other plants that were used in Australia during the Industrial Revolution. Believe it or not, at that time it became a priority for emerging industries to hide where their products came from. In addition, for more than a century, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany was instrumental in revealing contributions made by populations of Aboriginal peoples which would have otherwise remain hidden from public consciousness.

The Pomological Collection

Many consider this feature the highlight of the collections which you can see at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany. The Pomological Collection includes models of 129 pears and 192 apples, and serves as an intriguing look into the history of economic botany as it contains varieties which no longer exist today. The models were acquired for the museum in the late 1800s and are made out of papier-mâché. 

Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Permanent Exhibits

If you visit the Santos Museum today, you’ll be able to see permanent exhibits like the Fungi Model Showcase, which features over 200 models depicting fungi in different stages of growth. You’ll also see authentic fruit models from Germany that were used in the 1880s to educate farmers in setting up their crops.  

Although interest in the Santos Museum waned during the 20th century, the museum was renovated in 2009 and is capturing the interest of the public once again. The museum is now part of the Adelaide Botanical Garden, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore over 3000 items, many of which are presented with their original labels;

If you’re visiting Adelaide, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore this intriguing aspect of Australia’s past. For more information about the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, please contact us.

Stroll Among Beautiful Foliage at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Visitors to Royal Botanic Garden Sydney can enjoy thousands of plants from both Australia and around the world.

This free garden offers a variety of tours for both large and small groups, or visitors can simply relax and connect with nature while taking a leisurely stroll through the garden.   

History of Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney opened in 1816, and it has since grown into a massive 74-acre garden filled with a variety of both common and rare plants. The free garden introduces visitors to the beauty of nature through a variety of exhibits and special events.  

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney was once home to as many as 20,000 Grey-headed Flying Foxes, a type of large fruit bat. These enormous fruit bats, which can have a wingspan of over three feet, were once a secondary attraction in the gardens, as many tourists visited the gardens to see the bats as well as the wide variety of plants. However, the bats have been removed from the gardens as a result of the damage that their presence caused to many of the plants.

Visiting Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is home to a variety of exhibits that capture the uniqueness of each species of plant. Some of the most popular attractions include several guided toursholiday events, and a whimsical train that takes visitors on a scenic ride through the gardens.   

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is located near Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Opera House. Admission is free, and it is open daily. Hours vary depending on the season. The garden includes a gift shop and several cafes.

Nature enthusiasts can easily spend hours wandering among thousands of plants at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. If you find yourself heading to Australia, be sure to add this free attraction to your list of must-see things to do!    

Toronto Music Garden: A Work of Art

Inspired by the classical music of Bach, this exceptional garden is the collaborative vision of cellist Yo-Yo Ma,

and Boston landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy.

Echoing six musical movements, Toronto Music Garden depicts Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello in its design. The garden’s intended home was Boston, but plans were scuppered by city regulations and red tape. Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, Director of Parks Susan Richardson, and philanthropist Jim Fleck rescued the garden and provided the site for its creation.

Toronto Inherits Beauty

In the late 1990s, Yo-yo Ma had a great interest in the French-German theologian Albert Schweitzer. Their shared love for Bach’s music gave birth to a beautiful idea. Yo-Yo Ma began a film, now called “Inspired by Bach”, based on the six dance movements within the work. The cellist felt that nature was intrinsic to the music. A beautiful, artistic, magical garden was needed to create this musical environment. The lakeside property was perfectly located, stretching along the western edge of Harbourfront. Julie Moir Messervy transformed the site into a garden using natural elements to evoke different moods describing the six musical movements. 

Visitors Begin a Musical Journey

Prelude describes a flowing river. Evenly spaced Hackberry trees visually divide the land, imparting tempo and rhythm to the environment. The visual riverbed flows into the Allemande. A thickly planted Birch forest gives the German Dance a European setting. Visitors see a Maypole and find themselves in the lively, spiraling French Courante. Calming the Courante, Serabande brings serenity and stability to the garden. Pine trees form an arc-like grove around a large rock with a reflecting pool. Guests then enter the fifth movement, Menuet, symmetrically designed, with a circular performance area. The last movement, the triumphant and lively Gigue, opens into an amphitheater with grass-covered steps and waterfront views.

Toronto, on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, is the perfect site for this award-winning garden. From conception to realization, the garden is a celebration of life. There is nothing like it in the world.

Wendy’s Secret Garden: A Story of Loss and Restoration

In the hustle and bustle of the digital age, it has become difficult to find a quiet space untouched by the stress of daily life.

Luckily, even in the large cities of the world, you can find a small, secluded place where time stands still.

One such space is Wendy’s Secret Garden in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Wendy’s is a peaceful garden with a whimsical artistry derived from the deep love and poignant sorrow of it’s creator, Wendy Whiteley. 

Cultivation in Mourning

The Story of Wendy’s Secret Garden begins in the 1970s when Wendy and her husband, famous artist Brett Whiteley, purchased a home along Lavender Bay in the Lower North Shore suburbs of Sydney. From this perch above unused railway land bordering the bay, Brett Whiteley created many of his iconic Lavender Bay paintings. When Brett passed away in 1992, Wendy found solace in clearing the overgrowth and debris from the abandoned railway land behind their home. As she cleared the space, Wendy planted herbs, shrubs, and trees with a view to their aesthetics and no regard for conventional horticultural knowledge. Some plants, like the giant fig tree and stand of bamboo, she left in place and incorporated into her garden. Others, she cleared entirely.

When asked about her methods, Wendy commented:

“I didn’t know anything about horticulture when I started the garden. I just knew what I liked. I’ve since learnt what likes being here. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the plants, myself and my gardeners”. 

It was the beauty of the space that drew her in; with views of Lavender Bay and a natural sandstone cliff, the small valley was a perfect gardener’s canvas. In 2001, Wendy lost her only daughter, Arkie, to an adrenal tumor at the age of 37. A cluster of palms a gift from Arkie to Wendy, stand as a memorial to Arkie, and have been dubbed “Arkie’s Bungalow”. Throughout the garden, these relics and monuments to the past blend with new growth, creating an enduring symbol of the cycle of loss, grief, and renewal.

A Living Memory

Today, Wendy’s Secret Garden serves as a living memorial to Brett and Arkie Whiteley. Although the garden initially faced legal battles with the New South Wales government, it has since been established as a public park through the North Sydney Council. Thanks in large part to the book Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden by Janet Hawley, published in September 2015, the North Sydney Council succeeded in obtaining a 30 year lease with a 30 year option for the garden, thus securing the garden as a public park to be appreciated by generations to come. 

Sources:

Wendy’s Secret Garden. https://www.wendyssecretgarden.org.au/. 2017. Accessed 24 August 2019.

“Wendy’s Secret Garden”. Atlas Obscura. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wendys-secret-garden. Accessed 24 August 2019.