Autumn garden highlights

Date posted: 18 March 2016

The mercury’s dropping and the leaves are turning – autumn’s certainly here! Perhaps you’ve been implementing the Gardens’ horticultural curators’ autumn gardening tips in your own garden? Or maybe you’ve been getting busy during Adelaide’s Mad March event frenzy? Either way, autumn’s one of the best times for a botanic garden visit. Here we break down some of the highlights at Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga.

Adelaide Botanic Garden

Stars of the show during early autumn have to be the vibrant and delicate dahlias, which you’ll find a short stroll east of the Santos Museum of Economic Botany’s southern doors. The dahlia originates from Central and South America and our Garden’s bed is full of interesting cultivars that look their best in March.

Walk west past the Museum and you’ll hit the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion where you’ll find another autumn classic, the Victoria amazonica. Flowering from September through April, this jewel of the Amazon flowers regularly, but only for about 48 hours at a time. If you’re lucky you may even get to see one of the plant’s giant leaves flipped over by staff, revealing the intricate framework of veins that support it.

The International Rose Garden is undergoing its third flush and within the Garden you’ll have the chance to see roses that aren’t growing anywhere else in Australia, thanks to the National Rose Trial Garden. Visit the Garden on 9-10 April to cast your vote for your favourite new rose variety in the National Rose Trial Garden People’s Choice Weekend.

And if it’s more events you crave, you’re in luck – our inaugural Heirloom Festival with The Diggers Club is happening that weekend too, followed by our School Holiday Program (18-29 April) and the Tasting Australia festival (1-8 May). Who said the festival silly season had to end? Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get all the latest event news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

Autumn at Mount Lofty is all about the Garden’s dazzling colours and the tints have already started. These will continue to star until late May, usually peaking around ANZAC Day. The two main types of trees that make up this panorama of colour are maples and oaks, with colours ranging from scarlet to bronze to yellow, while golden ash is looking great at the moment. Birches and liquadambars will be the next to turn, so get those memory cards and camera batteries ready – you’re going to need them!

Other things to keep an eye out for in the Garden include hydrangeas, which will develop their usual maroon tints in their flower heads; the dainty autumn crocus (Colchium sp) in the Rock Garden; Europe/Mediterranean Basin-native cyclamen with their upturned petals in the Woodland Garden; and local flora such as Epacris impressa.

Wittunga Botanic Garden

Autumn at Wittunga sees flowering South African bulbs pop up around the Garden – one of the most visible being the firework-like Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria). Another two favourites are Haemanthus coccineus (blood lily) and Nerine species, and these bulbs produce a flower that emerges in early-mid autumn, before the leaves emerge in late autumn. Rarer bulbs including Brunsvigia and Amarygia can also be seen in the terraces and fynbos.

What now?

The above are just suggestions for things you can discover at the Garden through autumn, but there really are countless surprises waiting for you at every corner. Grab a map and go it solo, take a free guided tour, or ditch the map and guide and simply wander aimlessly around the grounds – see you there!

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