As we mentioned in a previous posting, Melbourne has a large number of fantastic parks, gardens, and green spaces throughout the city. Perhaps, one of the finest examples of Victorian era landscaping in the world is the 94 acre Royal Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1846 by Charles La Trobe, and located near the center of the city, these gardens are home to over fifty thousand individual plants representing more than 8500 species from around the world. Landscape designer, William Guilfoyle is credited with the development of this beautiful tranquil setting within an urban environment. And it truly is a relaxing spot in the middle of Melbourne. What really impressed us was the effort to acknowledge the "traditional caretakers" of this land, the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, with the inclusion of the "Aboriginal Heritage Walking Trail." Visitors can explore some of the native culture along this trail, including the traditional uses of plants for tools, food, and medicine, as well as experiencing a Wurrung "Smoking Ceremony." This was one of the best botanical gardens we've explored during our travels.
The Royal Botanical Gardens main Visitors Center is adjacent to one of two observatories on the grounds...
...The other one is about a hundred yards away and includes a special camera to photograph the sun, and a separate house for the "South Equatorial Telescope."
...and nearby to both is the Government Astronomers' Residence (built in 1863).
The residence had its own vegetable and herb garden...
...with a very unique gate (someone had an artistic sense of humor).
The many winding trails through the gardens begin at thes ornamental entrance gates.
How did these two get in amongst the topiary? They don't look Australian!
Some of the ponds in the gardens are absolutely stunning!
...as are the "Birds of Paradise" (which are everywhere).
"Rain Gardens" act as natural filters to keep storm water pollutants from getting into nearby rivers and streams.
We've never seen trees like this before. They almost looked like something out of a "Sci-fi" movie
That is a black swan in the middle of this Lilly pond.
We were amazed at how perfect this Lilly looked.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.