5 May 2020


Max Bourke reports:

Well you would say it has been an experience like no other for many of us…but I have a few friends who are finding the lockdown quite compatible with a lot of garden work, reading and other pursuits they have 'meant to do' so not all bad. We are also looking forward to an easing which might see access to the Gardens not too far away; but watch this space.

In case you do not use it I strongly commend Facebook and especially the ANBG official Facebook page which is quite terrific and has been running some very interesting interviews and photos of work happening while the Gardens are closed. Speaking of which… We might not have access but this does not mean things are not happening. As soon as it becomes more clear when either access to the Gardens and/or the general way ahead appears easier, we will get back to programming as many of those dozens of events we had planned for 2020 can be revived, and you can be assured we intend to do so!

While the Admin Staff are working from home, the horticultural team are busily maintaining the living collections and others are supervising quite a bit of work underway on repairing buildings following the hail storms of January. We hope to get you some pictures of the extensive refurbishment of the Banks Building now underway.

The Banksia Garden has now been planted out and while our official opening which should have occurred 10 days ago has been deferred, there will be time for the plants to ‘settle in’ and we will re-organise an opening - and hopefully our 'Banksia and Bubbles' event. The Friends have contributed considerable funds to this project and we look forward to showing you the outcome soon.

Speaking of Friends' funds, our commitments to the following are moving forward:

  • The Conservatory- tenders for this project have been let and we expect to have consultations with the designers and management over the Friends’ contribution to the interpretation program in the not-too-distant future.
  • The PhD research student on Norfolk Island- Leah Dann continues her work as she reported in Thursday Talks and we hope to bring an update towards the end of this year.
  • The ARC Linkage project – this exciting project, beyond our walls and partially led by the Gardens’ Dr Lydia Guja is now underway. The several partners in this enterprise have now met virtually and final design, along with some preliminary field work has commenced. Just to remind: this project is looking at the effects of temperature extremes on plant growth in both alpine and desert environments and will be vital in assisting ecologists to plan for climate change impacts on Australian flora.

So while lockdown has impacted us all in various ways I want to assure you the investments of the Friends of the ANBG are continuing to provide support for the work of the Gardens in both the enhancement of the site and in the research that is a vital part of the work of the Gardens.

To this avail, membership renewal when it is time from 1 November is extremely important and we encourage all existing Friends to renew. As are Public Fund donations, which are TAX DEDUCTIBLE, and are still very much required to assist with the PF’s ongoing commitments.

A challenge!

Below is a project from BGANZ that I hope a Friends' member with video skills might assist with.
If you can assist or participate please contact me, Max Bourke on

We #plantchallenge you!

Tell us your isolation plant story

This year in the lead up to Botanic Gardens Day, we challenge you to tell us your plant love / inspiration story through a short 45 sec video, recorded on your phone (in landscape orientation).

For the entire month of May we will celebrate our love of and connection to plants, through your stories and stories from some very special guests (stay tuned!)

We encourage you to challenge your friends, colleagues and community!

Tell us your plantspiration —

"Hi I am ( name ) from ( state/territory + suburb/region ), in isolation, this is my plantspiration, ...tell your plant / fungi / algae story "

To inspire you here are some examples sent through to us already:

Please upload your story to a file sharing platform (dropbox, we transfer, etc)


Email to:

Thursday Talks

The Thursday Talks Committee has now been notified that Thursday Talks cannot be presented in the ANBG Theatrette in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Due to the current circumstances the Committee is rescheduling, where possible, for the talks to be held at the same time next year. The ANBG and the Friends are exploring ways for talks (or some talks) to be available digitally or online – at some stage.

Information on Talks will also be in the next issue of the Friends' magazine Fronds. In that article we will note details of the talks that we have had to cancel in 2020, and advise that we are trying to reschedule them for the same time next year.

And finally, here for those interested in ways in which our Gardens might be seen to assist the general wellbeing of Gardens, I commend this series to you:

Botanic gardens biosecurity webinar series

Join the Botanic Gardens Biosecurity Network for a series of eight webinars exploring plant biosecurity and surveillance in botanic gardens.

From 20 May to 26 August 2020 the Botanic Gardens Biosecurity Network will host a half-hour webinar every second Wednesday at 2 pm AEST.

Presenters will include experts in biosecurity and surveillance, representatives from several Australian botanic gardens, and members of other biosecurity networks.

During the webinar series we will cover topics including the basics of plant biosecurity and surveillance, biosecurity and surveillance activities currently happening in Australian botanic gardens, pests in your backyard and specific pests such as myrtle rust.

Register to attend the webinars on Eventbrite:

For the latest updates on the webinar series follow the network on Facebook:

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