23 August 2020


Annual General Meeting of the Friends

The AGM will be held on Thursday 15 October, 2020 at 5.30pm in the Gardens.

BUT and this is a big ‘but’ we still have to work out the details. Our Constitution does not allow electronic meetings (at present), the Constitution requires 25 members present for a quorum and the largest space in the Gardens holds 23 people under the current Covid-19 rules. However we could get 2 more standing outside looking in (and communicating when required). Sounds bizarre but much is at the moment and we are required to hold an AGM!

So please put the date in your diary and we will run a booking system as we hope more than 25 wish to attend, in which case it will be first come first in. We will continue to work on these issues up until the date.

Lynden Ayliffe, Secretary

Opening Up

A reminder that the Australian National Botanic Gardens have re-opened to Visitors. Take a walk in the fresh air and the wide-open spaces.To assist with physical distancing requirements the main walking paths are currently one-way, so please follow the signs and arrows. Sanitising stations have been placed around the Gardens for visitors’ convenience.

The Visitor Centre, Botanical Bookshop and Jindii Eco Spa are now open. Pollen café is open for take away and dining in from 9.00am to 2.30 pm. Bookings are essential for dining in.

Banksia Garden, July 2020Further information is available on the ANBG website.

The new Banksia Garden is open to visitors, although some of the planting is being delayed until more favourable conditions return in Spring.

Please note: while most of the Gardens are now open, parts of the Rainforest Gully remain closed.

Special Interest Groups and Volunteers

In early June, the Growing Friends were able to return to their igloo and shadehouse in the Gardens to undertake plant care and maintenance. Gardens’ staff had watered the plants for the previous two months so there was a lot of growth which had to be dealt with. Most of the cuttings which had been prepared in December and March had struck roots and needed to be potted on. Also, many potted plants had started to outgrow their containers and needed to be ‘upsized’.

All activities of the group are now carried out under strict COVID health and hygiene arrangements. It is likely that these will remain in place for the foreseeable future. This means that the Autumn plant sale was not held and the Spring sale will not be held. A small sale of plants using a pre-order and pickup arrangement was held for members and the possibility of similar sales to other groups is currently being explored. 

Physical distancing constraints limits the number of people who can work in the group’s igloo and shadehouse at any time. Hence, it is unlikely that the group will return to its normal level of propagation activity until at least early 2021, if not well beyond that. Meanwhile efforts to keep members engaged include a monthly newsletter and small scale plant maintenance and propagation sessions.

Volunteer Recognition

The Friends of the ANBG Council greatly appreciates the considerable work done by so many volunteers in support of the Friends of the ANBG.

The International Volunteer Day is 5 December and each year we ask the Friends special interest groups to nominate one or 2 people from their group in recognition and appreciation of their valuable service to the Friends of ANBG and its role in supporting the ANBG. Twenty four people were recognised by ANBG and Friends ANBG in 2019 for their outstanding voluntary service in different areas over many years, and a similar event is being planned for 2020.

Seedy Vols are pleased to have started back at the Seed Bank from 11 August.

Guided walks are back! Guides are conducting one walk per day at 11 am. These guided walks are free. Numbers allowed on each walk are limited*, so arrive early and meet your Guide at the clock near the rainforest. There are plenty of hints of spring, colourful flowers and inspiring new growth shoots that guides can tell you about.

*Tours are available for up to 10 people from two household groups to maintain physical distancing in the Gardens.

The popular Flowers, Fruit and Foliage self-guided walks are again being published by volunteers Ben and Ros Walcott.

Walks, Tours and Trails

Free 'Colour in Winter' Walks

17-23 August
11am-12 Noon

Brighten your winter day and discover the spectacular colours of leaves, bark, flowers and seeds in the Gardens with a Volunteer Guide. Tours are available for up to 10 people from two household groups to maintain physical distance in the Gardens.

Wattle Day

1 September 2020

Pam Rooney - Acacia PravissimaWattle has blossomed on the Australian continent for more than 30 million years. It is our national floral emblem and has great diversity with more than 1060 species.

Come and celebrate the first day of Spring with a stroll through the Gardens’ wattles.

Free Wattle Walks

29 August-6 September 2020
11am-12 Noon

Walks will start under the clock near the rainforest bridge.

Wander through the wattles, the genus Acacia while they are in full bloom. Join a Volunteer Guide to hear about their symbolism and cultural history. You’ll see a range of different wattles and enjoy the first signs of spring. Tours are available for up to 10 people from two household groups to maintain physical distance in the Gardens.

National Threatened Species Day

7 September 2020

Take a wander through the Conservation and Research Garden and be fascinated by the important role of the Gardens in protecting Australia’s plant biodiversity.


50th Anniversary ‘Reflection’

Outdoor Exhibition
24 August – 21 December 2020

Step back in time and see how the Gardens have transformed over the last 50 years with a special outdoor exhibition. Panels in several areas of the Gardens show the changes that have occurred in the 50 years since the Gardens were first established.

Paradise Lost – Solander

Visitor Centre
2-23 September 2020

An art exhibition commemorating the legacy of the Swedish Botanist Daniel Solander. Presented by the Embassy of Sweden in Canberra and the Solander Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand.

The 2020 Botanic Art Groups exhibition: ‘Legacy of Banks and Solander'

Visitor Centre
26 September-25 October 2020

Banksia caleyi - Leonie BubbPreparation for the annual botanical art exhibition usually begins about 9 months before the event when a theme is chosen. For this year’s exhibition the Gardens requested that we focus on banksias to support the opening of the Banksia Garden and to celebrate the 250 years since the Endeavour came to Australia and Banks and Solander collected a number of Australian plants which were taken to Britain.

The committee decided that all artworks in the exhibition should feature either any Banksia species or any of the plants collected by Banks and Solander. This was quite a challenging task as banksias are notoriously difficult to paint. Horticulturalists brought specimens to our meetings and Guides arranged walks in the Gardens to view banksias and plants of the same species collected 250 years ago. Because of the attention to detail required, paintings can involve weeks of careful work. All artworks except for the artists’ choice must be judged by a team of botanists and artists to ensure that exhibited works are of an acceptable standard. Judging was completed in February, 2020. Publicity had been sent to magazines such as Gardening Australia and bookmarks and flyers had been prepared and printed ready for distribution for an exhibition date in April. Unfortunately COVID-19 put a stop to all public activities at the Gardens.

Botanical Art Group members were delighted to hear recently that the exhibition would go ahead with a start date of 26th September. The purchase price includes a 20% commission for the Friends, so the Botanical Art Exhibition is a significant fundraiser for the Friends and the Gardens. Please come and visit the exhibition in September or October and support the work of the Friends and the Gardens.


Thursday Talks - alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday Talks will not be live in the theatrette for the remainder of 2020. The ANBG and the Friends are exploring ways that may present an opportunity for some talks to be made available online.


Unfortunately the Friends Lounge is still closed. However other possible areas with seating where people may like to go include the park seating near the café lawn, the Brittle Gum Lawn, Eucalyptus Lawn – and of course, the Pollen café itself.

Message from the Rangers

On the weekend a ranger staff member had their vehicle window smashed by person trying to attempt to steal personal belongings. Luckily no items were taken.

While this is not a common occurrence, it’s a good reminder to all staff to be security conscience and not to leave any valuable items in clear site or store money or credit cards in vehicle.

Basically any items of value, should not be left in clear sight. If you see any suspicious activity in the car park or gardens, please report to the ranger team straight away.

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