Tomorrow, the new daisy section of the Australian National Botanic Gardens will be opened formally. Sadly, I will miss that ceremony because I will be sitting in an airplane to New Zealand.
I regret this particularly because I have been involved in the planning of this new section right from the start. For the past few years I was a member of the Daisy Working Group meeting regularly to brainstorm, discuss and plan the selection of species and where to source them, the design of the garden and the information signs that should be put up.
My role was of course a rather minor one. I have not the slightest lick of knowledge in horticulture or landscaping and was thus unable to contribute much to the real design part of it. Instead, I was one of several who provided ideas on what plants one could include and what stories one could tell, and in the last stages I checked signs and other information material for its scientific accuracy. I am very proud, however, that the garden is growing two very rare and endemic species from seeds that I contributed.
Knowing that I would miss the opening, I took my family to see the garden this weekend. From the outside, of course, as it is still closed to the public. The landscaping is impressive, with slopes, channels and depressions cleverly designed to provide for very different habitats ranging from dry to boggy, and at the same time to enable a more economical use of rainwater.
While the plants are obviously still young, and the garden has a distinctly "recently planted" feel to it that will surely disappear within a year as plants spread out a bit, it is already admirable in its diversity of form and colour. There are mass displays as well as smaller, raised containers showcasing individual plants; and in due course, there will be shrubs and treelets around the edges.
Worth a visit if you happen to be in Canberra one day - as are the entire Botanic Gardens, of course.