For some reason, my husband and children didn't feel inclined to join me in my tour of the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, because they preferred the prospect of the Snakes'n'Ladders fun-park, the weirdos! So I was able to be a serious plant geek all by myself. There was only one problem. I discovered too late (that is, when the car had disappeared from sight) that the cafe was not open -- it doesn't seem to have fixed hours. The signs for "Grinders coffee" and "Raisin toast" taunted my rumbling tummy. And it was hot. And the bore water in the taps isn't potable: there is a single rainwater tank up by the cafe. By chance I happened to have a child's water bottle tucked into my bag, otherwise my afternoon would have been quite unpleasant. Lacking physical sustenance, I nonetheless had a botanical feast...
The first plant I noticed was this Halgania andromedifolia, with thumbnail-sized stars on a 1m shrub.
All hakeas have interesting seed-pods. I caught this Needlewood (Hakea leucoptera) with the seed still attached.
This pretty flower is from an Emu-bush (Eremophila). They all have the same structure, and the flowers are 3-5cm long, depending on species. They are becoming more popular in gardens because they flower well.
A look inside the Spotted Fuchsia, E maculata.
This would have to be my favourite, the Pearl Blue-Bush (Maireana sedifolia). It is a very small shrub to 30cm. I can imagine it used as a border or very low hedge in dry areas, in place of that boring box.
Imagine my joy when I discovered its dainty flower on another plant!
I was rather startled to find a formal rose garden, but it turns out there is a separate section for exotic plants that can cope with the dryland climate. I don't particularly admire this rose, but I love bees.
I did, however, admire the hoop-and-post arrangement for the collection of climbing roses. Most roses were only just coming into flower; this is 'Maria Callas'.
This showy flower is an Alyogyne huegelii alba, I think. A tall but leggy shrub, good at the back of a garden bed. The flowers only last a day, but they keep coming.
Couldn't find a tag on this presumed Rice-flower from WA. The 30cm Pimelea was almost covered in hot-pink blooms. To be truthful, they clashed with the red soil.
Lastly, another plant I fell in love with while walking in Mildura. The Willow-leafed Wattle, Acacia iteaphylla, has wonderful foliage and striking seed-pods, which give the impression of a silvery cascade. Here it has been underplanted with Convolvulus cneorum.
While the garden is still in development, it is already a wonderful resource if you are interested in the flora of this part of Australia. Just remember to carry your own supplies!