Despite the far from Australian summer we have had in the UK, the plants in the Australia Landscape outside the British Museum have flourished. Some of the most colourful come from the driest parts of Australia.
Many of the plant species in the Australia Landscape have done well over the summer, with lots of new growth, flowers and fresh young foliage to be seen. At the moment the most colourful section is the desert, where the blooms contrast with the bright red sand that represents the famous 'red centre' of this huge continent.
View of the Australia Landscape
The dark maroon-red flowers of kangaroo paws and the golden-yellow, daisy flowers of Bracteantha dominate this part of the landscape, but amongst these can be seen a few glorious red blooms of Sturt's desert pea, Swainsona formosa, the floral emblem of South Australia, and the pussy tails, Ptilotus exaltatus, also known as pink mulla mulla, with their fluffy pink flower spikes. Both these species grow in the driest parts of Australia, so to see them blooming outside the British Museum in London is a real treat.
Left, Swainsona formosa and right, Ptilotus exaltatus, flowering in the desert zone
Away from the desert zone, colour can be seen beneath the lush plantings of eastern Australian trees and shrubs, particularly the blue flowers of the Swan River daisy, Brachyscome, that line the paths. These have been flowering all summer long.
The blue flowers of the Swan River daisy
Bottle brushes (Callistemon) and silky oak (Grevillea) are among the shrubs still flowering and Grevillea robusta is doing very well, with several orange-red, spidery flower heads on display.
The silky oak, Grevillea robusta, in flower
After a difficult dry start to the season in April and May, the majority of the plants in the Australia Landscape have settled in well and many have put on lots of new growth, including the Wollemi pine and Acacia baileyana. Even the subtropical bangalow palm, Archontophoenix alexandrae, has sent out new leaves.
Amongst the eastern Australian plants is the bangalow palm, Archontophoenix alexandrae
Kew at the British Museum is open until 16 October so there is plenty of time to visit this piece of Australia in the middle of London and see these plants for yourself.
- Richard -
About Steve, Tony and Richard
Steve Ruddy is Manager of the Garden Development Unit, and is responsible for concept design, planning and delivery of a diverse range of projects, services and activities at Kew.
Tony Hall is responsible for Kew’s Arboretum, managing the globally important plant collections and heritage landscape. Expert in all aspects of plant growth and care, Tony manages the Arboretum Nursery ensuring the collections are safe guarded for the future. You can find out more about his work by following the Arboretum team blog.
Richard Wilford is the Collections Manager in the Hardy Display Section at Kew. His responsibilities include both nursery collections and collections on public display such as the Alpine plants, Grass Garden, Woodland and Rock Garden, and Order Beds at Kew. Richard also frequently contributes to the Alpine and Rock Garden team blog.
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