Death of a Titan:Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens

Melbourne Botanic Garden’s Titan Arum has wilted and in its last days. Pollen from the flower which bloomed on December 25, 2012 has been collected and may be used to pollinate a second Titan Arum that is located in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens back shed.  The Second plant, which is expected to flower next month, will not be on display.

The Melbourne Titan Arum is a great achievement and worthy of praise for the botanists that helped cultivate the flowers. With over 5000 public visits  the flower has generated much interest and news reports both locally and internationally.

What is of concern is the state of the Botanic Garden’s glass houses, which are in need of redevelopment and replacement,  

The RBG, sadly, have no plans to upgrade the glass house facilities.  A review of the RBG Master plan fails to mention any proposals for the Glass house area redevelopment. If you view the master plan it is not really a Master plan at all. More like a 5 year report card then a plan for the Gardens future development.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is reliant on Government and

Philanthropic funding, basically they are underfunded and their priority at this stage is to become less reliant upon potable water for irrigation. The implementation of the ‘Working Wetlands’ project is part of that goal.

Whilst we support the direction the gardens are taking we are never the less concerned that the Master plan has not addressed the basic need for a redevelopment and construction of a new glass house facility. the Master Plan should at least give an indication as to the scope and possible redevelopment of the existing hot house facilities. It is only then that members of the public and benefactors can get behind the need for a better tropical exotic plants facility. A new redesigned hothouse facility would place Melbourne in the forefront of excellence.  It would also allow the plants to be properly housed and cultivated providing better public viewing and appreciation.  A well designed facility, along the lines of the Princess of Wales glass house in Kew UK, could become a major attraction in the color winter months.

There has long been talk about establishing a Winter Garden for Melbourne,  The Queen Ann Gardens and the site adjacent to Federation Square have been flagged as possible alternative sites for a Winter Garden, but nothing has come of it.  The idea serves as a talking point at election time and is never followed up.