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See the World in a Short Stroll

This article was first published on 10 Dec 2014.

Rock Garden

Rock Garden

Bursting with vibrant pockets of colour, the rock garden at the Dunedin Botanic Garden is a bounty of delicious little treasures tucked into every available space.

Plants from all over the world are represented from many different habitats. There is the coastal Mertensia maritime from the Northern Hemisphere with glaucous foliage and blue flowers; Celmisia and Aciphylla from mountain regions of New Zealand; and from dry stony African slopes, the many bright hues of the African daisy, Arctotis.

Plants on the rock garden come in a huge range of habits, shapes and sizes. There is a myriad of species with underground storage organs such as Romulea; short lived plants like the many colours of annual Linaria; a variety of perennials including thrift with pink flowers erupting from grassy mounds; shrubs and miniature trees such as the dwarf rowan, Sorbus reducta from mountains in Tibet; and even the occasional large tree such as the wonderful old lancewood, Pseudopanax crassifolius.  These plants form layers in the garden protecting and complimenting each other.

As well as plants to admire, there is the added bonus of the wildlife living and feeding amongst them. Birds are the most obvious visitor or resident, but the core inhabitant is seen briefly when the sun is out - the brown common skink basks on warm rocks and scurries away as soon as movement is detected nearby.

Come and enjoy the delight of discovering what’s flowering, and see if you are quick enough to spot a skink before it detects you.

Robyn Abernethy is the Alpine Rock & Water Collection Curator at the Dunedin Botanic Garden