Molecular Science Garden

Where is the Molecular Sciences garden?

The Molecular Science garden is on the north side of the Molecular Science building (4 Wally’s Walk), adjacent to the level 1 terrace. It looks towards the Biology garden.

Historically the garden has been managed by staff in the department of Biological Sciences, especially Roger Hiller, Alison Downing, and more recently Samantha Newton.

What can we see in the garden?

The key focus of the garden is the wide variety of Vireya Rhododendrons propagated by Roger Hiller. Feature trees include the Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Coin Spot tree Ferns (Cyathea cooperi), Champak (Magnolia champaca), Hill’s Silky Oak or White Yiel Yiel (Grevillea hilliana). A large number of cycads have been collected by Alison Downing. These include: Zululand Cycad (Encephalartos ferox), Sago Cycad (Cycas revoluta), Natal Grass Cycad (Stangeria eriopus) and Burrawang (Macrozamia communis). See below for more detail.

 Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): The deciduous tree, with the bilobed leaves, that turns a spectacular golden yellow in autumn. They are native to China, but popular in many temperate areas. Male and female cones are borne on separate trees. Most of the trees in Australia are male
 Coin Spot Tree Ferns (Cyathea cooperi): Coin Spot Tree Ferns are native to NSW and cope with warmer temperatures better than other tree ferns. They grow tall, and get their name from the oval, coin-shaped pattern left on the trunk when the fronds fall.
 Vireya Rhododendrons: Vireyas are a group of Rhododendrons native to south-east Asia. There are many species and cultivars that are able to flourish in temperate, usually frost free, areas. Roger Hiller, Honorary Associate Professor with the Department of Biological Sciences, has been propagating different species and cultivars for many years. There are many different colours, which you will see in the Molecular Science garden throughout the year. Different plants will flower at different times, depending on when conditions are right for them
 Cycads: Cycads are a very old group of plants that evolved around 200 million years ago. They are slow growing, with large, very tough leaves radiating from their centre. The ‘fruit’ is a cone with male and female cones borne on separate plants. There are 4 different cycads in the Molecular Science garden: Zululand Cycad (Encephalartos ferox) (pictured), Sago Cycad (Cycas revoluta), Natal Grass Cycad (Stangeria eriopus) and Burrawang (Macrozamia communis).
What’s new in the garden?

We’ve recently done some work to the garden to tidy it up and make it a more pleasurable component of the terrace area. We’ve added some new shrubs.

 Leptospermum liversidgei ‘Mozzie Blocker’: A cultivar of a native shrub that may discourage mozzies from being in the garden. Mozzie Blocker has pretty pale pink flowers in spring and the leaves are aromatic and give off a citronella scent.
 Round-leaf Mint Bush (Prostanthera rotundifolia): Evergreen shrub with aromatic foliage with a native ‘mint’ smell. A profusion of purple flowers appears in spring.
 Trailing Guinea Flower (Hibbertia empetrifolia): A scrambling evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers from winter to spring.
 Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum): A perennial shrub form the daisy family with fragrant foliage. The fragrance may be lemony or camphor-like, and repels some insects.
 Citronella-scented Geranium (Pelargonum sp.): A perennial shrub with rough attractively lobed, fragrant leaves. Mauve flowers appear in late winter to summer.
 Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’: A perennial shrub with deeply divided, dark green leaves, and showy orange red brush shaped flowers.
 Lemon Ironwood (Backhousia citriodora): An evergreen bushy tree with strongly lemon scented foliage.
 Callistemon ‘Little John’: A compact evergreen shrub with blue-grey foliage and dark red ‘bottlebrush’ flowers in spring and summer.
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