Spring is here which means Sydney’s beautiful botanic gardens are starting to bloom from the Harbour to western Sydney, and beyond to the Blue Mountains, showcasing some of the most spectacular spring garden displays.
Botanic gardens are renowned for their unique and diverse collections of native and exotic plants from all over the world. In fact, our three botanic gardens combined proudly house a collection of 16,231 types of living plants, over 100 million seeds in our Seed Vault (including 61% of NSW’s listed flora) and over 1.4 million pressed botanic specimens. We are currently building a new home for the National Herbarium of NSW at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
Whether you are a plant enthusiast or looking for something new to experience on the weekend, we have compiled the best times you can see our spring displays throughout the season at our three botanic gardens: the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
NSW’s major tourist attraction boasts some of the best spring displays in Sydney. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney features living collections from almost every continent in the world across its 30 hectares.
Spring bedding though is at its best throughout September with the Garden’s famous Spring Walk in bloom. This display has been a calendar highlight in the Garden for 163 years when Charles Moore planted an Azalea Garden along the south side of the Macquarie Wall in 1856. This year’s display features Buttercups, China Pinks, Snap dragons and Pansies. Other flowering delights include the South African Rothmania globosa, Wisteria, Orchids and Clivias.
In October, the Tabernaemontana pandacaqui, better known as the Windmill or Banana Bush, Bletia and Dendrobium orchid species, and the Herb Garden are flourishing. Don’t miss Bed 97 with spectacular Bignoniaceae, or Trumpetvine family specimens growing including Handroanthus and Tecoma trees, as they showcase their incredible colourful blooms. This is also the time of year when Sydney starts to turn purple with the iconic Jacarandas. We have 20 trees including a rare white one located on Lawn 34.
By November, the Trial Garden, Palace Rose Garden, Begonias and First Farm will be the best displays to see across the Garden. All of these plants are easily accessible and can be located directly on your smartphone or tablet when visiting the Garden using our free Wifi and Garden Explorer.
Australia Botanic Garden Mount Annan
If Australian plants are your thing then the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is your must-see destination this spring. Our 2,000 m2 spring display will have your head buzzing with ideas of how you can transform your own garden into a botanic display that will be the envy of your neighbours.
The Garden’s most iconic spring display is the Western Australian Paper Daisy display which runs throughout September to the end of October and is one of the most visited and photographed flower displays in Sydney. This year's display features over a million flowers that will create a lush carpet of pink, yellow and white!
The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is also known for its vast Wattle display throughout September of over 260 species. Other areas of the Garden to explore include the Banksia Garden for Grevilleas and Hakeas and the Connections Garden. In late spring keep an eye out for the bright red flowers of the Queensland Tree Waratah (Alloxylon flammeum).
For those who are more interested in soft and delicate flowers the Flannel Flower (Actinotus spp.) is a very touchable plant with soft velvety flowers. Other showy spring plants include Feather Flowers (Verticordia spp.), Everlasting Daisies and Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum), Rice Flower (Ozothamnus diosmifolius), Qualup Bell (Pimelea physodes), Bulbine Lily (Bulbine bulbosa) and Blue Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia biloba).
The Garden also features 20 km of walking tracks, lakes, themed gardens, picnic areas and a Stonehenge-type sundial and outdoor sculptures. Find out what’s on and plan your trip here.
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah
Spring is a great time of the year to make a day trip up to the Blue Mountains’ Bells Line of Road and visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. It is Australia’s highest botanic garden with over 5,200 species of diverse and beautiful cool climate plants.
Originally a cut flower farm, this Garden is renowned for its bulb displays. The annual Daffodil display (24 August – 1 September) features over 50,000 bulbs this year making it the largest display ever created at the Garden.
The Wild about Waratahs Festival is also another flowering festival not to miss with entries from the Australian waratah growers competition on display from around the country at the Garden. This year’s festival has a packed program of tours, workshops, an ikebana exhibition and food stalls. Throughout September the Garden’s Rhododendrons, Pieris, Cherries and Wisteria cultivars are in bloom.
The Garden’s Maples are also a treat to see with over 210 different species and cultivars scattered around the Garden. Many people associate these with autumn colour but they are arguably as spectacular in spring with beautiful bracts and bark on show. The unusual Snake Bark Maples (Acer sect. Macrantha) and the Paper Bark Maple (A. griseum) are well worth seeking out.
The striking Blue Puya (Puya alpestris ssp. zoellneri) from the mountains of Chile, South America produce spectacular jade blue flowers on spikes up to 3 m tall. These can be seen in the lower Rock Garden and are covered in various birds and bees who feed on the sweet nectar. You can see them in bloom from October to December along with over 200 different Dahlia and Peony cultivars in the Formal Garden and Peony Bed.
Find out more
As you can see there is so much to see, admire and experience in our Gardens during spring. Plan your trip using Garden Explorer or the Garden’s dedicated websites.
To inspire your visits, check out our gallery of spring blooms from across our gardens.