afterDARK tour at Australian National Botanic Gardens- the short of it

(let me preface this post with a warning that photos do not do our tour justice!!!)

The only thing I have successfully grown is dandelions.  No plant thrives or does what the packet says it should under my care.
So tonight’s visit to the botanical garden was a challenge to me!

We, la Brochure Humaine, received a warm welcome from out hosts at Australian National Botanic Gardens with drinks and a gift as we gathered for our afterDARK tour tonight.
I threw back a tall glass of Lemon Aspen and Lilly Pilly cordial which was an exotic refreshing taste sensation.  After being split into small groups ( I was a Wattle!!) each group set off with a guide in front and a shepherd who brought up the rear.
Our guide kicked off the tour with: ‘Where else in the heart of a city can you find a rainforest and a desert?’
Indeed!

Here are a couple of highlights from  our afterDARK tour.

Our first stop was the rainforest- we looked at the layers of a rainforest- how the canopy that provides the cover they need for the understory.
Moving on to the Rainforest gully, past a busy possum we came to the warmer end of the rainforest.

We were shown a plant that houses a type of spider that only live in rainforests.  These particular spiders are thriving here which is indicative of how well this rainforest is doing.

We saw a Wollemia Nobilis- an ancient and rare tree which is another one of  the successes of the botanical garden.  It is thriving here.

Our group then spent a full minute with no light at all, just absorbing the sounds as a hive of gentle activity buzzed all around us.  It was the best!!

We reached a waterfall and what stuck in my brain was finding out that there is a frog called the Maniacal Cackle Frog (the scientific name is Perons Tree frog).  We didn’t see or hear any, but here is a video of what they sound like.  I am coming back to see one!

We reached our final  destination:  the Red Centre; it was magnificent by night- I am so interested to see what it is like by day.

The plant that captured my imagination here was the porcupine grass rings-  the centre of it dies early on and suddenly there is a ring of spiky protection around which emus and other animals come to lay their eggs.

Our guide was passionate about what she was showing us and that enthusiasm was contagious.  All the information was easy and palatable  even for a plant noob to understand.
Our tour ended at the Red Centre, where the wonderful folk at the Botanical Gardens and the staff of Floresco in the Gardens Cafe had put on a spread of yummy nibbles for us.

We ate:
Smoked salmon crostini
Duck rillette on brioche
Kangaroo ragout
Bush tomato soup

All were amazing!!

I have now been to Australian National Botanic Gardens in the daytime for breakfast and done the child friendly activities; I have gone there for the Sunset Cinema,  and now have experienced the afterDARK
tour. I actually recommend doing the afterDARK tour first as, it leaves you curious about what everything looks like in the daylight.  With limited visibility you are relying on your other senses on your journey, which I loved.

There are free guided tours here twice a day.

Go here to see what events are happening at the Botanic Gardens this month:

http://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/whatson/index.html

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