Situated along the northern boundary of Melbourne Gardens is the Southern China Collection. This collection demonstrates the diverse flora of the Southern China region, as well as offering a taste of traditional Chinese garden design, with narrow winding paths, views to the lake, and airy open spaces. The history of these plants is both geographically complex and culturally rich, and the flower displays are beautiful. China is home to approximately 8% of the world's plants, which includes dozens of familiar garden plants as well as many rare and threatened species.
This Collection supports:
- The conservation and display of the natural biodiversity of the flora of Southern China.
- Cultural and ethnobotanical uses of the plants.
- Plant species that are valued and used in horticulture. It also showcases ideas of Chinese garden design which have influenced garden design around the world.
Mei Hua, Plum Blossom
Happy Tree, Xi Shu
Red Sage, Dan Shen
Taiwan Crepe Myrtle
Mei Hua, Plum Blossom
Mei Hua is the earliest winter-flowering scented blossom and is closely related to the apricot. See the semi double white-form Prunus mume 'Alboplena' at the edge of Ornamental Lake. Mei Hua is revered in Chinese culture and is known as one of the 'Three Friends of Winter'.
Notes from the Curator
I get so much joy from curating this plant collection, and I love working within the space and seeing the views out across Ornamental Lake. Scrub Wrens and Eastern Spinebills frequent the shrubs. Perfumes in winter are sublime. The soft pinks of Peony and Cercis flowers in spring are beautiful. The weird and wonderful Arisaema flowers perform in summer. Recently 20 new plant labels have been placed that have both Chinese characters and the English translation. As well as the interpreted Southern China Collection, you can find Chinese plants within other plant collections (Herb Garden, Camellia Collection and Perennial Border) as well as in the general landscape.
Look out for magnificent lawn specimens including Keteleeria fortunei, Taiwainia cryptomerioides and Ginkgo biloba. For your home garden check out ground covers such as Aspidistra lurida, Rohdea japonica or Ophiopogon jaburan 'Vittatus' as reliable, drought tolerant perennials for shady areas.