Design of the Australian Rock Garden

Design of the Australian Rock Garden

I wrote just lately about the Australian Rock Backyard garden at the Arboretum & Botanic Yard at UC Santa Cruz, as a resource for dwelling gardeners. For today’s column, we’ll outline the background, design and style and growth of this exclusive aspect at the Arboretum.

The accompanying photos have been presented by the Arboretum’s volunteer photographer Invoice Bishoff, with our appreciation.

In the mid-1980s, the Arboretum gained a substantial cargo of topsoil (some 15,000 cubic yards) that had been excavated from a further site on the UCSC campus. This soil was delivered to the Arboretum’s Australian Portion, designated as the Elvenia J. Slosson Exploration Yard.

The Australian Garden’s Curator, Melinda Kralj, had conceived the development of a mounded rock backyard garden in two sections, symbolizing southwestern and southeastern botanical regions of the continent “down beneath.”

These areas are compatible with the world’s Mediterranean weather zones (also termed summer-dry areas), all of which are represented at the UCSC Arboretum.

Australia’s diverse geography consists of a large variety of landscapes, in addition to these summertime-dry regions. They include tropical rainforests in the northeast, mountain ranges in the southeast, southwest and east, and desert in the middle, generally identified as the outback.

The place concerning the Australian Rock Garden’s western and jap mounds serves as a visitor’s pathway linking the two planted mounds, and symbolizes Australia’s big desert or semi-arid location concerning the coasts,

The layout strategy envisioned the western region’s mound would show indigenous Australian vegetation extending the western seashore to an inland place, and the japanese region’s mound would aspect plants from an inland space to the jap coast. The vegetation on each and every mound also would be positioned to align with their coastal or inland all-natural habitats.

This style notion demonstrates the Arboretum’s focus on botanical investigate and education and learning and presents website visitors with a residing demonstration of a target location of this continent’s botanical diversity. To dig deeper into this subject, browse to and lookup for “Flora of Australia.”

Curator Kralj had both of those the eyesight and the guide function in the growth of the Australian Rock Backyard as heavy gear formed the massive mounds of soil and many tons of boulders. These boulders were chosen from space suppliers to be dependable with Australian geology. (Other places of the Arboretum include limestone boulders uncovered on the UCSC campus.) This operate continued from 2008 to 2016, as gift cash supported the project’s progress.

As with all gardens, the Australian Rock Backyard proceeds to evolve as the original crops mature and new vegetation are obtained to refine the style of the set up. The early set up of a photo voltaic-powered pond feature did not do well, so an aquatic characteristic could possibly still be additional, dependent on electrical services to the Rock Garden.

Early in Melinda Kralj’s Arboretum vocation at the Arboretum, she obtained deep understanding of Australian vegetation from extended investigate visits to the continent with founding director Ray Collett and other Arboretum team and studied with Australian plantspeople.

She retired from the Arboretum staff members in June of 2021. Brett Hall’s evaluate of Melinda’s productive get the job done at the Arboretum can be identified on-line at She however contributes her time and knowledge in the Australian Rock Yard, which will also be recognised as her influenced generation.

This Garden’s acceptance as a function of the UCSC Arboretum began with its earliest existence and proceeds to evolve as a resource for visiting gardeners.

Tom Karwin is past president of Close friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Culture, a Life span Member of the Monterey Bay Place Cactus & Succulent Culture, and a UC Master Gardener. He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Modern society, and active with the Pacific Horticultural Modern society.