Style of the Australian Rock Back garden

I wrote not too long ago about the Australian Rock Backyard garden at the Arboretum & Botanic Backyard at UC Santa Cruz, as a resource for house gardeners. For today’s column, we’ll outline the heritage, design and style and enhancement of this distinctive aspect at the Arboretum.

The accompanying photos have been offered by the Arboretum’s volunteer photographer Monthly bill Bishoff, with our appreciation.

In the mid-1980s, the Arboretum gained a large cargo of topsoil (some 15,000 cubic yards) that had been excavated from one more site on the UCSC campus. This soil was shipped to the Arboretum’s Australian Area, selected as the Elvenia J. Slosson Research Back garden.

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

These areas are compatible with the world’s Mediterranean local climate zones (also referred to as summertime-dry areas), all of which are represented at the UCSC Arboretum.

Australia’s diverse geography incorporates a broad wide range of landscapes, in addition to these summertime-dry locations. They consist of tropical rainforests in the northeast, mountain ranges in the southeast, southwest and east, and desert in the center, frequently recognized as the outback.

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

The style principle envisioned the western region’s mound would screen indigenous Australian crops extending the western beach to an inland space, and the japanese region’s mound would characteristic plants from an inland location to the jap coastline. The vegetation on just about every mound also would be positioned to align with their coastal or inland organic habitats.

This design and style principle reflects the Arboretum’s emphasis on botanical analysis and education and learning and gives guests with a living demonstration of a goal region of this continent’s botanical variety. To dig deeper into this subject, browse to and research for “Flora of Australia.”

Curator Kralj experienced equally the eyesight and the guide role in the development of the Australian Rock Backyard garden as large tools shaped the substantial mounds of soil and quite a few tons of boulders. These boulders were being chosen from place suppliers to be consistent with Australian geology. (Other spots of the Arboretum incorporate limestone boulders discovered on the UCSC campus.) This do the job continued from 2008 to 2016, as present cash supported the project’s progress.

As with all gardens, the Australian Rock Yard continues to evolve as the original plants mature and new vegetation are obtained to refine the design of the installation. The early installation of a solar-run pond element did not be successful, so an aquatic element may even now be included, dependent on electrical service to the Rock Garden.

Early in Melinda Kralj’s Arboretum profession at the Arboretum, she received deep awareness of Australian plants from extended analysis visits to the continent with founding director Ray Collett and other Arboretum employees and analyzed with Australian plantspeople.

She retired from the Arboretum staff in June of 2021. Brett Hall’s assessment of Melinda’s successful operate at the Arboretum can be located on line at She nevertheless contributes her time and skills in the Australian Rock Back garden, which will also be recognized as her motivated creation.

This Garden’s level of popularity as a feature of the UCSC Arboretum began with its earliest existence and carries on to evolve as a resource for browsing gardeners.

Tom Karwin is previous president of Good friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Society, a Lifetime Member of the Monterey Bay Spot Cactus & Succulent Modern society, and a UC Master Gardener. He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Modern society, and energetic with the Pacific Horticultural Society.