Chinese Lion in Chinese garden at the botanical Gardens

Chinese guardian lion, pinyin shī

Calycanthus chinensis

Spectacular white Winter Sweet, Calycanthus chinensis

The Chinese Collection is a display of plants collected by a Gardens’ staff member during a field trip to Yunnan Province, near the Tibetan border in 1992. The wild collected seed came from a variety of plant communities and has been augmented with donations of wild collected specimens from the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.  It features a layer of deciduous trees that have been under-planted with species rhododendrons , various sub-shrubs and species ground-covers.

The garden is not a traditional formal Chinese garden, but more a naturalistic and stylised garden, where paths of exposed aggregate wind through a woodland environment. There are a number of rustic limestone walls and flagstone steps with readily identifiable shell fossils.

This garden presents interest throughout the year with spring and summer flowers, autumn foliage and seed, and glorious winter bark. The collection features trees such Acer (Maples), Cercis (Red Bud), Betula (Birches) and conifers with an understory of species Rhododendrons. This collection of Rhododendrons is a must see for the enthusiast as there are no cultivars, only species provenanced from the wild.

Many of the plants in this collection you will find no where else in Australia.

image of a Cercis yunnanensis in full flower with pink blooms

Cercis yunnanensis

Please try the virtual garden below. Just run your curser over the image to get the arrow chevrons, click and hold to move the image around, or click to move from one area to the other.