You are currently using an outdated browser. For the best viewing experience, please upgrade your browser here.

28 Nov 2020

Care for the Rare project

BGANZ Victoria network is collaborating with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and botanic gardens across the state to nurture rare and threatened plants through the Care for the Rare project.

The plants are selected because they are either near to where the species naturally occur or the growing conditions in the wild are similar to those within the botanic garden.

The aim of the project is to establish a multi-site conservation collection of Victorian Rare or Threatened plant species (VROTs). The project is as much about building capacity for regional botanic gardens in Victoria as a conservation program.

The broad aims of the project were outlined as supporting regional botanic gardens in developing collections of locally significant rare and threatened plant species through:

  • Providing technical and curatorial support through co-developing Conservation Collection Plans for each participating garden
  • Working closely with key gardens staff to develop a sustainable approach to the development of conservation collections
  • Identifying program scope and complexity commensurate with individual gardens capacity
  • Sourcing, propagating and supplying a range of R&T Victoria taxa for distribution to participating gardens, and
  • Maximising opportunities for interpretation, and promotion of the project, particularly at regional and local levels.

As indicated in a study by Paul Tracey, Parks and Open Space Manager, Wollongong City Council (former BGANZ President), very few regional botanic gardens in Victoria have been active in plant conservation activities. The case study explored the background to this with perceived impediments to participation including challenges in sourcing rare and threatened plant material and a general lack of information about their cultural requirements and perceptions that indigenous plants might be incongruous or out of character in heritage landscapes (the majority of regional gardens in the state being established in the late 1800s and firmly based on European influences and landscape character).

Over many years BGANZ Victoria has been actively exploring how to encourage and support regional gardens in participating in conservation activities.

More recently, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria RBGV successfully gained funding support from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to activate the Care for the Rare project and to work collaboratively with regional gardens to establish conservation collections.

BGANZ Victoria opened expressions of interest to Victorian gardens to participate in the project and were ‘overwhelmed’ with 24 applications. Six gardens have been chosen for the first round of the program:

  • Ballarat Botanical Garden
  • Colac Botanic Gardens
  • Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
  • Sale Botanic Garden
  • Shepparton Botanic Gardens
  • Wilson Botanic Park Berwick

After several site visits and planning sessions, Conservation Collection Plans have been written for each participating garden which outline the broad objectives and scope for each collection, with associated plant lists.

Plant propagation and production occurs at RBGV Cranbourne Gardens Nursery with planting well on the way during 2020.

For more information about the projects please contact

Back to News