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Kings Park & Rio Tinto Naturescape

Linda Green

Linda Green

December 4, 2011

I went up to Kings Park last week and it was looking absolutely stunning with all new wildflowers flowering around the carparks. It’s obvious that all the effort and money put into getting it ready for the CHOGM meetings has really paid off.
While I was there I bought a fantastic little book called Kings Park’s Special Trees.
It features all the exotic and native trees that are special to the park and has them located on a map, so I’m sure I’ll go back and hunt out a few of the trees from the book. Anyway, that goes to show that advertising in the ladies’ loo does work, otherwise I wouldn’t have even known about it!

At the start of the walk, Grady Brand, maintenance manager of the Botanic Gardens, talked to us about a new garden that had been installed to replace the famous botanic clock. I was really surprised to hear that the clock had been removed as it was quite a historic garden. The new gardens looked good and he also told us about two mature and very old coolabah trees that had been successfully transplanted.
Kerri Young, the president of the WA branch of the Australian Institute of Horticulture gave us a few tips on maintaining some of the native plants. The main thing I picked up was that Anigozanthos rufus can’t be pruned back as hard as many of the other kangaroo paws.
Unfortunately that walk was curtailed by an unexpectedly heavy shower but we all ran for cover and then headed onto the Rio Tinto Naturescape area. We were told that it’s definitely not a playground but more of an area for connecting children with nature. It’s a very impressive site, with huge ironstone rocks at the entrances to the different walkways and a variety of surface treatments, like a range of paving styles on different paths. There are also huge granite boulders that have been carved out to make areas where children can connect with nature and use their imagination. There are a few different structures throughout the shelter, and lookouts, and 3 or 4 lakes which are all interconnected by underground boring – the reticulation had to be done by underground boring to minimise disturbance to the tree roots. Also all the rocks had to be sourced from either farm paddocks or, in the case of the ironstone, donated from up north, and all the areas from where the rocks were sourced had to be screened for dieback.
The contractor who installed the gardens was LD Total and 2 of their staff were on hand to tell us some interesting facts, like that one of the largest rocks weighed 20 tonnes and had to be craned in. It seems it was quite a difficult site but they’ve pulled it off really well. There are lots of little nooks and crannies, and overhangs and caves and shallow water and places for kids to use their imagination, so I’m sure it will become very popular as it becomes more established.