Tim Entwisle

About Tim Entwisle

Dr Tim Entwisle is a scientist and scientific communicator with a broad interest in plants, science and gardens, and Director & Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Previously he was Director of Conservation, Living Collections & Estates at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and prior to that, Director of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens for eight years. Read Tim's full blog at Talking Plants

Cracking the Saxifraga crust

Let loose into the rock garden at La Thomasia, the alpine annexe of Musée et Jardins Botaniques Cantonaux in Switzerland, it was difficult to stay tuned to the expert commentary with so many flowers to peer at and photograph. The saxifrages particularly caught my eye but I did pick up a mention of them being an ‘air conditioning plant’ … or maybe an ‘air conditioned plant’. Continue reading

Can bald cypress breathe through its knobbly knees?

Today I’m in an investigative mood – do bald cypresses breath through their knees? This was a question posed to me by our Melbourne Gardens Senior Curator of Horticulture, Peter Symes. Below is a cypress knee in Melbourne, and a collection (a ‘knobble’ perhaps) of knees at the South China Botanical Garden in Guangzhou (taken during a visit in 2009). Continue reading

The exotic gardens and culture of Spain

On my first visit to Spain, I ran around madly photographing Mediterranean herbs and flowers I’d seen in gardens but not in nature, stunning garden landscapes, and everything washed in that sunlight that has besotted so many artists over the years. What a place! I can’t wait to return to Spain in May next year to lead Australians Studying Abroad’s Gardens in Spanish Culture tour. Continue reading

Australian nonsmoking plant

Native Tobacco grows in rocky places throughout the eastern two-thirds of New South Wales and all but the north-central chunk of Victoria, in the Arid and Home Gardens at Cranbourne Gardens, and at least temporarily in my front garden at home. Continue reading

Meet our Papuan heath family member

This rather exotic heath, with flowers and fruits like a pumped-up blueberry, is four years old. It was propagated from a cutting by our nursery horticulturist Dermot Molloy. Until a month or so ago we hadn’t confirmed its species name, although we knew it was a Papua New Guinean member of the heath family and, we were pretty sure, in the genus Dimorphanthera. Continue reading

A possible cancer cure tree; only 4000 left in wild

It’s a happy person that doesn’t have cancer. And it’s a Happy Tree that might provide one of the cures for cancers. Camtothecin was discovered by western medicine in the 1950s, when it was extracted from what we call the Happy Tree, from the Chinese name Xi Shu. Botanically it’s known as Camtotheca acuminata, one of two species in the genus Camtotheca – a name that translates as ‘curved sheath’, a possible reference to the miniature banana-like fruits. Continue reading