Anderson Park Botanical Gardens and Conservatory

Anderson Park is the largest of the three botanical gardens managed by Townsville City Council. We have been conveniently close to it in Mundingburra for so long that we take it for granted but a couple of recent visits reminded us how pleasant it is; reminded us, too, of the Conservatory and the exotic fruit garden.

Bismarkia and other palms in Anderson Park
Bismarkia and other palms

The Conservatory

The council doesn’t publicise the Conservatory very well (it doesn’t even rate any text on the park brochure, for instance, although it is marked as a little grey square on the map) and only opens it to the public on Tuesdays but it’s worth a look.

view of conservatory
Anderson Park Conservatory

It’s full of gingers, ferns, cycads, bromeliads and other families. Many of them feature in our own gardens, of course, but most of us don’t have so many varieties, or get them growing so well. The two which caught my eye last Tuesday were the ornamental banana and the pitcher plants.

Tropical Fruit Orchard

The Tropical Fruit Orchard is right next to the Conservatory. We didn’t spend as much time there as we would have on a cooler day but noted both Black and Yellow Sapote fruiting abundantly and dropping ripe fruit on the ground, while a Pomelo and a patch of (edible) bananas were also quite productive. Stern notices forbid the collection of any fruit from the orchard; one can see the point, although the waste of good fruit is disappointing.

Dragons and damsels at the Palmetum

The Palmetum is one ‘campus’ of Townsville’s Botanic Gardens, the other two being Queen’s Gardens in North Ward and Anderson Park near us in Mundingburra.

The Palmetum is beside Ross River just off the main road between town and the university/hospital area. Its speciality is, obviously, palms but that means a broad variety of habitats from arid to rainforest and swamp, with a correspondingly broad range of insects and birds. Here are four of the ten or more (I haven’t yet sorted them all out) species of dragonflies and damselflies I photographed in one slow walk around the lagoon yesterday.

Graphic Flutterer, Rhyothemis graphiptera
Dragonfly: Graphic Flutterer, Rhyothemis graphiptera
Orange dragonfly Tholymis tillarga or Twister
Shy dragonfly: Twister, Tholymis tillarga, hanging amongst grass seed-heads
Blue-bodied dragonfly, Black-headed Skimmer, Crocothemis nigrifrons
Dragonfly: Black-headed Skimmer, Crocothemis nigrifrons
Orange-bodied damselfly, Ceriagrion aeruginosum, Redtail, male
Damselfly: Ceriagrion aeruginosum, Redtail (this is a male - females are greenish)

Dragons and damsels are closely related, all grouped together in Odonata, but damselflies are mostly smaller than dragonflies so the last image you see here is all the pixels I’ve got, while clicking on any of the others will get you a bigger image.