Monday, September 24, 2018

Butterflies and Tropical Splendour in Springtime at Cairns Botanical Gardens, FNQ

A Butterfly on a Red Pentas
Surrounded by beautiful butterflies and exquisite tropical orchids, I thought I was in Heaven, however I was in the Orchid House and the Butterfly exhibit at the Cairns Botanical Gardens, in Far North Queensland. The gardens are impressive to say the least. Coastal Cairns like most of Australia, hasn't had any rain, and yet the gardens have retained their tropical Springtime splendour. The Orchid House was our first destination within the Gardens because of my passion for Tropical orchids, and when I could bring myself to leave, we followed the well constructed paths and discovered lots more.  Are you feeling like a visit to the Tropics? Dear Friends, I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took along the way.

This butterfly was undeterred by the amateur photographer taking a close up shot.

Butterflies love Pentas. It's as simple as that.

Red Pentas flowers, loved by the butterflies
This Cochlic Stema Adoratissimum plant from the Orchid House, pictured below was just stunning, so stunning that I took three photos of it. If you live in Cairns, you too can grow this one.

A Cochlic stema adoratissimum

Yellow orchids always make a beautiful show.

A delicate yellow Aggregatum orchid below.

This purple soft cane dendrobium hanging modestly from  a branch was so impressive. One of my aims in life is to grow one to this size. Just beautiful.

A glorious display of Phalaenopsis.

Beautiful Begonias

Most orchid lovers have a Vanda or two in their collection. The purple one looks like one of mine, which unfortunately isn't in flower.

This trailing Button orchid is growing as an epiphyte on a tree with the neighbouring Tillandsias. Then I find the tranquility of the waterlillies in a glistening oasis in the Orchid House.

On venturing out into the gardens we found these red Brazilian beauties.

ACANTHACEAE. Megaskepasma erythrochlamys. Brazilian Red Cloak
One of the benefits for me from visiting Botanical Gardens, apart from enjoying the surrounding beauty of the plants, is also being able to identify and name  plants in my own garden. The Brazilian Red Cloak grows well in the rainforest section of our garden, despite often needing a hard prune back. My Mum who always lived in Rockhampton where I grew up, gave me a cutting of this many years ago however she didn't know what it was called, and neither did we. It was a bit spindly in her back yard garden in Rocky, however it has thrived at our place in Mackay in the more tropical environment. Obviously it thrives in Cairns and makes quite a show. It would do any backyard in a tropical habitat proud. It's full name is: ACANTHACEAE. Megaskepasma erythrochlamys or Brazilian Red Cloak from Venezuela, South America.

It's time to give the fabulous Friends of the Cairns Botanical Gardens a plug.

We were there on a Thursday, and the Friends had an impressive table, full of plants for sale, just near the kiosk. These had come out of a nursery of plants propagated by the Friends themselves and were selling for $8.00 each. We bought a few for ourselves which we are thrilled with, and also bought a couple for Shannon and Dan's new garden in Cairns. If you fancy any of the plants that you see in the Gardens for your home garden, within reason of course,  the Friends welcome meeting you and will walk back to their nursery and most probably have the plant you want. This is such an economical way of buying new plants  such as the Brazilian Cloak, which often aren't available through the commercial nurseries. We left feeling like very happy shoppers with a box full of plants.


A massed variety of Bromeliads make quite a show, and whilst I couldn't take photos of all of them, this one stood out in the crowd. It is named Queen Mary which is rather nice and originates in Cost Rica. I presume it was discovered a long time ago. However  beware, these can become a very large plant.

I am always attracted to purple flowers in a garden, as are often the birds and the bees. The Petrea Mayensis beckoned me in to take a photo and reminded me of the beautiful Purple Salvia in my garden. This plant could be a must have for my garden one day if I can find a large enough spot for it to grow in.

I love these rich pink Medinillas, and different varieties are growing everywhere amongst the tropical foliage. I bought two varieties from the Cairns Friends during a previous visit to Cairns.

Pretty pink Torch Ginger


Ornamental Gingers are everywhere

Peace Lillies
White Peace Lillies or Spathophyllum lining a shaded pathway are quintessential to Botanical gardens and I love the serenity they project. These were all beautifully healthy and well cared for.

If I had stopped to take photos of all the beautiful plants in the Gardens I would still be there, and Mr. HRK long gone, ha, ha. However I left motivated, and enthused to revisit my garden at home and to just enjoy the pleasure that creating something special in the garden brings. I hoped you enjoyed some of the photos, and if you can, visit these glorious gardens at any time of the year,  you won't be disappointed.

The main reason for visiting Cairns was to celebrate our daughter's engagement to a wonderful young man, with an Engagement and Housewarming party. I've been alluding to that for a few weeks now. We had a wonderful time, and the food catering was a success. More about that later.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. What lovely plants, Pauline. I doubt that some of them would survive here. I did visit Cairns back in the early seventies but I think it was on a day trip from Innisfail and I can't even remember what we saw. It was raining though ;-)

    1. I think they would struggle in Toowoomba Chel but you have so many beautiful flowers like the Clivea that we can't grow. Cairns is a beautiful destination for a holiday. It's changed a lot since the 70s LOL.

  2. Lovely photos! We could do with some of that tropical warmth. Today was almost like winter!

    1. Thanks Lorraine. Maybe you can find a restaurant or two to review in Cairns, there are some very good ones, also take in the beautiful weather, and the coffee culture is alive and well.

  3. I love visiting Botanic Gardens because I always leave feeling so inspired. Thank you for sharing so many lovely photos of the plants. I grew up south-west of Cairns and my Mum still lives up that way. She grows many tropical plants, like bromeliads and orchids too, in her garden. I love flying in over Cairns city when I visit as it always feels like coming home. Meg:)

    1. Thanks Meg. It is a beautiful part of the world and now that our daughter lives there we visit quite often. We love it. It's always nice to go back home isn't it?

  4. What a beautiful place. I especially love the pond with water lilies. So pretty.

  5. yes i agree there is something wonderfully enticing about purple flowers! fab butterfly photo. cheers sherry


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