The cool zone houses plants from the evolution collection, including displays of floral Diversity and adaptation to the environment, is home to many bulbous plants, and some of the garden’s Mediterranean collection, including plants from the garden’s collection of Australian Proteaceae.
Under development the cool zone will eventually house a display of tender Australian Proteaceae such as Banksia, Grevillea, Hakea and Lomatia. These will form part of a permanent display featuring plants from the Mediterranean Climate Region of Western and Southern Australia. In particular plants from the heathlands of Western Australia will be grown in a specially built raised bed. The display will complement the African fynbos display in the warm temperate zone, both being home to the Proteaceae family with dramatic examples of adaptation to the environment.
Illustrating adaptation to a seasonally dry environment, a large display of South African bulbous or ‘geophytic’ grow including: Haemanthus coccineus and Brunsvigia orientalis, whose orange-red flowers appear in autumn before the leaves emerge. The carion fly pollinated Ferraria crispa and bird pollinated watsonias are grown along with many other bulb species. In time more bulbous plants will be added to the collection from other Mediterranean Climate Regions.
Future plans for this area include a display of plants illustrating extreme pollination relationship, for example fly pollinated plants: Sauromatum venustum and Arisaema consanguineum, together with a much extended collection of carnivorous plants including a large display of Sarracenia species and principal hybrids.
The cool zone has very little heat during winter when temperatures can drop to a few degrees above freezing. The cool zone is also used as a reserve area for growing on young plants, overwintering plants and as a holding area for tender plants.
It is currently not open to the public, but many plants are displayed near to its entrance and can be seen easily.