The Barossa Bushgardens (BBG) commenced in 2001 after the realisation of just how little native vegetation remained in the Barossa region. Most of the remnant vegetation is only found on roadsides and reserves with species numbers dwindling at an alarming rate.
At this time, the seven-hectare site of the BBG, was a grazing paddock in poor condition, with only one 400-year-old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) that was in very bad shape. Volunteers began planting with understory species around the Old Gum Tree. These plants now provide a seed source to supply stock for the BBG Community Nursery. Tubestock grown on-site supply plants for home gardens, shelterbelts, bush, native grassland restoration, orchards, vineyards, and other productive agriculture enterprises.
Today, the gardens are home to about 130 of the 400+ species of plants that can be found in the region, some of which are rare or critically endangered. It showcases different plant associations, as well as garden beds filled with a diversity of vegetation. Most areas are wheelchair accessible and the BBG promotes mental health and wellbeing through the Labyrinth, Dementia Friendly Garden, Food for the Soul Community Garden, as well as offering weekly dementia and disability-friendly workshops.
At the BBG Natural Resource Centre (NRC), information is available to assist the community with sustainable living, land and natural resource management, and ways of adapting to the changing climate. The BBG NRC hosts and facilitates regular workshops, presentations, and field sessions to provide skills and knowledge development, to improve and enhance our environment. These include a range of topics such as recycling, plant identification, weed control methods, plants for bees workshops, insect ID, and many more.
The site is managed by the Barossa Bushgardens Section 41 Committee (of The Barossa Council) with the support of over 60 individual volunteers and three part-time staff. The Committee maintains a Strategic Plan and recently updated its Urban Design Framework (Master Plan). This work has been undertaken to ensure a coordinated and planned approach to any further works and/or developments.
The BBG values its close relationships with several organisations, including disability support groups, Reconciliation Barossa, schools, environmental groups and local businesses. We also have a close partnership with the Friends of the Barossa Bushgardens (FoBB), who support us with the organisation of events and workshops, as well as the development of informative material and newsletters. FoBB are key in assisting us to build relationships with other community organisations, environmental groups and raise funds for projects through grant applications and the collection of donations.