The plant collections
Other Australian native plants and exotics from similar climates around the world are also grown for special interest or to show visitors how to "mix and match" these natives with plants that they may already have in their own backyards.
The Botanic Gardens display and research this flora in a number of ways - either representing an existing area or landform with a garden consisting of plants and imagery typical of the area - e.g. - the Finch Hatton Gorge Waterway Garden, Sarina/Proserpine Lowlands Garden etc, or with a theme that addresses use of plants from a range of areas with similar needs e.g. - The Tropical Shade Garden (shade loving plants).
Natives and exotics are also used in specialised precincts that tell important stories of plants and people, such as the Heritage Gardens, Coal Garden and Ethno-botanic Gardens.
Some key collections currently include:
|Tropical Shade Gardens and The Fernery - A range of tropical and subtropical species from Queensland and comparable regions of the world are displayed under the established tree canopy. Many of the species are suitable for use in indoor situations and feature plants in landscapes. Some of the botanic gardens rare and threatened species, as well as more unusual plants, can be found here. Ferns collected from the high altitude rainforests of the Eungella Plateau are a special highlight.|
|The Screens and Hedges Garden - an important trial garden growing Bioregional and native plants not generally used - as clipped hedges and screening plants. Trees, shrubs and vines are clipped into forms popular with todays smaller backyards.|
|The Brigalow Belt Garden - showing plants usually found along creekline that have adapted to the dry inland and coast areas adjacent to our bioregion, that can survive the wet summers of Mackay whilst required no supplimentary watering during the 3-4 month dry of winter and spring.|
|The Malta Garden - displaying waterwise plants with links to the dry coastal climate of Malta and plants significant to the history of this tiny island in the Meditteranean. Emmegrants from Malta make up the largest multicultural community of Mackay.|
|Gymnosperm Garden - a diverse garden the displays these ancient non-flowering, seed bearing plants from Australia and around the globe. Cycads and Araucarias are a feature here.|
|South Sea Islander Precinct - Features the Australian South Sea Islander Meeting Hut surrounded by the Garden of Memories. This area is a historical tourist attraction built for access to the broader community with South Sea Islander caretakers in recognition of the contribution they made to the sugar industry in the Mackay district.|
|Japan Precinct - Mackay's most active Sister City relationship is with Matsuura City in Kyushu, Japan. The relationship is fostered by the Mackay/Matsuura Sister City Community Committee, in Mackay, and the Matsuura International Friendship Association, in Matsuura. To commemorate this relationship, a Japan Precinct, a simple garden interpretation using Australian natives and plants of Japanese origin in a modern Australian landscape.|
Local gardening and horticultural groups also assist the Botanic Gardens with small, but often spectacular sub-collections housed with the larger garden collections. These include Australian Native Orchids, exotic Bromeliads and Tillandsias, and native and exotic Tassle Ferns.