Since their inception the Gardens are being dramatically re-shaped to display Australian plants and they provide an exciting and popular landscape experience over the 22.6 hectares for the community and visitors to enjoy.
About 9 hectares of the site retains diverse natural vegetation, much of which is of high quality and contains many species that are now uncommon in our region including examples of Riverine Grassy Woodland and Sedgey Riverine Forest (both Threatened in the Goulburn-Broken catchment) , Plains Woodland (Endangered in the Goulburn-Broken catchment), Swamp Riverine Woodland containing the rare Moira Bitter-cress (Cardamine moirensis) and Floodway Pond Herbland. Two EPBC-listed communities are present: Grey Box Grassy Woodland (Endangered nationally) and Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands (Critically Endangered nationally). The site also supports elements of the Woodland Bird Community (Threatened in Victoria).
All species planted in the Gardens are Australian native plants, and feature collections from seven separate collections of Australian plants.
Initiated by Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) the Garden was one of only two regional Victorian Botanic Gardens to be selected to participate in the ‘Care for the Rare’ project in 2017. The program identifies, propagates, and grows rare and threatened local species. Planting commenced in 2020.
The Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton recently undertook a project to restore the 9ha of remnant vegetation at the Gardens.
Auspice by Council the community group received a grant for $29,092 from the Victorian State Government to survey and identify the species present, areas of high value and the threats to the conservation of the vegetation. Data from the survey was then entered in the Victorian Biodiversity.
From 2017-2020 working from the survey information a Natural Vegetation Restoration Plan was developed to conserve the high-value vegetation and enhance the less diverse areas in this unique setting. The management plan ensured that the most urgent actions are carried out first, with ongoing maintenance.
Throughout the project significant inroads were made on eradication of target weed species including: Desert Ash, Olive, Brambles, Palm, St John's Wort, Soursob, Thistle, Patterson's Curse, Bathurst Burr, Madeira Winter Cherry, Lippia, Ribwort and Deadly Nightshade over the 9ha of remnant bushland. As a result of targeted weeding in areas we saw significant natural regeneration particularly in area in the Billabong area.
Weed eradication and rubbish removal in the remnant bush land at the Gardens will always be ongoing due to the nature of the site. The Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton will continue to work with Greater Shepparton City Council by removing weeds to restore the remnant bush land and to showcase site specific indigenous plant for locals and visitors to appreciate.
Bird surveys have been conducted bi-monthly since 2012 by members of BirdLife Murray Goulburn. This has created a significant data base for the Gardens with all sightings recorded on eBird.
A scattering of Silver Wattles (Acacia dealbata) throughout the River Redgum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) provides the perfect habitat and food source for gliders including the threatened, Squirrel Gliders (Petaurus norfolvensis).
Members of the Shepparton Mooroopna Urban Landcare Group together with RiverConnect have overseen the installation and monitoring of glider nest boxes in the 9 hectacres of remnant vegetation at the Gardens.