First recorded European garden
It is not certain whether it was the British or French who established the first recorded garden on mainland Australia.
In 1783 the French government decided to mount an expedition to the Pacific to complete Captain James Cook‘s unfinished work, King Louis XVI himself helping to craft the plan and itinerary for captain La Pérouse. After visiting Norfolk Island La Pérouse had entered Botany Bay on 26 January 1788 just as the first ships of the British First Fleet were setting out with Phillip for Port Jackson. La Pérouse and Phillip did not meet, but French and remaining British officers mixed happily as the French lingered in Botany Bay for six weeks refitting their ships and planting a vegetable garden, later known as the ‘French Garden’ . This garden would supply later British colonists with vegetables for many years. The only description we have of the garden is by a Frenchmen aboard Coquille under captain Duperrey in 1824, who noted the remaining reputation of the garden along with some physical traces of the garden itself. The site was always respected by the British, Governor Macquarie intending to plant a beautiful garden on the site and to retain the name ‘French Garden’ which, at this time, still provided vegetables for the British soldiers quartered a short distance away.
Meanwhile, to the north, as soon as Phillip’s tent was pitched in Sydney Cove, a garden was established, known as the Governor’s Farm, at Farm Cove, on land now occupied by Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Phillip had set aside the Sydney Domain as his private reserve where the First Government House was built in 1788. Plant expertise was lacking, although Phillip’s manservant Henry Dodd (1748-1791), who had been a labourer on Phillip’s property in Hampshire, England, was placed in charge of a team of convicts trying, unsuccessfully, to grow wheat and corn on 3.6 ha of land at Farm Cove. The first harvest of grain from the site occurred in July 1788. However most of the crop failed due to being planted out of season in poor soil – and being eaten by rats.
In February 1788, Dodd established functional rectilinear plots at Farm Cove at a site that would later become the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. It was a makeshift utilitarian and eclectic mix of kitchen garden, ornamental garden and plant introduction/acclimatisation centre, a crude but practical experimental example for others to follow. By January 1789, Dodd had moved to Parramatta.
The situation improved when James Ruse (1760-1837), another convict with farming experience, was allocated land upstream on the richer soils at Rose Hill (Parramatta) where fresh water met salt. So, by 1791 a farm was also established at Parramatta and the colony could boast 920 acres (372 hectares) of land under cultivation, the plants including maize, wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, grapes, and turnips.  as well as vegetable gardens, orchards, and vineyards.
1794-1807 Private leases allowed around Farm Cove despite Phillip reserving the land for the Crown. One lessee was Joseph Gerrald, a ‘Scottish Martyr’ transported for sedition. 1802
The old Government House (now the site of the Museum of Sydney) had a ‘fine’ garden, with a mix of exotic and native species.