Plant The Look - Rainforest
Posted: December 18, 2020
Categories: Plant The Look
Not all holidays have to be taken abroad, and getting to the Top End of our own country is a major road trip, even if you start in Queensland! We show you how to create the look of a lush Aussie rainforest in your own back yard. Pack yourself an esky, with fairy bread and lamingtons for snacks. Whether you crank up Kylie, Cold Chisel, or Acca Dacca for accompaniment on the journey is up to you...
Aussie Rainforest Garden Style - reach for the skyFrom tropical top end Mossman and Daintree, where bright blue butterflies float in dappled sunlight, to subtropical Springbrook and volcanic Mount Warning, part of the UNESCO Gondwana World Heritage listing, and all the way south as far as the Otways, there's a wide range of world-class rainforests in this country to be inspired by.A typical Aussie rainforest is multi-layered and dense, with masses of slender-stemmed trees jostling for light amid a scramble of ferns, vines, palms, climbers, and epiphytes. It's the complete opposite to a northern hemisphere woodland where there are distinct layers - soil-hugging groundcovers, large open shrubs, tall broad trees. Here in Australia the bush and rainforest is a free-for-all - fast vertical growth, and plantlife at every height.Moss and lichen colonise palm trunks and rockpools. Bird's nest ferns and native orchids find a home in the branches of trees.Palmfronds fall and create leaf litter. Fungi breaks down old branches. Insects feed on the plants, birds and reptiles feed on the insects. There's a lot of life in a rainforest!
The true Aussie rainforest is not a manicured place - branches grow to wherever they can reach the light. So mix it up in your garden, and don't worry too much about perfect placement - it's the abundance of leaf shapes and shades and sizes that's important.With hard landscaping, leave rock faces rough-hewn, and create paths from raw timber, stones, and hard-packed dirt. Some of our tropical native plants can be surprisingly resilient in a sheltered spot, but make sure for the first couple of years at least they have protection from frost, and regular access to water, until they get established.Many palms for instance can get sunburn - in the rainforest they have taller trees for shade while they find their feet and develop mature fronds, so in your garden it might be wise to give them a little shade in summer while they are still very young.