It’s actually not possible to get a photo of the whole of this area. This bit here is of the path through the southern beech trees – I love this path, it’s like walking through the idea of a forest, not being long enough to be like walking through a forest itself. And because it’s so small, it demonstrates wonderfully the importance of forests. In that small part of the garden, on that short path, you can feel the climate change as you walk in, and again as you walk out. It’s not only cooler, the air is different. More humid, and fresher, and, well… different. I am not making that up; it’s real!
Ok :0) So, is this another one of those vegetation pattern models, then?
Yes. For this one, my mother picked what she described as a geographic corridor where the southern beech forests of Patagonia meet and mingle with the Valdivian monkeypuzzle forests. Which makes this a model of a four- tiered forest, unlike the Australian one, which really only has two.
Well, structurally, forests tend to come in rough tiers or layers, usually three. There’s the top layer of emergent trees that grows up over and above the rest, and a middle layer of medium and small trees and shrubs, and then a ground cover layer.
In this mixed model, there are two emergent layers, the southern beeches, and the monkeypuzzles. At the moment, the beeches are taller – but that’s only because they grow faster. Eventually, the monkeypuzzles should grow above everything else, and form the higher of two emergent tiers.
In a eucalyptus forest, a thick layer of leaves tends to prevent much ground cover from growing apart from around the edges and in clearings, so you end up with two tiers.
What’s the rest of the area like?
A lot of shrubs, and some ground cover, and in summer, quite a bit of colour; reds and oranges and yellows and purply blues.