On the lower slopes of Black Mountain in Canberra is a unique form of Botanic Gardens. The entrance seems to promise a dry native forest, but the gardens offer examples of all kinds of Australian native plants, and nothing but. We rode our bikes here this morning, and as I walked my bike up the incline of the entrance, I snapped Black Mountain Tower and admired the symmetry of trees either side. This is Canberra. The city of symmetry.
With many native plants hailing from the warmer tropical parts of the country, it’s tricky to keep them alive here in the cool capital where we have several months of frost and very low temperatures. Yet, in an old dry eucalypt gully, a rainforest has been developed with the addition of 2,000 misting sprinklers that keep the humidity high and allow specimens from the tropical north to survive. The rainforest canopy is dense and keeps out any light breeze; the only agitation today is the flitting and scurrying of birds and lizards on the forest floor.
Signs along the rainforest boardwalks say that Australia once looked like this all over, cool and damp, dark green and fungal. These timber boards are gradually returning to that wilderness state, but as they wear down into a more natural form they make a good canvas for shifting shapes.