The central garden at Forest 20 (STEP) demonstrates a diversity of understory plants – shrubs, herbs, grasses and ferns. They are mass-planted in squares located under or close to the species of eucalypt they are often associated with.
As described by Barbara Payne of Quandong Designs STEP’s pro bono landscape architect. “A mosaic of 3×3 m planting ‘tiles’ for the understorey echoes the Arboretum’s mosaic of forests. Its high visual impact will help visitors to become familiar with individual species as they move through the site. Over time the plants will naturalise and the strict borders between the tiles will soften as the site establishes its ‘own’ ecosystem.”
There are eight sets of mosaics labelled A to H on our plan. Each set has many “tiles” which run diagonally across the garden and are bordered by paths for easier viewing. Commencing from the southern end below the unsealed carpark the first three sections (A to C) are dry sclerophyll forest, followed by wet sclerophyll forest for most of the next two sections (D & E). Two sections of montane and wet sclerophyll forest follow, with Eucalyptus dalrympleana and E. radiata (section F) and then E. viminalis (section G) with the seventh section (section H) being grassy and sub-alpine woodland E. pauciflora and E. stellulata. The path turns to the west with some plantings associated with ephemeral wetlands located adjacent to the Arboretum management track.
Between the main path and ‘The Clearing’ plants used by indigenous people of the region for food and fibre are being established.
What’s flowering in STEP
Close to 180 different understory species have been planted by STEP volunteers at Forest 20 (as at end of 2016). Click the following links to see photographs of what was flowering in a particular month.