Garden inspiration: Minnamurra rainforest

Not every suburban block is suitable for a rainforest garden - your soil might be too poor, the aspect too sun-beaten, the space too small. But there are elements in the rainforest that will fit into almost any garden design. And including a few rainforest tree species will help provide shade in your garden and keep it relatively cool.

Minnamurra rainforest is a great place to see rainforest species at their best. The boardwalk circuit can take half an hour, or three hours if you stop and look at everything along the way. The longer walk to the falls is also worthwhile. 

A classic rainforest species birds nest fern (Asplenium australasicum). They can grow pretty large! Image by Emma Rooksby.
This shows the long looping branch of a tree violet (Melicytus dentatuswith cabbage palm leaves in the background. Image by Emma Rooksby.
Not many gardens would have room for magnificent rocks like this.  I just loved the wavy patterns in them - perhaps formed by erosion? Image by Emma Rooksby.
The large leaves in the foreground here are Native Tamarind (Diploglottis australis) - yes you can eat the fruit.  The tree grows tall and narrow, and quite quickly. Image by Emma Rooksby.
There's nothing like a bit of water to give interest to a garden, or any natural area. Image by Emma Rooksby.
All of the species pictured above, and many of the others at Minnamurra, would work well in Illawarra gardens. Have a wander down there on a hot day, enjoy the cool microclimate, and see what plants you like...

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