Once there were no flowering plants: no roses, poppies, daisies or geraniums – just lush, green and unfamiliar jungle. Well, you’ve seen it in the movies. Now you can create your own patch of ancient jungle, thanks to a range of plants that would have provided lunch for dinosaurs in their time.
Creating your own lush Jurassic Park is fairly straightforward. The idea combines the rich greens of ferns, cycads, tree ferns and pines with a splash of water and informal close planting. And what the combination may lack in colour is more than made up for in lush greenery, architectural structure and an attractive, if unfamiliar, air of mystery.
Perhaps the most important component of any Jurassic Park is ferns – their strong architectural forms and primeval air are just the thing to provide dense planting. For the edges of borders, try the arching fronds of the Lady Fern and the smaller delicately coloured Japanese Painted Fern. To provide height, think about tree ferns such as Dicksonia Antarctica – they will provide shade for the smaller ferns beneath, as well as the wonderful contrast between their leaves and the browns of their trunks.
Another way to emphasise the unfamiliar is to add a variety of exotic plants such as the Japanese cycad – a cross between a tree fern and a palm tree – or a variety of true palms. Some of the best examples include the Canary Island Date Palm and the Chusan palm. These can also provide height to your borders and could be planted carefully to provide focal points or clusters of architectural structure.
Wet and Wild
No dinosaur would be happy without the trickle of a jungle stream or two. You can create your own simple rills bubbling through foliage using small ponds at different heights, linked by shallow channels filled with small and large pebbles. One or two pumps can be used to circulate the water from the lowest pond to the highest. You could even have a bit of fun using concealed motion sensors attached to fountains that are placed to squirt visitors as they explore. But if you have a bit more space, how about an oasis in the jungle with water running beneath a seat or even pouring through a glass-topped table!