Designs

The Jurassica Project

By The Designer Garden Company

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

  • The Jurassica Project

    The Jurassica Project

About the project

The Jurassica Project transformed a vacant block of land on the main street of Cairns into a prehistoric garden to address Australia's growing disconnect between our cites and the natural enviroment
The purpose of this garden is to demonstrate the idea behind the Jurassica Project and the teams commitment to it. The aim was to transform a derelict vacant site in the centre of Cairns and create a natural environment in which cycads and other specimens, which have been collected over many years for this purpose, could be displayed. At the same time it showed it was possible to convert an urban eyesore into a green and aesthetically pleasing space which the local community could enjoy. This received a lot of local media attention and support.

Originally the block was flat and weed infested with poor sandy soil. Bringing in over 500 cubic metres of fill to form hills and ridges gave some shape and depth to the main arena. Planting began soon after with aloes, cycads, pachypodiums, yuccas and ponytails. Rock piles were used to highlight and compliment the plant groupings. The larger specimen cycads had to be craned in. The final product is a modern day representation of a prehistoric cycad forest. One comment often said is that the only thing missing is a few dinosaurs.

There are more people living in our urban centres than ever before. At the same time, development, human activity and climate change are reducing the quantity and quality of wild places in the world. People need to be reminded that beyond our ever expanding human footprint, the earth is still a raw and natural place worthy of preserving.

The Jurassica Project aims to address the growing disconnect between Australia’s urban populations and the natural environment. While zoos, botanic gardens and parks provide us with 'green-spaces', they remain quintessentially man-made. The Project is about recreating and incorporating nature back into our cities, making it instantly accessible and allowing people to connect with the natural world on a more regular basis and nurture conservation interests.

The Jurassica name was chosen as the Jurassic period represents nature in its wildest form and attracts and appeals to a much larger audience, especially our younger generation.

Matt Mitchley has owned and operated the landscape company, Designer Garden Co., in Cairns for 9 years and in this time Matt has become a Registered Horticulturist with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. Matt has sourced and collected prehistoric themed plants for many years and is a specialised collector of Cycads.

Matt started the Jurassica Project in 2008 and hopes his pilot project, the Jurassic gardens in Cairns, will be the beginning of a nature based landscape movement in the city.