Chapter 4: The Development

The morning started off with a dense morning fog that would later lift as the day warmed up. Later on in the afternoon, a band of thunderclouds would darken the sky. As the dark storm clouds roiled across the sky, lazy flashes of lightning appeared to jump from cloud to cloud. The storm winds blew across the meadows and the woodlands like a rolling carpet of air alternating with intermittent sheets of rain. After a final push of air, the rain finally stopped, but the wind kept on blowing. A colder wind now started to blow across The Garden. At the base of a tree a tiny patch of almost microscopic white and green fungi had taken root amid a dead luminescent plant crawler.

The Garden was developing small patches of dryer, tougher grasses that were slowly moving inward. The cooler dryer environment was subtle but unmistakably inhospitable as it crept into the Tropical Garden. However, as the new environment gradually advanced there was a change and thinning out process. Those that could not adapt were at the end of the line and started to die out. As the change quickened, other creatures were also starting to invade the Tropical Garden.

The vegetation continued to grow thicker as more tree varieties continued to spring up from dead ones. Long-tailed green creatures with unevenly shaped flat bodies were now the most common sight in the garden joined by extremely large leaf hoppers steadily growing out of size with thick carapace forming a kind of chest plate on these animals. Some 50 kilometers away from the garden was a thick canopy of fresh luxuriant trees very visible even from a distance. On most of the trees were parasitic ferns growing here and there as bio-luminescent fungi littered the floor.

A strange group of invertibrate herb eaters started to graze in the outskirts of the garden that left behind glowing stripes of pixie dust on the ground. This pixie dust along with their nutrient rich droppings greatly accelerated the growth of invasive species into the Tropical Garden. Near the lakes, insect eating pitcher plants with funnel like flowers would attract leaf-hoppers with their sweet smelling juicy nectar only to fall into a pool of water and digestive enzymes.

As the trend continued, the Garden began breaking up as the invading vegetation gradually intermingled with the native flora. Zones of mixed vegetation now grew next to zones of native flora giving it an almost checkered appearance in some areas. The once tropical climate unique to the garden started to develop noticeable changes in the seasons. In general it was still hot in the summer but now noticeably cooler in the winter.  Some of the original inhabitants could not adjust to these new areas of mixed vegetation and remained in the slowly shrinking zones of native vegetation. The slug-like creatures were the most severely affected. There were either too many predators in the mixed zone or some of the plants that arose in this area were poisonous. Even the lake was not spared the chaos that has crept into the garden. It constantly continued to lose most of its qualities. It became clearer as days passed with the visible formation of small patches of the island in the lakes. As the lakes slowly decreased in size, marshes started to develop in areas that were formerly under water. Most of surrounding areas also started to change.

The spirits that once watched the garden peered out at night to walk in the midst of the animals. No intelligent being yet worthy of their contact, so they went back each night hidden in the invisible world as the sun rose with every breaking of dawn. However, they knew for a long time that the change was irreversible. As the years passed, this checkered like appearance now encompassed the whole area that was once the garden. Only isolated areas still retained their original identity. During the time that the Tropical Garden was first created, nothing higher than invertebrates roamed its area. However this had all changed. It was the rise of activity on the outside that was becoming more and more prominent. On one of the lakes on the outside of the sheltered area, there was a tiny flash of silver as a fin broke the surface of the water. Primitive fishes had evolved and were rapidly becoming the dominant life form.

As time passed, what was left of the once flourishing garden was now almost entirely gone with little more than remnants of its old self. Most of the original creatures either died off or evolved in response to the changing environment. The original luminescent creatures with a bright yellow-green glow had disappeared. The tropical climate had also faded out as seasons became quite noticeable. There was a clear division of three seasons now in the garden and the surrounding areas.  Variety of green lush grasses with thick blades and small herbs with thick brown bark that had adapted to withstand freezing temperatures had taken over as the cooling temperatures occasionally produced light frost in the winter signaling the end of the tropical realm. Some of these new plants had also developed poisonous thorns growing out of the bark as a defense system against some specific kinds of creatures who formerly fed on their ancestors as food.