March 14, 2015
If I lived in a warm, tropical climate ... and if money was no object ... and if all I was thinking about was plants I simply enjoy ...
I would definitely have a tropical Hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis). Maybe a warm red one.
Or maybe an apricot-colored one with a warm red center. Better yet, I'd have a few of each.
Of course, I'd have some of the same favorite plants I grow in my northern garden during the summer, like swaths of variegated Coleus (Solenostemon spp.; Plectranthus spp.).
And bright Lantanas (L. camara).
Oh, I would have to splurge on at least one 'Regina' Iris (Neomarica caerulea 'Regina').
And of course, a dwarf Jatropha shrub (J. integerrima). Who wouldn't want a plant that attracts butterflies and that blooms 365 days a year?
Also, Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata). Both its blooms and foliage are gorgeous, and it smells like vanilla/almond.
Any tropical garden must have at least one Chinese Lantern (Abutilon spp.).
Yellow Elder (Tecoma stans) is an attention-grabber and conversation-starter (and it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies).
One foundation planting of choice would be Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepsis spp.)--a low-maintenance bloomer.
And of course, I'd need a few pots of Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia), for its foliage and sweet lavender-colored blooms.
Gotta have some hybrid tea roses in a warm climate. Maybe 'Sedona'? (Sigh.)
Definitely masses of Colorama (Dracaena marginata), which is actually a shrub, but looks like a grass.
I'd want to include some orchids. Possibly an easy-care Ground Orchid (Epidendrum radicans)?
Oh gosh, I would add a patch of Foxtail Ferns (Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'), for the way the sunlight catches in their fine foliage.
Azalea 'Duc de Rohan' would be another "must have" for its color and form.
I'd need a hot perennial Salvia like 'Mystic Spires.'
And a couple of Firecracker Plants (Russelia equisetiformis) for their wispy foliage and bright red blooms.
For some reason, I'm attracted to the flowers, foliage, and form of Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis).
Oh, and of course, I'd need a few agaves and bromeliads in my tropical garden.
This beauty would be a focal point of my tropical garden--both by day and at night in my moonlight garden. A white Dipladenia (Mandevilla) with 3- to 5-inch blooms!
Last but not least, my tropical garden would definitely need a Bougainvillea (B. glabra). My personal favorite is 'Barbara Karst.'
But the butterflies seem to prefer this Lilac hybrid, so I guess I'd have to include this one in my garden, too.
I'm cheating with this post by linking in to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens and Foliage Follow-Up at Digging. These flowers and foliage are nowhere to be found in my Wisconsin garden. But they're blooming in my dream tropical garden, and many are blooming in gardens along Florida's Gulf Coast.
(Thanks to Oak Farms Nursery in Englewood, Fla., for the inspiration.)