Tropical paradise provides inspiration
... there is no such thing as a good low maintenance tropical garden.
Somewhere I have read that travel opens the mind.
My latest trip to Bali certainly subscribed to this sentiment. Being passionate about design and plants means that I never really leave my office – it comes with me wherever I go. This means that I can literally work from anywhere and being in Bali was no different.
It is essential to step outside our usual sphere of influence so that we can add new dimensions to our portfolio of skills. The internet can show all the images and videos you want but it can never replace the real thing. Life is so much more than a flat twodimensional image on a liquid crystal display.
Of all the places in the world I have been Bali stands out as being relatively unique in the sense that there has been a huge input and influence from Westerners in
recent decades that has created a tangible disparity within the community.
The ancient traditions now stand adjacent to modern lifestyles brought by tourists. The resultant clash of cultures has created some of the most outstanding architecture - and with that the landscapes that compliment them are staggering.
It may not surprise you that the flora of Indonesia is closely related to human population. The species of flora have spread south from the Asian mainland and northwards from Australia – much like the people who now inhabit Bali. The flora was here first by more than a few million years.
All the normal tropical stalwarts are present. Frangipani flowers carpet the ground at every turn, leafy palm trees of countless varieties balance the striking bamboo canes. Heliconias, bananas, elephant ears, lilies and so much more. The resort and villa gardens boast most of these varieties but as with all good designs they are placed in well thought out positions to create order from the chaos of the tropics.
The colours are vibrant, the shapes are intriguing and the scents are delicious. When they combine a sense of awe develops. A sense that you cannot find in other gardens around the world. Tropical gardens are a great favourite of mine – I even have one here in Marlborough at home but this trip reminds me that it needs a bit more work.
And that is the trouble with tropical gardens. They need a lot of work – there is no such thing as a good low maintenance tropical garden. These days we imitate the wonders of tropical gardens by bringing plants inside. We can create our own tropical garden with all the colour, excitement and fragrance by creating the conditions indoors.
Modern houseplants evolved from wild plants brought back to England from the far-flung corners of the colonial world. They were established in the great private and public glass houses of the aristocracy and now they flood the shelves of every home improvement store in the western world.
They are the perfect antidote to brighten up a Marlborough home in the depths of a dull winter. Just remember to design your indoor garden properly with plants that compliment and balance each other to create a miniature garden inside your home.
Canna lilies grow well in Marlborough. They die back in the winter and grow back in spring with large colourful leaves and brightly coloured flowers.