Trop­i­cal par­adise pro­vides in­spi­ra­tion

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - LANDSCAPING -

... 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

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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.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

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.

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