Ready-made bor­ders

Cre­ate your own trop­i­cal par­adise us­ing just five plants with Joe’s plan

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Trop­i­cal gar­dens are fun and ex­cit­ing to cre­ate – there’s noth­ing bet­ter than step­ping out­side the back door and feel­ing as if you’ve just walked off a plane and ar­rived in an­other coun­try! Over the years, I’ve trans­formed many av­er­age gar­dens into lush jungly havens and find this style works par­tic­u­larly well in ur­ban gar­dens or as an ex­otic ‘room’ in a shel­tered cor­ner of a larger gar­den, where the plants thrive in the pro­tected mi­cro­cli­mate. In a small space, the dra­matic plant­ing can be con­densed for high im­pact, so you re­ally feel you’re in among it. The key plants that set the ex­otic scene tend to be those with large fo­liage, such as ba­nanas and hardy palms, or im­pos­ing ar­chi­tec­tural forms such as bam­boos. Once you have a few of th­ese plants set­ting the scene, peren­ni­als such as dahlias, per­si­caria and large-leaved hostas will sit hap­pily along­side. I’ve cho­sen just five plants to cre­ate this dis­tinctly jungly bor­der, keep­ing it sim­ple and fo­cused. Large ex­otic plants can be ex­pen­sive to buy, so shop around and think about in­vest­ing in just one or two big eye- catch­ing spec­i­mens for in­stant im­pact, and then bulk out the bor­der with some cheaper, faster-grow­ing plants.

Strik­ing fo­liage is key to the jungle ef­fect – here huge lush ba­nana leaves arch over a clump of pur­ple per­si­caria

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