Now that it seems that summer has finally arrived, and is hopefully here to stay, we’ve all begun thinking about potential getaway locations and my personal favourite lies just outside the back door. The planting scheme we’ve compiled today is designed to transform your own garden into an exciting exotic locale just in case travel is awkward or impossible because of busy schedules, children, BREXIT etc!
The Musa is a staple plant of the tropics – a large tender banana palm with large, glossy, bright green leaves, although you’d be lucky to actually get bananas in the UK! As you would expect this plant thrives in full sun but prefers a sheltered location and if it gets a little cold where you are, best protect it with fleece in winter.
This evergreen palm is fantastic as a space filler since its foliage will provide strong and consistent colour all year round and the hairy trunk is particularly striking. They like full sun or partial shade combined with a well-draining sandy or chalky soil.
The Indian Bean Tree, as this variety is commonly known, is an iconic variety from the sub-continent that grows into a large rounded collection of heart-shaped foliage and occasionally may produce purple-white flowers in the summer followed by seed pods. Keep it pruned to promote really huge leaves.
Due to it’s unusual colouring with its stunning black canes, the Black Bamboo makes for a dramatic addition to any garden. It can be employed to great effect as a screen or divider between different areas due to its dense growth pattern.
Moving further into the Southern hemisphere we have the Japanese Aralia, or Fig-leaf palm, with its seven pronged, hand-like, evergreen leaves. Creamy-white flowers may appear in candelabra-like clusters in the autumn followed by clumps of black berries.
Blooming in vibrant columns, the deciduous ‘Ginger Lilly’ produces Salmon or Apricot flowers throughout summer and autumn alongside dark green foliage that precedes them in spring. However, they are susceptible to frost damage and, similarly to the Canna and Brugmansia below, should be either greenhoused or protected during the winter.
Aside from producing gorgeous racemes in shades of sunfire orange and red, as an added bonus this plant also has some of the most striking foliage you could hope to find. Alternating stripes of bottle green and crimson mark some Cannas leathery leaves, whereas others are the deepest purple.
An intoxicant that derives the common name ‘Angel’s Trumpet’ from the tubular flowers that hang from its stems. The blooms produce a heady fragrance in the evening and will appear throughout summer and autumn.
Endemic throughout the Americas-ranging from Canada to Colombia-the ‘Cardinal Flower’ is a bright red deciduous plant that will produce spikes of matching flowers and foliage. Grows best in loamy soil.
As a child (and admittedly an adult) I’d look at these columns bejewelled by flowers and think, from a distance, that someone had made giant fab ice lollies, with their bright red tops fading through orange to yellow at the bottom. Like those frozen treats these flowers are at their best in the summertime, happily, however, their foliage stays green all year.