Where are all the tropicals?

By Kristi VanBenschoten

Jamie and I recently took our first real vacation in four years! Yep, that's right, we packed our bags and loaded the Challenger for a two-day drive from Florida to New Hampshire. I know what you are asking "Are you crazy? That's a long drive!" Yes, yes, it is a long drive. One this Florida born and raised girl didn't realize would be as long as it was...


As we got into the driving, the world as I knew it began to change. All of a sudden, the roads started twisting and turning. The streets were no longer palm tree lined but in their place were huge jetting rocks and cliffs. I was like a kid at Disney! I have never seen anything like this, there were Christmas trees growing out of the ground! Right up out of the ground!


It didn't stop there, the further north we got the more the landscape changed. As I glanced over at the median, I noticed what I thought was a blackberry bush. I turned to Jamie and asked "was that a blackberry bush growing in the middle of the road?" Jamie explained yes, they just grow wild here. Now my head is spinning, as I think to myself - "and no one is out here eating them?"

Once in New Hampshire I noticed all the flowers changing too. There were Day lilies for miles. Every house had a beautiful hydrangea as if it were some unwritten law of the state (not the tropical hydrangea, but the northen one!). Maples were on every street corner and planted under them like silvery green clouds were Hosta. It was like I had just stepped into the royal Highgrove Gardens!


After a few days of all this, I got to thinking… Where are all the tropicals? While I understand they can’t stay out all year, I know there are some things planted here that have to be dug up for the Winter. This same process can be done with many of the tropical plants we grow here in Florida. Imagine throwing in a few Alocasias or Colocasias... The Colocasia Black Magic would make a major statement behind the dark purple and pink hydrangea. These could easily be planted in a pot and brought in for the winter!


Or how about adding a few jasmines in with your hosta? The Jasmine sambac would do well over wintered in a pot by the fire inside. There are so many different choices that can be grown out doors when it is warmer and then taken inside to enjoy during the colder months.

Give us a call and we can help you make the transition from English garden to tropical English oasis!