April 23, 2012

Does This Plant Make my Garden Look more Exotic?

Last night I reviewed plants in my copy of The Exotic Garden by Iversen. Today I looked online at the exotic plants at Great Dixter. Later in the day, Tara Dillard wrote of connecting palms and cones to Piedmont Canopy in Atlanta zone 7 to enhance a client's lovely swimming pool view, adding a new dimension to my train of thought.

Meanwhile, I am making lists of exotic plants that thrive in zone 8b. The list of exotic plants at Great Dixter that I am not going to plant is longer than the list of those I grow or aspire to. I am not going to plant Musa Basjoo. They are commonly seen over in the next county. I think bananas look out of place here and are particularly ugly killed back in the winter, great hulking dead masses. I won't have Morning Glory, either. I saw a sky-blue bloom on Saturday, far away from my garden. They're weedy here. I stretched the limits of horticulture sensibilities when I planted cycads with Anthony Waterer spirea and dogwoods. I stuck pink begonia cuttings in pots with Duranta during the winter, starting a new combo for the pinks and magentas in the upper garden.

                       Alpinias and Justicia brandegeana

Gingers are on my list of desirable exotic plants and so are Shrimp plants. I overwintered three different evergreen gingers in the greenhouse. All three will come back from the roots and are doing so quite well, but the protected ones have a head start. So it is with Shrimp plant, except this mild winter they fared very well in the cold and are blooming early. There's a Curcuma in there somewhere awaiting her cue to show up for the party. Curcumas need a rest period, so they remain outside.

These two are good companions with pale yellow daylilies:
















Yellow in the Alpinias picks up the pale greens in immature Shrimp bracts. Subtle.

More Cannas like this yellow stripe and
a dark leafed one are on the list.

Later in the summer, annuals like melampodium will add stronger yellows. I'll add and subtract from my list of butterfly treats and exotics from seed like Datura. Herbs will mingle with florals and vegetables will grow in containers. It's all fun.











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