Friday, April 8, 2011

Slash and drop

I got into the garden over the weekend and slashed down the excess branches instead of removing anything.  Most of the leaves that fall from the lychee tree are mulched for the compost but some just lie around on the ground in the tropical plant area under the tree. If there were some greens mixed in they would not be robbing too much nitrogen as they decompose. (just my theory).  That is what works on the forest floor anyway. I thought it might be a good idea to stand at the end of the stone path which is pretty much the middle of the tropical garden and take a panoramic series of photos for you.  This is looking out towards the big gate, with the side fence off to the right.  This is facing approximately south.
This could be called palm corner I suppose.  Two fan palms are against the fence, with one sago palm in front of the tree fern.  There is a franzipani and some amaryllis, that have had trouble flowering and I hope they do better in this area, amazon lilly, ground orchids, persian shield, with bougainvillea and stephanotis climbing over the fence and gate.  My favourite plant in this area is the tree fern, and I love how the leaves uncurl from this...
 then looking out towards the gazebo - I think I might put a few extra anthiriums in this area - not sure if they need more sunlight in order to flower.  The red leaves are the back of the rex begonia leaves, they like this spot, so I could subdivide those as well.   It does look a little sparse since I put in the path, and maybe the plants just need a bit more time to adapt and fill in.   I am tempted to try some potted violets here since Dianne wrote about them on her post here bat plant and violets - I think one of those bat plants would be stunning here as well.  This is the area you look out at from the gazebo so I want to have a few more interesting things going on.
 Then behind the tree - if the plants weren't in the way you would be looking out towards the back where the butterfly garden and then the vegetable garden is.  These red gingers are the sort of backbone to the garden - always in flower.  The African mask in the foreground does need to keep being cut back, and you can only see it once you go down this path, but I like to keep some surprises for people that venture into the garden.  Right in the very front of the photo is this ginger that doesn't seem to have flowers but the underside of the leaves is red, and so it always supplies flashes of colour which is nice.
Then straight towards the back fence - if you look carefully you can just see the back of the big heleconia. The fence is the end of our property and the stone path provides access to the back of these plants. (you can get there from the other path) As you can see I have used similar plants to my neighbour and this creates the illusion that I have a garden that goes on forever - clever hey?

 then we are back to the wooden fence again - right in the back corner is the very tall sexy pink lady which goes right up into the lychee tree.  Off to the left is  a plant with burgundy leaves that I inherited in a pot which it had overgrown, and am hoping it will eventually climb the whole fence - it is lovely when the light shines through from behind and casts a red glow.
So there you have it  - a 360 degree tour of my small tropical garden, but I think it packs a punch.  I am glad I cut things back - it makes it easier to control what is growing too wild, and also I am hoping for more flowers once more light gets in.  


  1. I love your garden.....I really love the tree fern. It's one of my favorite plants:) Really lovely place you have.

  2. If you are not careful it does get out of control in the great weather.

    You have missed my other comments regarding the rosellas seeds. If you are still interested just email me at

    Catchya :)

  3. Thanks for the garden tour. You have a very lush and lovely garden. I also love the tree fern.

  4. Ooo I love the idea of hacking away at things, I wish I'd been there to give you a hand with that. A lovely tropical jungle you have there - just beautiful :)

  5. Your garden is looking fantastic after all the rain. Your Tree Fern and African Mask are just magnificent. The burgundy climber looks a bit like a Philodendron ... what a great colour. I can imagine a Bat Plant in your tropical oasis.

  6. Your garden is gorgeous and Alison @ Bonny Lassie would be so envious of all your large leafed specimens! She says she has a 'thing' about them and cannot resist buying any plant with big, bold foliage. I, too, am a great believer in an annual 'slash and drop' (love your terminology...mind if I adopt it?)...and a good cutting back not only allows in more air movement and light, but I find plants rejuvenate and come back even more healthily and enthusiastically. You really have worked hard to create your own mini-paradise and you have such a splendid assortment of truly exquisite plants! I could wander around your garden for hours, just gazing and taking it all in :)

  7. All your plants look superbly healthy. I wonder what you do with the cuttings. Do you throw them into the compost?

  8. Thanks for the tour! what a wonderful tropical area, I especially love that tree fern. I wish I can find a place in my garden to grow one too!

  9. Rohrebot,
    Thank you, yes that tree fern is lovely year round.
    thanks! I had missed it and e-mailed you straight away. I will send off your gemquash seeds this afternoon.
    Solitude rising,
    Being small makes it easier to look crammed with plants, too easy in fact!
    well, I dont know that I would allow just anyone in to hack away! I can get a bit protective of my special plants :)
    yes I would love a bat plant - what a great idea - I will have to pull out that catalogue again.
    oh no I dont have proprietory rights on that - I think I already adopted the term slash and drop from Ali! We had some English guests over on Saturday night for an aussie barbeque (not quite aussie we got the butcher to make us some boerewors) I was so thrilled when they said our garden was better than the resort where they were staying!
    I normally used to remove as many fallen leaves as I could, mulch them and add to the compost and then add green cuttings as well, then add the compost back into the garden, but am trying a new method of just letting it all decompost on the ground. It works in the forest...
    Oh I am sure a tree fern would look lovely in your garden, it adds a very tropical feel.

  10. I love visiting your gardens... it makes me feel like I'm on vacation to a wonderful tropical garden. So different from where I live.

  11. Hi Carolyn,
    thats the beauty of the internet :) - I love to see your chilly scenes from afar. I would not be happy in that cold weather and you would probably melt in our heat and humidity! It is a wonderful place in our winter though so we are just starting the milder weather. We feel so blessed to live here as it is like being on vacation all the time.


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