Monday, February 25, 2013

Discovering hidden flowers in my jungle garden

In the tropics everything grows so well, that sometimes I have to think about a certain plants aggressive nature.  I like to be able to see that all the plants are surviving ok, but still have a full tropical look to the garden. I am often torn about removing certain plants that have become too aggressive for my small garden.
A plant at the back has huge leaves, rounded, and very firm, and I love the way they scratch against each other in the wind.  I planted two of them - one against the fence and the other at the back, next to the sexy pink lady. Hubby loves the feeling that we live in the middle of a lush tropical rainforest.  I worry that the plants are crowding each other out. Is there too much now in that corner?

The difficulty is that some of those plants will go dormant in the dry season.   I see more turmeric has come up, so have to be careful I do not create bare patches..  I have that in the veggie perennial bed now, so will remove it from the corner, leaving more room for flowers.  My large heleconia is starting to flower, but I wonder at my logic of planting this - I think it is too big for this area.
 This flower doesn't look big, but as it unfolds will be about 3ft high!  It is upright, as opposed to the sexy pink lady which is hanging down. Each stalk will only flower in its second year. - do I have enough room for this to hang around two years before getting a flower?   I moved some of this to the central island, but it is not doing well.  I can see why - those plants compete with palm roots, have to rely on whenever it rains to get watered, and occasionally get a little compost flung at them.  Not like these pampered babies!

  This little anthirium was started from a piece of my neighbours plant, and I love the deep red colour. I hope it doesn't get lost in amongst the bigger, more robust pink anthirium.
 The beehive ginger has not enjoyed the neglect I have shown it, but then again it might already be going dormant for the dry season.  This area really needs a clean out, and I have a friend who needs some plants for  a garden she is creating. Then again the beehive goes pretty mcuh dormant in the dry season too.
 I like the way the ground orchids are framing the side path, and am thinking of  replacing all the roheo along the front edge with ground orchids - so much prettier and well-behaved.
 I have this salad bowl that I never used and thought it would make a good extra birdbath, and to stabilize it a put in a  few rocks, and this little ceramic bird.  I think I may have overdone it though, as the birds have not come near.
 The butterflies might like it though - they like to sun themselves on rocks alongside the water, so I have heard.
This small heleconia in front of the birdbath is probably much more suited to my garden.   Notice how the grasshoppers have chewed along the edges of these leaves....

How come other gardeners seem to manage to plant plants that stay the size they are supposed to and don't run rampant through the garden, obliterating other plants as they go.
Oh yes!  They don't live in the tropics.


  1. Looks as if you have some of the same plants we have, and the grasshoppers! Ours are called lubbers and they can strip a plant overnight. I don't use pesticides, so I have to find them while they're busy at work. I see you have plants in the ground that I can only grow in pots because we get the occasional frost in this semi-tropical area. Your garden is lovely!

  2. Wow, I didn't think of how quickly your plants grow in the tropics. Most of where I've been in Africa has seemed so hot and dry that I thought it would be hard to grow things. Your garden looks very nice! I wish mine would grow so quickly but it doesn't.

  3. Those plants are so lush and beautiful!

  4. Lesa,
    sometimes we get those huge lubbers, but these are regular green grasshoppers - very difficult to see and catch. they definitely have quite an appetite :)
    I was born in Africa, but now live in Australia, where it is anything but dry. Sorry if that was confusing.
    Thistle Cove,
    I really am very blessed to live here as the plants grow on their own!

  5. When I moved to the Tropics many years ago I asked a local man for some gardening tips. He said "When it gets too big, chop it back"
    Sometimes I wish I had your problem in my garden here, when things are so slow to get esablished.

  6. I wouldn't thin out my plants as yet, since the dry season is coming and that will take care of weeding out a few.
    Only if you have shrubs that are taking over, would I chop them back now.
    Your garden looks very lush and pretty.
    Those grasshoppers sure are a PITA.

  7. I really enjoy looking at all your tropical beauties. Some we have here but others I've never seen. Really like the sexy pink lady. She's stunning!

  8. You definitely don't have too many big plants - your garden looks so lush and beautiful!

    I suspect the birds are ignoring your birdbath because it's the wet season and they have plenty of places to drink and bathe. Come the dry, they'll be there. You might have too many stones in it though for the birds to really get a good wash. We pile all our stones on 1/2 of our bird bath so bees, butterflies and birds can drink but try to keep a large shallow spot with no protruding rocks for the birds to splash in.

  9. Your garden is amazing! Beautiful photos! Lucky you.

  10. I love your tropical jungle, I have the same problem with aggressive plants but once they are on the ground they stay for good. Is like adopting a pet.

  11. Oh Roz,
    your garden is marvellous and, I might add... Huge :)
    My thoughts exactly! Let nature decide.
    Yes one of the plants that I am a bit afraid is being muscled out is the sexy pink lady, and I wont let that happen.
    we have our regulars that bathe every day in the other birdbath - that is why I thought this might attract the smaller species.
    thank you
    that is a good way of looking at it. I do find myself praising them for good behaviour!

  12. Dearest Africanaussie,
    Oh, your tropical plants are all gorgeous; I especially loved to see ground orchids♡♡♡ And very big heleconia is very unique. (haha, never seen them.)

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  13. I really love your beehive ginger. Some upscale hotels around here use them in their floral arrangements. I have the same problem with these aggressively growing Heliconians. I let them be and harvest them for my floral arrangement if they are out of alignment.

  14. Miyako yes the ground orchids are my favourites as well. They don't need any special care, just multiply all on on their own.
    I find so many of the flowers bring ants inside. Especially the gingers, but will often bring in a heleconia.

  15. Your tropical garden looks fabulous! I'd like to sit there for awhile with a cold glass of mint infusion... and see all those beautiful plants you have there :)

  16. Dewberry,
    Oooh mint infusion sounds great! I have been drinking cold water with some of my home grown limes in it. I might try a bit of mint - thanks for the suggestion!

  17. We don't have the rampant habits of the tropics here but there's always some plants that didn't read their own labels properly!


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