Three months ago I was invited for a garden consultation for what I would call “the ultimate tropical paradise”.
I love gardening and I have a small and successful garden business. It began years ago as a hobby for a couple of hours per week. Over time word got around and now I have a waiting list.
I have roughly 25 clients and they all use my services on a regular base, some weekly, some fortnightly and others monthly. My oldest client dates back at least 5 years.
I have been thinking for a while how to blog about my gardening and I have decided to discuss and showcase one of my gardens every month. I will start with one of my favourites – the tropical paradise garden where I initially was afraid to do more damage than good!
The ultimate tropical paradise
The lay-out of this garden is simple yet problematic as it is at the bottom of a sloping site. From street level and the front of the house to the garden at the back is roughly the equivalent of 3-4 floors. Therefore it is definitely a garden that keeps me fit.
The site has a large number of big palm trees that gives the garden a lot of shade and only dappled sun. As a result it was possible to create a ‘rainforest’ look with a wide range of tropical plants that prefer mostly shady conditions.
Walking into this garden makes you feel like you are entering a tropical fairy tale land. It is an abundance of greens and red foliage with clusters of gorgeous Bromeliads and many orchids in bloom. If this garden would enter a competition, it would surely win!
My role as the gardener
You may like to ask, what it is that I actually have to do there? And to be honest that is exactly what I asked myself when I came for my initial consultation. The garden felt perfectly finished as it was.
It shows however how much work you need to do to keep such a garden up to the level it is. When I started I filled up bag after bag with rubbish such as dead leaves, broken branches and weeds. All pretty much invisible at first glance.
One thing I did and still do is dividing the Bromeliads and give them a bigger pot and new soil. Many of the Bromeliad pots sit in metal rings that are attached to the palms. A brilliant way to create balance in shape and colour on all levels.
I also like to go on the deck above and assess whether the view on the garden has the right balance in shape, colour and height. To be honest there is enough work for me to spend a couple of hours per fortnight in this garden.
One of my favourite things to do is to take cuttings from existing plants. After they have grown roots I plant them in those areas that need a bit more height, shape or colour
I love working in a garden like this and to me it is a ‘gardener’s dream‘ come true.
Not for every climate
A little warning for those who live in moderate climates. All these plants need warm temperatures and will die in frost. Funny is that many of them were on my mum’s window sill in the house in The Netherlands where I grew up. My love for tropical plants dates back to a very young age!
Have a look for yourself!