Topical tropical gardens

Tropical plants and ‘Greenery’, Pantone’s colour of 2017 will be all over the nation’s coolest wallpapers and fabrics this year. Here’s how to extend the look out into the garden, with some easy-to-grow exotics – and some unique vintage planters and other garden stuff to go with.

Jelly palm (Butia capitata)

This palm gets its name from its orange coloured fruit which can be cooked up into a jelly or jam. A native of Brazil, it grows all over South America but can live very happily in a container on a terrace here in the South West. Maybe in one like this?

Branching Out

Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia)

Another one originally from the tropical areas of South America, the super huge blooms are often heavily scented and may even be hallucinogenic. It grows as tall as a beanstalk and needs to be in a large pot so you can take it under cover in winter. Not the best one for those with kids around: it’s beautiful but poisonous.

Banana plant (Musa basjoo)

You can leave this one out all year round, though you’ll need to slip on the plant equivalent of a Uniqlo down jacket in the winter. Don’t expect any bananas – curved or straight –  any time soon.

Both the Angel’s Trumpet and the Banana plant would look fab in one of these whoppers…

La Place

Chusan palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

One of these has thrived in the Muddy garden for years despite some serious  neglect *hangs head in shame*, so this palm seems to be able to grow anywhere. Love the fan-shaped architectural leaves and very hairy ‘winter legs’ trunk.

Ginger lily (Hedychium)

Highly scented and spectacular – the Kahili ginger can grow a 2 foot tall flower on top of 6 foot stems – and easy to grow, so long as you use a rich compost in the pot, place it in a partially shaded area – and keep the little darling well watered. Plant them up…

From Simon Wharton

There are lots of online shops selling tropical plants and palms. All of these stupendous planters – and a plethora of other garden statutory, seating and architectural antiques suitable for the outside – are available from exhibitors in the upcoming Bath Decorative Antiques Fair.

Branching Out

Simon Wharton

It’s on at the Bath Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU and open to the public 10am-5pm from Fri 3- Sun 5 March. Entrance to the Fair is £5 but you can get free tickets to the Fair here.

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