Exotics Info

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We grow all of our exotics outside at The Plant Farm.  All are given soil amended with sand to keep them from getting too wet in our winters.  All do well in a cool greenhouse.

For those gardeners wishing to create a garden with a tropical feel, remember that foliage and fragrance are paramount. Put in lots of plants. Nature in the tropics does not allow spaces. It is a sense of lushness and contrasts that you are working towards.

If you can sit in your garden and feel a slightly threatening fecundity that is not totally unpleasant, you have arrived! You should be able to look out on what you have created and wonder what is going on under those huge protective leaves, imagine cells dividing without limit, insects scurrying back and forth seeking new paramours.

Have some sense of playfulness. Do not be afraid to put a piece of brightly coloured folk art sculpture hiding among the leaves. A stuffed parrot up in a tree far enough away not to be immediately obvious can change a visitorís whole outlook to your garden (sometimes for the better). Tropical gardens enable us to blend the whimsical with the infinite and there are few better places to shed the cares of reality.

If you do not live in zone 8, try using hardy bamboo, hostas, rheums or other leafy plants as permanent plantings and supplement them with a few less hardy plants in pots that can be brought in during the winter.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Zones 5 & 6 - Fargesia nitida, Phyllostachys bissetii, large leafed Hostas like Sum and Substance or Blue Angel, Clematis, Ferns, Iris ensata, Miscanthus floridulus, Magnolia grandiflora Edith Bogue in the ground. Cannas, Zantedeschia, Hedychium and any palms (Chamaerops, Trachycarpus) in pots.

Zone 7 - The above list plus Indocalamus tessellatus, Phygelius, tree Rhododendrons like calophytum or rex, Palm Trachycarpus and any of the Phyllostachys for permanent in ground plantings. Plant Phormiums in protected areas. Use the same potted plants as zone 6.

Zone 8 - Here is where you can leave all those potted plants out in the garden. Try adding Phormiums, Chamaerops humilis, Clerodendron, Gunnera manicata, Daphne odora and Arundo donax . Remember though, you still live north of the 49th parallel. Give these plants some help. Make sure that they have excellent winter drainage and throw some well-draining mulch on them the first year or two.

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The Plant Farm - 177 Vesuvius Bay Road, Salt Spring Island, BC  V8K 1K3

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