As much as I can recall, it should be around at most a year ago since I got bitten by the tropical ornamental plants bug. Today, I officially declare that I am a carrier of the tropical ornamental plants fever. For those who knew me, I am better known as a vegetable farmer. Come to think of it, I was still a rather staunch vegetable and herbs grower a year ago and I won’t be able to imagine that today, I will be so interested in heliconias, ornamental bananas, spiral gingers, cannas and bromeliads…
Why the change?
What is the main reason that caused me to cross the boundary that I drew for myself in the past? Below is a self-explanatory quote which I found from my reading of the Backyard & Garden Design Ideas magazine, an Australian publication, which I have fallen in love with.
Low-maintenance: Not many of us have the luxury to spend time dead-heading the flowers, pruning or tidying the garden. Tropical garden plants are mostly very low-maintenance as dense planting disguises fallen leaves, makes neatness unnecessary and covers up times when some plants are not looking their best. (Issue 5.6)
Vegetable and herb gardening can be very time-consuming and tedious as it requires constant attention to ensure that there are no pests and diseases affecting the plants at nearly all stages of growth. I felt that I want to enjoy a garden and not toil in it.
Still a beginner…
I am still learning the ropes of how to design and plant a tropical themed garden. People who know me often shake their heads when they see me shift a plant around in the garden. At my worst, I can do that several times within a day! Call me a bad designer, but I am treading a fine line between what you would call as a plant collector and gardener designer.
Collector’s plants are exotic and hard to come by. Their availability is really unpredictable. Planning a garden with exotics can hence be very difficult. You can always allocate a space in the garden plot for an exotic plant but when would you know that you will get it? Even if you land your hands on one, is the size and look of the plant appropriate?
The style of tropical gardens are mostly informal in nature. I still remember I was trying to plant a tropical garden as if I am planting a vegetable and herb garden! Vegetable and herb gardens are usually quite formal in their format here.
Work started on the smaller garden which was aimed to become a tropical paradise in April 2007. Look at how dense the grass that was growing on the disused plot!