Monday, March 07, 2011

Tropicals In Your Garden

Another trend noted at the Chicago Flower And Garden Show is the use of TROPICALS throughout the garden and in containers.

Elephant Ear

Along with tropicals go a variety of water features, ponds, container fountains and even walls of water.

This floating island of plants was eye catching but not very practical, looks like juniper, marigolds and snapdragons with stones encircling it.  I am not sure how they did this.

This is a wall of lighted water showers.

I am not sure where this dry ice effect is coming from!

Many of the plantings being used outside, we think of as houseplants.  This is a fern I have in my dining room (Bird's Nest).

Rex Begonias are old fashioned houseplants in my zone.

Rex Begonia
They do look beautiful in the outdoor landscape.

It does make sense that intense colors are back in the garden palette if tropicals are being used in just about every area.

Lots of Scheffleras to give height, Crotons and Algerian Ivy

Be careful how you combine your tropicals, some love full sun like the Crotons, sun coleus and ivy will work, but the Schefflera may burn.

Calla Lily, Rieger Begonias and Tulip and muscari, not plants that bloom at the same time, but I think you get the idea.  Use unusual combinations and create height.  Rieger Begonias will sun scorch.

Kale with Algerian Ivy
I use this ivy each year, when I can find it, beautiful all summer long.  It is expensive and also comes in a not as interesting solid green.

I grew Crotons and some succulents in my south side containers.  They require at least fifty degrees at night to survive and thrive.  They did hold up in the heat and I have wintered them over inside my house.  Tropicals are expensive but with more popularity they may come down in price for the consumer market.

Dracena, Mums, Rieger Begonia and Croton

Orchids in Containers

Orchids in Baskets

Do you recognize that spiller houseplant?

Succulents, Heuchera, Kale and Tulips
This would work if you stuck in a pot of later blooming tulips.

What I did notice is that the majority of containers used for the show had a lot of height and not width, closer to eye level so you did not have to look down to observe the plantings.

Succulents were used extensively in the window boxes on display.  This is a good idea since it is difficult to keep the windows boxes and hanging baskets irrigated during the summer heat.

Tropicals in outdoor window boxes

Bromeliads in garden beds

Succulents in garden beds

A Potting Party for charity with a variety of tropicals

Well, I think we get the message that what was inside will be outside this season, but the garden show is always state of the art in trends.  It doesn't mean we have to fill our gardens with tropical plants but it is kind of fun to try out a few of them, especially if we have the heat of last summer.

Take an idea and have fun!


Zoey said...

Now you're talking my kind of containers! I have been doing tropicals on my deck for quite a few years now and I still love them. Looking at these pictures is giving me spring fever!

Shirley said...

I love these containers, particularly the orchids! Our home and garden show is coming March 24. I am looking forward to it even more, looking at these photos!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey,

I think this will definitely take off if we continue to get the hot summers. I will still use petunias, impatiens and some geraniums - none at the show (oh maybe a few petunias).


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Yes, Darla, our garden show looked more like yours should! Are we becoming part of southern gardening?


joey said...

Great ideas and lovely tour, Eileen. Thank you. Not long now ... 13 day 'til Spring!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joey,

It is hard to believe that we just have thirteen days. I will believe it when I see it!


Grace Peterson said...

Love the show tour. Lush plantings are always such a treat.


While they were lovely, I guess true gardeners all noted that the flowers used were not compatible in terms of sun/shade and bloom season, Eileen. Ditto for most of the window boxes .

Succulents are so popular now but I've been a fan for a very long time because they are so easy to grow and look good even without blooms.

Glad you enjoyed the show.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Those are some very colorful combinations. I really like the succulents, especially in the window box.

Sissy said...

I noticed a trend towards more hardscaping! Fewer approachable plants and more reliance on the hardscaping at this year's show..

Balisha said...

Between your blog and Linda's, I feel like I've been to the show. I love those vibrant colors in containers. Balisha

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Carolyn,

I think the combinations were beautiful but as we both know were not realistic pairings. Many onlookers would assume these containers would work in their gardens.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Catherine,

I think I am going to mix some succulents in my hayracks that really get the heat all summer.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Sissy,

Yes, there was a lot of hardscaping and it looked like you could get up close but then couldn't walk on the steppers (like the tree rounds).


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Balisha,

I like birght colors but I also like some pastels mixed in.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Grace,

It's hard to keep that lush look going in our own gardens.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

OMG ! Eileen girl I need to set aside some quality time to take all of your post in on attending this exhibition !! It looks wonderful and I am going to be working backwards.. to soak it all in .. but the question I have for you now is what hellebore did you order from Digging Dog ? what kinds were you looking for ? I am a hellebore freak so I love hearing about other gardeners purchasing them : ) !!
Joy : )
PS your pictures are awesome girl !!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

I ordered three Hellebore Hybridus, won the plant of year few years back). I really like the pink one Mardi Gras and your darker one. They are very expensive here, twenty dollars plus. Digging Dog shipping is high but their prices are low and the plants are large.


Karen said...

Hello Eileen, I've been enjoying all the posts from the show, such beauty! The containers are fantastic, but as you said, it's a shame they're not really practical for most gardeners with their light and shade requirements. Beginning gardeners may be in for a disappointment if they tried to replicate the display. Still, there's great ideas on plant combinations using other types of plant material.

Thank you for thinking of me, things have been very hectic around here and I'm doing fine. ;')

Cottage Garden said...

This looks like a great show to visit Eileen. Those container are fantastic in their variety and combination of blooms - how astute of them to give you a press pass so that you can share the day with us!


Pat said...

Gorgeous images!

We are replanting the patio retaining wall. I think maybe hardy ferns. We are also thinking about not doing so many annuals and baskets this year. Want to spend more time at the lake.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, great to hear from you. We all get busy and I hear you may get more snow. It is difficult to be up this time of year - too long out of the garden. Take care,


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jeanne,

It was great that they allowed me to go and write about their show. We bloggers don't always get recognition as writers.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Pat,

I know what you are saying, too much maintenance. Think of succulents for your baskets. I am thinking more and more of these for my window boxes and baskets.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen, Looks like a great garden show! The use of tropicals that you noted at the show is an interesting trend. I can see many gardeners embracing this trend. Our show in Toronto is next week-I can hardly wait!! I plan to go picture crazy (of course!).

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jennifer,

It will be interesting to see if people want to spend the money on them. My guess, it will be on a smaller scale at first unless the prices come down.