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Tropical Foliage (and a little bit more)

It’s fascinating to see plants you think of as house plants growing outside. During a recent trip to Florida, I visited a friend and took a quick walk around her garden. The colours and textures were astonishing.


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I can’t name any of the plants, although they may be familiar to those of you who live in warmer climes.  Nameless or not, I loved what I saw, particularly the large-leafed beauties below.


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Who can resist a shape like this rounded indentation? And the colour contrast was delicious.


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I took these photos using my sister’s phone so the quality isn’t the best. But the brilliance of the colours shining out from the shade make up for it.


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Returning from Florida to cold Quebec was a shock, particularly after a big storm dumped 35 cms (15 inches or so) in a few short hours. But a snow-covered landscape offers its own beauty.


I wasn't home long enough to take any photos. But this view of the linden tree is typical.
I wasn’t home long enough to take any photos. But this view of the linden tree from a few years ago is typical.


Three days after returning to Quebec, I left again for Boston.  Over the next few days I’ll be speaking about Glen Villa (Creating a Personal Paradise: The Story of Glen Villa) in Duxbury, Hingham and Carlisle, Massachusetts. If you happen to be in the vicinity and are interested in attending, get in touch for the times and locations.

Or take a minute to check out my website. You’ll find info there about my new talk, “Learning to Look: The Art of Garden Observation,” as well as about the other talks I offer. I’m now booking engagements for the fall and would be delighted to visit your horticultural society, garden club or other organization. Do get in touch!


  • Tropical plants give me great comfort and do well in my place. They don’t require as much direct sunlight as you would think…..jungle and shaded!

    • siteandinsight

      They may not need direct sunlight but they sure do need warm days and nights.

  • annewareham

    We get some pretty dreadful ‘Tropical gardens’ in the uk, so I didn’t feel very excited seeing this post pop up. But they look great! No shredded bananas just luscious leaves in prime condition. A lesson to us all to do what we can do best?

    • siteandinsight

      I tried to grow a banana plant one year, threw it out after a month or so. Couldn’t stand looking at its pitiful condition.

      The garden I visited was a tiny gem, designed by a friend who spends most of her life much farther north. I think she did a splendid job.

      • annewareham

        I think she did.

  • PlantPostings

    15 inches–that must have been a shock! I know what you mean about the thrill of seeing tropicals we use as house plants growing outside in gardens in Florida. I remember that from when I stayed with my parents down there for a few weeks a couple of years ago. You are busy with speaking engagements! Safe travels–your attendees will be fortunate to hear you speak. :)

    • siteandinsight

      Fifteen inches was a shocker — but then it rained, then it froze, then it snowed, then it rained…. Ugh!

      I loved having the chance to speak to the three groups in Massachusetts. Sharing ideas with fellow gardeners is a real treat.

  • Judy H

    I’m recalling a trip to Quito, Ecuador, a number of years ago, where I was totally astonished to see plants that I think of as “potted plants” not only growing outdoors, but the size of trees. Such fun to see plants in their home territory!

    • siteandinsight

      I didn’t post photos of the lantana blooming outside my friend’s house. I buy it as an annual and hope it will grow nicely during the summer. But the lantana in Florida was a shrub, about six feet tall or even taller. And in some places I understand it is considered a weed. Some weed!

  • Jason

    Now I’m feeling the need to visit one of the local conservatories.

    • siteandinsight

      Ah, yes, I understand.

  • What a treat in the middle of winter! Florida feels like another world sometimes. :)

    • siteandinsight

      You are SO right.