Escape To A Tropical Garden

“Strange days have found us.” – Jim Morrison

It seems that we have all suddenly stumbled into uncharted territory.  I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.  My community has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 virus, and my hat is off to local authorities for the thoughtful way that they are handling the situation.

One thing I keep hearing, and that I have chosen to believe, is that fresh air and sunshine have disinfectant qualities.

So since we have been mandated to stay home anyway, I’ve been getting a jump start on spring garden clean-up.

This pile of mulch isn’t going to spread itself


Of course what we should not do right now is travel.  We had travel plans that had to be cancelled.

So this post combines what we can do right now (garden) with what we can’t do right now (travel) to bring you . . .

Design Inspiration From A Tropical Garden

On our most recent visit to the island of Hawaii, we toured the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.  This world-class botanical garden was the brainchild of Dan Lutkenhouse, and it is the result of years of planning and hard physical labor by Lutkenhouse and his team.

Touring the trails of this garden, it seems there is a surprise around every corner.

A basket fern grows on a palm tree


Cannonball Tree



There is also inspiration.  It struck me that the things that make a good tropical garden so interesting are the very things that make almost any garden interesting.


Structure can be found in the most unexpected places, like root systems.



Or unique trunks.


Going Vertical

Vertical gardens are trending with us humans, but Mother Nature still does it best.

Although, here, Mother Nature probably does have a little help from the garden caretakers.


Anthurium on a tree trunk
Orchids nestled in trees


One of the most dramatic elements in any garden design is scale.  In a tropical garden, it’s easy to feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland.


Sometimes, to get a real sense of scale, you have to look up.



Undergrowth brings contrast to a scene and provides the eye with a reference point for scale.


Undergrowth on the island in Lily Lake


Pattern can bring a sense of order to a garden.  Here, natural patterns are everywhere – especially on leaves.

Pemba palm


Specimen Plants

In contrast to scale, it’s always nice to have interesting details for the eye to zoom in on – like points of color and unique specimen plants.


Phillipine orchid


Pitcher plant


Ramshot Croton



I hope you’ve enjoyed our mini tour of this fabulous garden.  Photos don’t do it justice.

Sadly, it’s time to go . . .

Back to Reality

Please stay safe, dear reader.  And remember that, even at times like this, there are silver linings if we look for them.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


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