Tropical Gardens In Cooler Climates

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
323
326
Pensacola, FL
I am really into tropical gardens although I wouldn't call myself a great gardener especially when it comes to getting plants to grow gigantic. I am in zone 9a and I like to drool over tropical plants that I can't grow outside in this zone. I often forget though that the tropical garden look is very doable, and the problems that arise in having a tropical garden in zone 9 is nothing compared to colder climate gardeners (like zone 5) who can create a very convincing tropical garden.

I like to copy very inspirational articles or photos I find, especially ones that deal with tropical gardens in zones colder than mine. It gives me more determination because I think, "If they can do it, so can I!" Or at least, I hope one day I can get the tropical garden I am after.

Here I will share an article I found not too long ago, about a couple in Evansville Indiana that started with a banana, and then ended up going all out creating a tropical garden. Below is the photo from the article, and here is the link to the article: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/sep/08/backyard-garden-goes-jungle/



Recently I re-read this article to get inspired again. I wanted to see more photos of this amazing garden, so I lucked out and found the gardener's facebook page, although because I don't have a facebook I can't see all the photos. I will have to have one of my friends let me use their account to see the photos. Here is the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kean.dietz?hc_location=stream

Next comes a South Carolina tropical garden: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/tropesque/msg0920204627316.html

Finally, there are several wonderful tropical gardens on this page: http://www.pbase.com/edgegallery/cool_temp_memb
Some of my favorites on this page are: David's Garden, Nick's Garden, Marc Visser's Exotic Garden, etc.

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These are just gardens & gardeners that I have found inspiration in. If you have any tropical garden articles or photos you take inspiration from please post them here or if you yourself have a tropical garden please share! I am amazed at what beautiful gardens people are able to create.
 

mcrooke45

Songster
8 Years
Nov 15, 2011
508
47
164
New Market, TN
Hi,
I live in TN. I have always loved tropical gardens and I have created my own tropical garden here in Tennessee. Here is mine.






 

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
323
326
Pensacola, FL
Great looking bananas do you keep them in the ground all year? What kind of bananas are you growing Musa Basjoo?
 

mcrooke45

Songster
8 Years
Nov 15, 2011
508
47
164
New Market, TN
I have Musa Basjoo, Musa Siskkimensis Daj Giant, and Musa Intinerans. Some of the Musa Basjoo have been in the ground for 10 years. I don't use any protection on them in the winter at all. Winters here are mild except for last winter but the bananas are still sprouting up this spring. Just got a couple of Musa Mekong Giants that I am going to try.
 

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
323
326
Pensacola, FL
Yeah this last winter was bad on my bananas. It killed them pretty much to the ground and that was the first time I have had that happen. Do you use any special fertilizer for them? I want my bananas to be tree size this year. Last year mine didn't look so spectacular while the ones my mom has in her garden got the same or even less care and got so nice and leafy and tall. I got a gift card for Amazon and spent it on getting plants. I got 6 Musa Sikkimensis seeds that I have potted sitting out on the front porch and I hope they grow. I am excited to try new kinds of bananas. I am not sure what kind I have currently I just got my current bananas from friends and neighbors.

Good luck with the Musa Mekong Giants. I have been thinking about trying those someday.

I planted several elephant ear bulbs but only 3 are doing something so far. One I am worried about because it might be getting too much sun. Only one looks okay so far. I love elephant ears a ton so it will make me sad if I can't get them to grow very well in at least one place. The ones doing the best are in a location where I would see them the least but as long as they grow I am happy.

Here is my "tropical" attempt in my peafowl aviary:





Here are my plants outside the pen. The bananas and the dwarf ginger are growing back so they don't look as nice as this currently.


I want to try growing large shell gingers and I wish I could grow hanging heliconia outside here but I can't. I tried growing a Chinese fan palm a few years ago but it didn't do well. We have a date palm in our front yard and it had a baby one growing on its trunk so I pulled it out and am growing it in a pot on the porch hopping it will grow. I haven't had much luck growing my own palms. I love the look of a bunch of bananas growing together. I wish my bananas would multiply faster!!!
 

mcrooke45

Songster
8 Years
Nov 15, 2011
508
47
164
New Market, TN
This winter killed all of my bananas to the ground to. The only thing I have done with my bananas was mix some compost and manure with the dirt with them when I planted them. I throw some regular fertilizer on them from time to time. Keeping them watered good makes them grow faster than anything. I have grown them for 10 years now. I finally had bananas for the first time on 2 clumps last year. I have some Windmill palms and some Sabal Louisiana palms and a couple of small Sabal Palmetto palms growing in my yard. I think this past winter killed some of my smaller Windmill palms. They have not shown any new spear growth yet. My largest Windmill palm has a 6ft trunk. This winter killed all the leaves on it but it has shot up some new ones now.
 

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
323
326
Pensacola, FL
I noticed recently that lots of watering does seem to make the bananas grow quickly! This year I am trying to compete with my mom's bananas and so far mine are winning. That is a nice sized windmill palm. Do you get any bananas?
 

mcrooke45

Songster
8 Years
Nov 15, 2011
508
47
164
New Market, TN
I had bananas on 2 clumps last year. That is the first time they have ever produced bananas here. I won't have any this year because the winter killed them to the ground and they had to sprout up from there this year. The year before was a very mild winter here and they started off early and produced bananas finally. I have around 35 clumps of bananas in my yard.
 

mcrooke45

Songster
8 Years
Nov 15, 2011
508
47
164
New Market, TN
If you really want to make your bananas grow real fast find you some Milorganite and mix it with the soil next to them or put it on top of the soil above them and use it as fertilizer. It will make them grow real fast. You can usually find it at Lowe's or Home Depot.
 

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
323
326
Pensacola, FL
I think I have seen that stuff in our garage so I will have to try using that on the bananas.

Do you know what kind of bananas these are?




These photos are from a bird breeder's place and I was amazed at how huge they were. They were literally tree sized and since then I have been wondering what kind they are. Are these Musa Mekong Giants?
 
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