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Tropical Design Beat the Heat

When the heat starts in summer, its time to bring drama to the garden with big bold, and beautiful tropicals. They make you feel like you are in Hawaii, or Mexico or at least make you feel like you want to put those Rubbermaid containers full of winter clothes far, far away into the storage area under the stairs. When designing a tropical paradise, toss out that silly notion known as subtlety and break out the big, the bold and the colourful.

If you want to create your own enchanted jungle or even a tropical garden room think big. Yes, size matters. Using bold, attention commanding focal points will create the WOW factor a tropical garden always has. The massive Gunnera, a towering Windmill palm, the lush Banana plants or even an imposing stand of Miscanthus Giganteus will set the stage nicely.

Think texture, when designing the tropical garden room, juxtapositions of the wide glossy leaved Cannas mixed with a fine textured Nandina makes for an eye catching contrast. Grecian urn plants, Southern Magnolias and even the ornamental and edible versions of the Rhubarb have lovely large coarse textures. Layer the bold textures and then add a punch of contrast with the finest of textures; like nestling your ornamental Rhubarb in a lovely bed of feathery Maidenhair ferns. Remember, subtle is out the window in this type of garden.

Hot is better when making your Mediterranean paradise. Use colours on the hot side of the colour spectrum when adding that colour splash to all those tropical greens. Red, burgundy, fuchsia, yellow, orange (which is the new black this season by the way) should be your mainstays and bold strong colours too, not pastels.

Think leaf colour and contrast, Cannas are among the best with some leaves almost a chocolate burgundy colour while other varieties are an amazing tiger stripe of green and gold! Like the textures, layer on your colours and then add a bold contrasting punch of electric purple or hot pink with a pot of velvety petunias if you have a lot of oranges and burgundy in your tropical paradise.

Heavenly fragrance will take your garden to the next level. The sweet tropical scent of the Evergreen Magnolia, Cimicifuga, Star Jasmine or the seductively delicious smell of Chocolate cosmos or the clean sharp fragrance of a carpet of corsican mint underfoot will transport you to paradise. Evening primrose, Phlox davidii, fragrant Nicotianna and Evening and Virginian Stock are other worthwhile contenders for an unforgettable evening performance.

Accessorize with fire and water! Water pots are simple and dramatic, add water, maybe the odd tallish plant, like Taro or Papyrus and some floating hyacinth or frog bit and voila. You can if you like add a little bubbler pump for noise or a little fountain pump to create the delicate sound of moving water. Your own personal oasis! It is possibly the easiest bit of drama you can have!

Fire pits and gas fire tables are also fantastic and are wonderful to lounge around with some friends and a pitcher of Mojito’s late into the evening. Ahhhhhhh….

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