New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Sparrow
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:33 am

Hello everyone!

I decided last year that I wanted to change the rather "cottagey" garden I had into a jungle. After clearing out a couple of areas and merging what were the "bitty" borders I'd inherited from the previous owner into larger areas, I did some research (and bought the Will Giles book) and put in bamboos, a Trachycarpus, a Chamerops, and some Musa basjoo.

All made it through the winter here (even through the really cold snap at the end of Feb/beginning of March, recorded max low was -7!! which is the lowest I've seen it here I think!). Encouraged by that, I've added a Tetrapanex, some Fatsia, Hedychium, started some Ricinus from seed (late!), and have nearly finished building a small pond (from an old bath tub!) and tiki hut (putting a roof on a six post oak pergola).

I ordered two Washingtonia palms for the next border I'm planning to covert, and this is how I found this forum! They arrived this week in two pots, one with three seedlings and one with five. Now I'm wondering if any of them are big enough to plant out directly (I'll post pics shortly)? I'm happy to give them protection if getting them into the ground now will mean they can settle and grow more quickly. Otherwise I'll pot them in individual pots and grow them on as necessary. I'll need to do that with at least some, I'm guessing, as a couple are really only leaves at this point.

The garden is fairly sheltered (some sections more than others) with mature trees (Robinia, Arbutus, two Pittosporum which are 20+ feet with trunks over 1 foot in diameter, several magnolia (both mature and fairly new) but not ideally positioned: it slopes down away from the house to the North. That said, the South side of the house, though a quite small space, is a real sun trap. And I've got a (currently unheated) greenhouse.

I'll also be looking for tips on the best and most cost effective way of filling lots of space to get that jungle effect!

Thanks for having me here!


Sparrow
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Location: Winchester

New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:30 am

Photo of Washingtonians:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zDXnVyGxT7ujGPteA

(Will have to learn how to upload pics here from my phone!)


sazmo
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by sazmo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:31 am

Wow, sounds like you have done so much in a short space of time.
People think starting a tropical garden takes years, however in reality you can make a huge impact in 1 year.


Sparrow
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:18 pm

sazmo wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:31 am
Wow, sounds like you have done so much in a short space of time.
People think starting a tropical garden takes years, however in reality you can make a huge impact in 1 year.
Thanks! And yes, it isn't even one a full year yet and the feel of the garden is completely different (much for the better, in my opinion). I did have the advantage of mature shrubs and trees to keep height... otherwise with new plants it can feel a bit 'bare' whlie waiting for things to fill in. Even with the trees and shrubs, I feel the gaps... filling with large growing annuals for now, though. Theoretically, you could do nearly an entire garden with tender tropical annuals and get a really nice (if expensive) effect.


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DiCasS
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by DiCasS » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:52 pm

Welcome to the forum Sparrow, look forward to seeing more photos of your garden when ready.
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Tom2006
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Tom2006 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:37 pm

Welcome! Sounds like you've made a great start! Keep posting the pictures when you can.
Most wanted list - Any Young Trachycarpus and/or fern.


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karl66
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by karl66 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:45 am

Welcome, we need fresh meat to build up forum interest again!!.


Pebo
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Pebo » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:48 pm

I hate to sound negative, but you'll do well to get the Washies through the winter.


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tatter
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by tatter » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:31 pm

Sparrow this might be worth a look.
Under=Exotics reference and discussion area
Palms
Washingtonia robusta hardiness rating(unprotected) by Dave Brown

I would suggest those in photo will need protection over winter (do you have greenhouse/porch )
Jim
I'm older than yesterday but younger than tomorrow


Sparrow
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Location: Winchester

New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:14 pm

DiCasS wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:52 pm
Welcome to the forum Sparrow, look forward to seeing more photos of your garden when ready.
Thanks for the welcome. I'm sorting through photos to make an album. Should have the first batch ready later today!
Tom2006 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:37 pm
Welcome! Sounds like you've made a great start! Keep posting the pictures when you can.
The whole idea is rather addictive! I wish it would rain so that I had an excuse to sort photos rather than be in the garden. (Sort of true...)
karl66 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:45 am
Welcome, we need fresh meat to build up forum interest again!!.
Happy to be here!
Pebo wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:48 pm
I hate to sound negative, but you'll do well to get the Washies through the winter.
Not negative sounding... This is why I asked, as I am very new to tropicals. (Though I've grown orchids - really particular species paphiopedulums, masdevallia, pleurocallis, neofintinia, etc - so I'm fairly used to "coddling" some plants!)

I'm thinking of it as a grand experiment. Either way it will help me build experience.
tatter wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:31 pm
Sparrow this might be worth a look.
Under=Exotics reference and discussion area
Palms
Washingtonia robusta hardiness rating(unprotected) by Dave Brown

I would suggest those in photo will need protection over winter (do you have greenhouse/porch )
Thank you! I did a forum search after joining and read as much as I could... But I didn't come across much information about how big they should be before they could viably be planted out. I do have a greenhouse (unheated) and also a very long side porch that gets lots of afternoon & evening light (though obviously not as much as greenhouse light).

Do you agree it is best to separate these and grow them on individually?

Edit for clarity: I guess what I was wondering was if the plants as shown were all the same age? Is their growth rate that variable? Some are twice the size of others...


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tatter
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by tatter » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:59 pm

Sparrow I'm no expert on palms but I'm sure someone with more experience will help
Jim
I'm older than yesterday but younger than tomorrow


Sparrow
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:36 pm

Thanks, Jim. Certainly the thread you pointed me to answered most of my initial questions! Though as they say: the devil is in the details!!

Perhaps I risk planting one or two out now to start settling in and plan to construct a temporary greenhouse around them over the winter. Where I was thinking of putting them is next to the garage, so I could fairly easily knock up a plexiglass shelter with gaps for air circulation on the sides along the garage. Using the garage roof as support as well. Might work. Would be an interesting project, I think.

Here are the photos of some of the things taken from March until now. Also shows the tiki hut / sala that is now ready for the thatch to go on.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/35L1yj9dJSJ95abR9


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tatter
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by tatter » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:46 pm

Sparrow you may get more info/advice if you started a thread in the main community forum rather than here icon_thumleft
Jim
I'm older than yesterday but younger than tomorrow


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Blairs
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Blairs » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:50 pm

I started out with the cottage look and I went wrong in not removing it all. Lupins and palms do not work well!

Washingtonia have always died for me over time. I have got them through a mild winter but they are so slow for me that they give up by the next years frost. A heated greenhouse would make a difference and if you can protect them till they are big then you can try them outdoors.

Have you tried Phormiums, and Cordylines? Trachycarpus is hardy across almost the whole U.K.


Sparrow
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New to tropicals, renovating my garden

Post by Sparrow » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:04 pm

tatter wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:46 pm
Sparrow you may get more info/advice if you started a thread in the main community forum rather than here icon_thumleft
I will do that probably at some point in the (near) future... For now, it was really just something to have as an opening gambit and helped explain why I was here (how I found the forum) in the first place. ;)
Blairs wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:50 pm
I started out with the cottage look and I went wrong in not removing it all. Lupins and palms do not work well!
I can imagine! It is a real change over, so I've had to be rather ruthless. However, I have kept tree peonies (they have lovely large leaves, so I've told myself they'll fit with the tropical look!) and daylilies (which kinda work, jury out). Most other things got given away to clear the way.
Blairs wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:50 pm
A heated greenhouse would make a difference and if you can protect them till they are big then you can try them outdoors.
The littler ones will definitely be kept in over winter. I'll see how they do in pots. Because there were so many more than I'd expected in the pot, my current thought is to try the biggest two out for the summer to see how much trunk diameter they can put on in one season. I can build a plexiglass greenhouse around them in situ for the winter and see how that works. Like I said, experiment a bit....
Blairs wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:50 pm
Have you tried Phormiums, and Cordylines? Trachycarpus is hardy across almost the whole U.K.
Love phormiums and have a few, and yes, will be adding more. Cordylines have never really floated my boat, so I don't even have one. And yes, I am coming round to the idea of more Trachycarpus dotted around - a sort of unifying feature, they are so lovely and easy! I think I'm also going to try growing some banana from seed... I sort of fancy a banana grove, perhaps. :D


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