—Rainy Side Gardeners, May 8, 2006
Hot Plants for Cool Climates: Gardening with Tropical Plants in Temperate Zonesby Susan A. Roth, Dennis Schrader
Passionate gardeners in cooler climates struggle year after year to overwinter their gorgeous tropical plants. Our new paperback edition is the answer to their problem — practical advice for achieving the tropical look in a temperate garden. The authors, who both live and garden on Long Island, New York, reveal the secrets to creating a lush, flamboyant
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Passionate gardeners in cooler climates struggle year after year to overwinter their gorgeous tropical plants. Our new paperback edition is the answer to their problem — practical advice for achieving the tropical look in a temperate garden. The authors, who both live and garden on Long Island, New York, reveal the secrets to creating a lush, flamboyant landscape. Separate chapters cover such topics as principles of design and maintenance, proper plant selection, container gardening, and overwintering. Fantastic color photography throughout will inspire gardeners in even the hardiest zones. With the help of this book, an impressive tropical garden is within any gardener's reach.
—Elizabeth Licata, Buffalo Spree, April 2006
—Sandra J. Sandefur, Perennial Notes, Winter 2006
—Sandra J. Sandefur, Perennial Notes, Winter 2006
“. . . an engagingly written handbook – covering everything from design to plant selection to winter maintenance – that will help anyone who wants to create a convincing and pleasurable tropical look in their own northerly back-yard.”
- Timber Press, Incorporated
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- 7.52(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.49(d)
Read an Excerpt
Tropical plants move north
It's easy to create a dazzling display of tropical foliage and flowers even in seemingly inhospitable climates such as those found in Vermont, Pennsylvania, or Oregon, far from the Tropic of Capricorn. Summers in most parts of North America bring plenty of sun, heat, and humidity, along with thunderous rainstorms. These conditions fuel tropicals into high gear, so that even if the plants start off the summer small, they grow by leaps and bounds and turn into impressive specimens in a matter of a few weeks. Overwintered specimens are large to begin with and use this head start to great advantage, claiming an immediate presence in the garden as soon as they are set out in spring. By late summer and fall, tropicals are at their best.
The tropics are the most fecund and diversely vegetated region of the world, boasting, by some estimates, as many as three-quarters of the world's plant species. Only a relatively small number of these exotic plants are available to gardeners outside the tropics, and fewer still adapt to being thrust into a garden in Delaware or Minnesota. Many tropical plants need specific temperatures with hardly any fluctuation from day to day or wilt unless the humidity hovers around 100 percent. Others require specific nutrients or have an essential symbiotic relationship with another plant or fungus. Yet despite these restrictions, you can still choose from countless exotic plants to incorporate in your garden.
The ones that perform best in temperate gardens grow undaunted by the climate's normal fluctuations of temperature, humidity, and rainfall during the summer and fall. If they can also adapt to houseplant culture or to one of the many types of overwintering techniques, they become even more valuable as garden subjects because they'll only get more beautiful with size and age. Many common and popular houseplants, such as rubber trees, diffenbachia, spider plants, prayer plants, Chinese evergreen, and pothos, rescued from the dark corner of a living room, perform fabulously out-of-doors in warm weather and make authentic additions to a tropical-style garden.
You can grow tropical plants right in the ground or in containers outdoors in cold climates during the frost-free months of the year, creating entire tropical-style gardens from these tender beauties. For the most natural appearance, you might wish to plunge the pot of a large container plant right into a hole dug in the ground in a bed of tender or hardy plants. You might also site the container aboveground, but camouflage its base with dense plants.
Although some native-plant enthusiasts are purists and might disapprove of growing tropical plants in gardens where they are not endemic, this is really a matter of style and personal preference. Certainly when exotic plants — and in this case we define "exotic" not as a tropical plant per se but as
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Engagingly written and dense with alluring detail, this book is both seductive and practical. If you're just testing the waters with tropicals, it has the bait to lure you in. If you've already succumbed, you'll find here all the specific information to turn your exotic dalliance into a serious affair. In short, it's a valuable reference disguised as a good read.
Meet the Author
Susan A. Roth is an award-winning writer and photographer. She cultivates her own eclectic garden in Stony Brook, New York.
Dennis Schrader is on of the foremost experts on tropical plants in the Northeast. He co-owns and operates Landcraft Environments, a wholesale greenhouse in Mattituck, New York.
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