A Marvelous Tropical Cramscape

We had the great privilege to visit a garden filled with Palms, cycads, succulents, and tropical plants, all carefully nurtured to a state of high beauty.  In short:  a marvel.

Ever-patient Beloved got better wide-angle shots, many of those are his.  I focused on plant details and gawking/drooling/sighing/exclaiming/oohing/ahhing.

When the owners bought the home in the early 1990's, the landscape looked similar to the current landscape of nearby homes:  a Quercus illex and a lawn:

This is the twenty-two year transformation.  The Quecus is still there--can you spot it?  It's been trimmed to expose the limbs.
 There's a very small lawn behind there--allowing access to the plants from the other side.
Around the corner, a Hylocereus climbs a Eucalyptus polyanthemos:

 This area belongs to the city, so the homeowners must leave it as is.  It is maintained by the city, not the homeowners (obviously). 
 Just on the other side of the light pole in the photo above, succulents in the same soil and with no irrigation:
 If you think the front garden is fantastic...
and isn't that Zamia gorgeous?
 If it stops you in your tracks...



 The back garden was even better!
A grand Rhapis appears to block the front door, but there's room to get by, for now.
 On to the back! 
 Koi pond.  Note the silvery Cussonia.
 I was all agog. 
  There was a spectacular Croton room. 


 There was a spectacular succulent theater.


 
There was a spectacular begonia collection.  (Noticing a pattern here?).  
 And healthy Bromiliads of all sorts.  Lots of them



 Terrestrial bromiliads get extra shade according to their needs.
Despite every inch of the garden appearing to be occupied by a plant, each plant had room to grow.  The garden is full, but not to the detriment of the plants. 
 Yes, this is a plant.
 Rhipsalis have explored their way out the shade screens:
The palm canopy created a cool, moist microclimate, enabling the tropical and sub-tropical plants to have the cool, humid environment they need.  

 To protect delicate plants, such as the begonias, from spells of desiccating dry wind, the owners wrap areas of the garden with shade cloth in early fall and unwrap in spring.  The shade cloth creates enough of a barrier to hold in sufficient moisture.

The Palms and Cycads were choice specimens.  A few of the trees existing when the owners moved in are still there, kept trimmed back so as not to interfere with the more choice additions.




 The center of the back garden was a Bismarkia noblis, a favorite palm of mine from Madagascar.  It was one of the first palms planted about twenty years ago.
 Hooded Orioles sew their nests to the undersides of the Bismarkia's big fronds.  Their nests are woven from fibers pulled from palm trunks and fronds.  The nests are now abandoned, as nesting season is over. 

 It occurred that one reason the owners were able to care so beautifully for their plants (great talent and committed dedication aside) was that it was perfectly comfortable being outside even with temperatures close to 90F. 
A Tillansia support made from pieces of hose pipe, screen, and zip ties:
 Platycerium
An ultra-rare Rakeoptera:
 Caryota
 Perhaps my own garden needs more (or should I say some) shade.  Microclimates affect the gardener as well as the gardened.   

 The fruiting palm is the plant that produces carnauba wax, Copernicia prunifera:

 Hoya flower cluster
 Plant tags are made from scraps of irrigation pipe.

 A better glimpse of the rare Rakeoptera

Ain't that an absolute wow?  I was a wreck by the time we left. 

Comments

  1. Yes! An absolute wow about sums it up. Heaven on earth. How lucky you were to visit. I love that the fabulousness wasn't just confined to the private areas but was out there on the street side too.

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    1. It was at a Floramagoria level of fabulousness!

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  2. Excuse me for a minute while I try to pick my jaw up off the floor [yoga breaths]... OK, still having a little trouble getting jaw back in place... "Gawking/drooling/sighing/exclaiming/oohing/ahhing" indeed! Plant lust at its mad-keen, marvelous best. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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    1. We were so lucky to get to see it! I must have looked and sounded like an idiot the whole time I was there.

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  3. This is the kind of crammed-to-the-gills plant paradise I aspire to having one day. I'd love to spend a few days there looking at all the goodies. What place! You're so lucky to have been able to visit.

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    1. I think you could do this, Gerhard. It was so inspiring to see gardening at that level of talent.

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  4. Thanks for sharing yours and Beloved's photos of this magnificent garden. I would have been agog too. I love the Tillandsia support, it's brilliant!

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    1. Brilliant and made from scraps, too. They also made then in full instead of half circles--so clever!

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  5. This is a garden on steroids and utterly magnificent. Just looking at the photos made my head explode. Surely there are more photos..hint, hint.

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    1. My hands were shaking so a lot of them were out of focus!

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  6. What city or general area is this in? Is it near the coast? How do they irrigate? The garden and your photos are incredible. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It's maybe 10 or 15 miles inland. There is some drip irrigation, plus a hose. Happy you enjoyed it!

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  7. Wow, indeed. Thank you for sharing. I learned a lot just by exploring the garden through your photographs.

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    1. It's really inspirational, isn't it? They really, really know what they are doing.

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  8. WOW!!! is right! That garden has got to stop traffic. Do the owners have any stats on the number of car crashes due to drivers coming to a sudden stop?

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    1. Ha! That's a good one. I should have checked the street for skid marks.

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  9. Bismarckia nobilis (not hardy here) is my favorite palm! This garden is truly awesome and I'm drooling just looking at your images. I can only imagine how you must have felt experiencing this wonder in person. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Thank you for sharing this extraordinary experience. Must find a tissue to wipe the drool from my keyboard.

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    1. Yes I love the Bismarkia! So grand and stately. Sorry the post made a mess of your keyboard...but wasn't it worth it? :)

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  10. >> it was perfectly comfortable being outside even with temperatures close to 90F. <<

    The effect of the shade cloth plus the plants' transpiration?

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    1. Just the shade of the palms--the soil beneath gets no direct sun, so no accumulated heat is radiated upwards from the ground.

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  11. That's one superfluous stop sign (in the streetside shot)!

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  12. A wonderful garden filled with so many gorgeous plants. I think I would be exhausted too as there is so much to take in.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. It is not a large garden, but we were there for two hours. I could have stayed a lot longer--so much to appreciate and enjoy.

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  13. Wow!! Where are the blue ribbons? What a marvelous, personal, magical garden! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. The owners really know how to garden!

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