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Tropical Garden Style with Hardy Plants

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This is a timely work with the current vogue for all things tropical. However the ordinary gardener is often overlooked as the majority of people have neither a greenhouse nor the time to protect these plants over winter. This book transcends the problem by offering tropical planting using exotic-looking hardy plants. Written by Alan Hemsley, who has his own tropical garden in South Wales, it is an engaging look at plants with impact. Freely admitting his hardiness guidelines are by experimentation on his part, he makes allowances for those who do not want to lose their plants unnecessarily. All types of plants are looked at from trees and shrubs to herbaceous perennials, grasses and bulbs, and all soil types are catered for. As befits someone with his botanical background, the plant indexes are, for a change, taxonomically correct giving family names, genus, species and, if applicable, common names. The many colour photographs that accompany the descriptions highlight the diverse range of plants that are commonly grown but not necessarily regarded as 'exotic'. Crocosmia, carex, hops and macleaya are seen in a new light and when interspersed with newer cultivated plants such as gunnera, cordyline and phormiums, a tropical effect is instantaneous. Shady areas are transformed too with the use of ferns, aucubas and fatsias intermingled with more tender plants such as begonias and clivias to give a tropical feel to even the most shady, dank corner of the garden. Brimming with plant suggestions, this is an excellent guide for anyone looking for something more daring in the garden. Admittedly not all his choices are hardy and some will need overwintering or propagating for the following year, but the choice is so varied that even if time and facilities are not available, a tropical garden is still attainable.

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