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Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Photo of the Day

Bill's tropical garden in Ohio

comments (15) December 31st, 2012 in blogs
MichelleGervais Michelle Gervais, Senior Editor
122 users recommend

2 WAYS TO ENLARGE: Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
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2 WAYS TO ENLARGE: Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bill Albert

Today's photos are from Bill Albert in Waterville, Ohio. That's right, Ohio.... Sure doesn't look like it! Bill says, "This is my garden in Waterville, Ohio. It was started from a lawn and nothing else. All the hardscaping was constructed by me. The yard is in full sun. The patios were given a southwestern environment, succulents, cactus, ornamental grasses. I then wondered what could be done in the plain lawn that I looked out on. Let's try tropical!
       The first year, I planted one banana plant, Musa basjoo (USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11). It did well. As I was instructed, at end of the summer it was cut to the ground and covered with four feet of leaves. Uncoverng the bed the following spring, sprouts showed up. I was elated. Other warm climate plants soon followed: Canna, hibiscus, croton, colocasia, coleus, castor bean, amaranthus, begonia, princess lily, tibouchina among them. In the years that followed, beds were added. A gazebo was built. The prominent torii was built as a memorial to my donor. For many years I had declining health due to an auto-immune liver disorder. In July 2010, I received a most precious gift that saved my life.
      The garden blooms all season, After the first hard frost, the bananas are cut down and covered. Cannas, colocasias, and others are dug up. The potted plants are drastically pruned and brought inside. I have had some encouraging results by leaving some cannas in situ, covering them with leaves with the bananas.
      The yard has attracted some attention from the area garden associations asking for tours. All leave very amused and somewhat awed." Well I'm awed, too, Bill! When I first opened your email I thought you were in Florida! Amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!!

***Hey all--I'm happy to get people connected through email, but I want to do it carefully. Email me and let me know who you're giving me permission to send your email address to, and I'll make it happen, hopefully without too much confusion!

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posted in: Ohio

Comments (15)

seemor3d writes: I live in Zone 6. I leave my variegated Aundo Donax up through the Winter. It gets cut down in late April. It is in full sun and flourishes. I do this with all of my grasses.

I'll know if the Cannas that I left in the beds in April survive. I tried Colocasias once, covering them up more than even the bananas. They did not survive. Their bulbs being too close to the surface, I believe. Posted: 3:46 pm on January 3rd
ceres writes: Bill, I forgot to state I am gardening in Iowa. Posted: 9:27 am on January 3rd
ceres writes: Bill, your garden is beautiful. I am excited about your sucess in overwintering banana in the ground. I have overwintered varigated Arundo donex in the ground for about 7 years and mine also gets huge. I will try leaving a banana in the ground next fall.
Congratulations on your new life. I have a friend who was one of the first to receive a heart transplant and he celebrates 2 birthdays each year. His and his donors.


Posted: 5:13 pm on January 1st
cwheat000 writes: Really, Ohio? Your love for your garden shows. Have a happy and healthy New Year everyone. Posted: 9:34 pm on December 31st
pattyspencer writes: Happy New Year everyone! May 2013 be a great year for you all! Posted: 6:39 pm on December 31st
pattyspencer writes: I'm amazed at everything you've accomplished - lots and lots of work goes into your garden every season - putting in - taking out. What a great thing to honor your donor!!! Yep I'd come see you if I lived in your area for a garden tour! Posted: 6:38 pm on December 31st
tractor1 writes: Bill, you've accomplished a lot, a lovely garden but more importantly good health... and on that note I'll wish everyone a Happy & Healthy New Year. Posted: 1:45 pm on December 31st
Sheila_Schultz writes: Your joy for life surfaces everywhere in your tropical gardens. They are amazing, as are you.

May the New Year bring everyone peace and happiness... plus a few unexpected blooms in your gardens! Posted: 12:24 pm on December 31st
Beazel writes: What a delight, after waking to snow-covered everything, to start my morning in your lush tropical garden. The results of your labor of love--color, texture, scale--are just amazing and I'm so glad you've shared it with us. Posted: 10:59 am on December 31st
Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt writes: Thanks for sharing your garden and your encouraging story and the blessing you received in your new liver! That is awesome. Cool garden. I admire all the work you do, digging and storing tubers and moving plants in and out. As much as I love cannas and colocasias, I just am too lazy to dig and replant! I don't give my musa basjoo any extra care here in Columbus, which is a bit south of you, but I bet you have more reliable snow cover. I just let them freeze and mulch themselves, and so far they keep coming back. Posted: 9:58 am on December 31st
seemor3d writes: As drought stricken as we were this past summer. Only the potted plants required more watering. The more impressive bananas, cannas, and hibiscus received minimal irrigation.

I bought three bananas. They have populated to over eighty last May when I uncovered them.The bananas grow 12 to 14 feet, the Arundo donax variegata also can grow that tall.

The wooden pergola design used Greene and Greene architectural elements. The fan shape is parting the clouds and the mountains. There is a glass globe that the sunlight from due south passes through. Gold painted coper wires emulate the rays of light.

It is the first I see when I open the drapes at the beginning of each day.


Posted: 9:46 am on December 31st
meander1 writes: Just simply amazing, Bill, you have totally achieved your goal! It has to be very gratifying to discover which plants will allow you to push the envelope of the hardiness zone with the right winter prep techniques. I would definitely want to be first in line when your garden is open for public enjoyment. Posted: 8:09 am on December 31st
greenthumblonde writes: Nice work Bill. I too am from Ohio and every year I plant a banana. I've been using a variety with a black spotted leaf. I never thought I could actually get it to live through winter though. This spring when I plant my annual banana I'm going to look at it differently. I will consider it a perennial. And the following spring when it miraculously lives, I will think of Bill from Ohio who miraculously lived. Happy New Year.
Posted: 8:03 am on December 31st
wGardens writes: This is amazing. Congratulations on your diligence- and- your improved health! Yes! I think garden tours are definately in order. Best Wishes to you. Posted: 7:01 am on December 31st
trashywoman62 writes: Holy Cow, Bill! I can only imagine what people must FEEL like when they step into your garden! And in Ohio, says the gardener from Illinois!

Ok, deep breath,... I love the copper pipe used to hang plants; the unique detail on the cedar arbor along with the attached pots on the chunks of wood next to it; those Huge banana trees...breath, breath...they are to die for, how tall are they?; the abundance of cannas really give the garden a tropical air; I see some tiki torches scattered throughout, I bet the glow is beautiful at night. I am just amazed!

And what a wonderful memorial to your donor. Your Torii is lovely. What is the fan-shaped object on top?

Ok, I'll stop now. Thanks so much for sharing on this cold, January morning!
Regina Posted: 6:29 am on December 31st
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