Garden Photo of the Day

A Jungle Garden in Portland

A wild collection of unusual plants

sunset over foliage plants in a jungle garden

Today we’re in Portland, Oregon, visiting with Zeah.

I’ve loved interesting plants since I was small, growing plants in my mother’s garden and killing orchids from the yearly orchid show. I’ve worked in the horticulture industry several times, and I’ve grown plants on my own whenever I had the resources. Last year I was given the opportunity to take over one of the coolest gardens in the Pacific Northwest, the home of Lance Wright, formerly a Portland Parks Bureau horticulturist for three decades. Now I have a home where the jungle extends from my bedroom to the street, with more diversity than some botanical gardens.

close up of tropical orange and yellow flowersBomarea is a South American vine related to Alstromeria. This hybrid form dies back to the ground every winter.

close up of carnivorous plants in a containerA bog planter with mostly carnivorous plants

close up of venus flytrapThe most iconic of the carnivorous plants is Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula ‘DCXL’, Zones 7–10). This selection has unusually large and beautifully patterned traps.

close up of Lithops in a containerThis is a collection of lithops (aka living rocks), tiny succulent plants with leaves that store water and mimic the look of stones to avoid being eaten. To avoid forgetting the names of the varieties, Zeah made a diagram of what is planted where, using the crack at the bottom of the pot as a reference point. That’s a great way to keep track of what plant is what without having to add little labels everywhere.

close up of tropical foliage plants in the gardenAn enormous stand of Musa sikkamensis (Zones 7–10, maybe colder with protection). Adding a thick layer of leaves or other protection in the winter helps plants like these overwinter in cold zones.

large container planting of vegetablesA big planter full of vegetables provides food and screening, turning this front porch into a private garden nook.

handful of hot pepper harvest

A very HOT pepper harvest: yellow and peach Bhut Jolokia and some Trinidad Moruga Black scorpion peppers.

Rhododendron bonsai with purple flowersAn exploration of bonsai, with a little Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’ (Zones 4–8)

tropical plants covered in snowSnow over the Portland jungle garden

sunset over foliage plants in a jungle gardenSunset over the garden

If you want to see more of this garden, check out Zeah’s Instagram: @pdxplantyvibes


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    simplesue 10/04/2023

    Wow that garden is amazing! I love the little Lithops, and your amazing photo of the jungle in the snow! The bog plants are so beautiful!
    Such a unique and interesting garden!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/04/2023


  3. jbean 10/08/2023

    Very nice!

    I always wanted to have a primordial jungle garden with a carnivorous bog and primitive plants like horsetails, ginkgo, palms and ferns as well as some big leaved plants to add to the feeling that a dinosaur was right around the corner. I live in SoCal though, so I'm better off with my dog slinking around in the Muhlenbergia looking for lizards (teeny tiny dinosaurs) and gophers.

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