Garden Photo of the Day

Helena’s Florida Paradise

Tropical plants make a lush garden

side garden full of tropical foliage plants

Hello, my name is Helena Mahoney. I am 87 years old and live in Vero Beach, Florida. I have been reading Fine Gardening ever since I became a certified Master Gardener, almost 30 years ago. I live in Zone 10 on a suburban lot that is less than half an acre. Most of my beds are in partial shade because of the extreme heat here. I have many unusual tropical plants in my garden, including bromeliads and philodendrons.

side garden full of tropical foliage plantsGardening in Florida is pretty different from what most of us are used to! Look at all the lush, tropical foliage.

covered porch with views of the gardenA comfortable place to sit inside and look out at the jungle beauty of the garden outside.

mass planting of tropical plants with red foliageNorthern gardeners are used to thinking of bromeliads as houseplants, but where temperatures don’t get below freezing in the winter, they can be great perennials outside for shaded spots. Northern gardeners can mimic this look by using them as annuals and bringing them inside for the winter.

two foliage plants in containersThis beautiful philodendron looks to me like the currently wildly popular ‘Pink Princess’. Houseplant Instagram accounts have made this a must-have plant, but in Helena’s garden it doesn’t have to live in the house.

bright pink flowers in the shadeLight shade is a great feature in the hot Florida sun, and many plants thrive in those conditions.

back of garden full of tropical plantsMasses of bromeliads make a beautiful planting here.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/02/2022

    Thanks for sharing your garden, Helena and hello to you from a former Brevard County resident!
    I wish I knew then what I know now about plants - my yard there was always pretty lush and green, but it certainly lacked the charm & interest that your garden has! Congratulations and best wishes!

  2. garden1953 06/02/2022

    Beautiful gardens! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Maggieat11 06/02/2022

    Wonderful. You have a beautiful place inside and out.

  4. User avater
    JanetInCwood 06/02/2022

    Your garden is so interesting. Living in Ontario Canada we are so envious of tropical plants. Love your sitting area. Just gorgeous!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 06/02/2022

    Your garden is a tropical paradise, it's wonderful!
    I'm so glad you mentioned your age and how long you've been gardening because somedays at my age (65) I wonder how much longer I can go on- but you give me hope and inspiration!
    I wish I could take a walk down your brick path right now!

  6. user-7392754 06/02/2022

    I saw several plants that you’re growing outside that are my houseplants! You do live in a tropical paradise!!! Thanks for sharing your garden!

  7. sheila_schultz 06/02/2022

    What a beautiful gift you have given to yourself over your decades of gardening. It is a lush and colorful paradise that those of us that don't live in a tropical climate can only imagine with houseplants! Enjoy every moment of the beauty you have created.

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/02/2022

    Really pretty.

  9. btucker9675 06/02/2022

    Love the bromeliads! You are proof positive that gardening makes us stronger!

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