Garden Photo of the Day

Putting Down Roots, at Last

Settling into a garden after a career of frequent moves

My name is Linda Corinaldi, and I live in West Vancouver (lots of rain and lots of slugs) in British Columbia, Canada.

We have lived in this house for 20 years. Before my husband retired, we moved every three years with his job. With each move we bought a new house, and because we knew we would move again, it was pretty much an annual garden at each house. This time I was able to do a more permanent garden. I think that I have finally created the garden of my dreams; to me it is perfect.

I love plants with large leaves, and because I grew up in the Caribbean I wanted a tropical type of garden. Unfortunately, this house had been professionally landscaped, and the corner lot had been planted with about twenty maples.

The entrance garden, with huge flowering bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 6–9).

Big, bold leaves and dramatic foliage bring some of the tropical flare that Linda loves.

rhododendronAn enormous rhododendron in full spring bloom.

Containers by the entrance of the house. The emphasis here is on foliage, using contrasting dark and light leaves to make a dramatic, sophisticated planting. No flowers are required.

Huge leaves of gunnera (Gunnera manicata, Zones 7–10) and ensete banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, Zones 9–11) give this area more of a tropical look. Interestingly, gunnera is actually very intolerant of hot weather but loves cool summers like what you get in Vancouver. Choosing plants like that give the visual effect of the tropics, but on a plant well-suited to Linda’s climate.

Contrasting light and dark foliage and flowers. Dark colors come from a dark-leaves selection of elderberry (Sambucus nigra, Zones 5–8) and the succulent Aeonium arboreum (Zones 9–11). Those dark colors make the white smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–9) flowers, yellow-leaved creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9), and variegated Japanese forest grass (Hakonecholoa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9) look all the brighter.

Containers filled with a variety of plants make a beautiful display.

CliviaA huge pot of clivia (Clivia miniata, Zones 9–10) covered in bright orange flowers. If you get frost in your area, just move it inside as a houseplant for the winter.

A beautiful outdoor seating area is surrounded by the lush garden full of tropical notes.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 09/17/2020

    That was fantastic! Brava!!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/17/2020

    Wow, Linda, your photos really do show that you have created a dreams come true garden. Your plant choices definitely give off a tropical vibe and your grouping have a consistently alluring and appealing ying and yang in color and/or texture. I love the picture that starts with the bold pop of orange from the clivia, then the eye notices the more subtle purple of the upward growing clematis(?) as it is drawn further along to take in the big round balls of pink from the hydrangea. It's all visually stunning. Congrats.

    1. sluginitout 09/17/2020

      Zone 7-8 Canada differs slightly with U.S zone. I put up a plastic greenhouse against wall on south side of house with a boat heater set to keep temp just above freezing . most Succulents go in there,Bananas go into garage cupboard without pots, upside down, Clivias come inside

  3. nwphillygardener 09/17/2020

    Really rich! Linda, can you tell us what zone your Vancouver garden is? Do you bring inside a good number of those succulents and more tropical looking elements in the many pots? Or has your years working with annuals at other properties made it part of you yearly mission. Surely you've found a stunning collection of great plants!

  4. mserock 09/17/2020

    Beautiful work. I really enjoyed your pictures. The clivia is stunning. Thanks for the idea. You really have created a garden that I would love to have. Enjoy every minute of it.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/17/2020


  6. user-5117752 09/17/2020

    So lush, so full of color and texture!!! What a fabulous garden to behold!!! Thank you for taking the time to share with us garden lovers!!!

  7. coastalgardener 09/17/2020

    Wow...and double wow! You have created a magnificent garden for yourself, and it certainly has the tropical feel you wanted. You've used such great combinations of color and texture. I loved all of your photos!

  8. User avater
    carolcowee 09/17/2020

    Just gorgeous!!!

  9. karen49 09/17/2020

    What gorgeous spaces you have created! Thanks for sharing. You mention slugs. Do you have a remedy that works well for your garden? I live in a suburb of the St. Paul/Minneapolis and the rainy weather we had this year really brought the out. They have peppered the hostas with holes. Thinking Sluggo and beer next year.

    1. sluginitout 09/17/2020

      I bought the last 10 boxes of bait before they went green with formula. I put it around Ligularia/hostas early in spring. I go out at night with flashlight and spray any I see with ammonia mixture 1pt ammonia/9pts water. THEN I throw my hands up and tell folks that my plants are the lacey version .I have 1 blue hosta in a pot with not a single hole ...go figure! We get a lot of rain here and I am next to an vacant trail. It’s a loosing battle,the little grey ones are the worse culprits

  10. btucker9675 09/17/2020


  11. cheryl_c 09/17/2020

    What lush and rich plantings - and seeing the moisture everywhere is really quenching for eyes that have been seeing drought for many weeks here in the midwest. Your clivia is so tempting - do they need to be kept fairly moist to be happy?

    1. sluginitout 09/18/2020

      No ! The clivia get watered about the same as everything else...when they look dry.They winter inside the house and I am not great on a schedule so they don’t get watered very often. I want them to bloom in June so I start feeding them high phosphorus fertilizer. {Middle number} in late winter. Next year I am going to only feed one plant early so that they bloom at different times [I have two plants]and see how that works

  12. Patchworkgardener 09/17/2020

    Your garden is exquisite. I love what you’ve done with all the big leaved plants. It really does give a tropical look. Hope you’ll send more pictures and soon. Great job!

    1. sluginitout 09/18/2020

      I will now that I have such positive feedback. Thanks to all of you

  13. User avater
    simplesue 09/17/2020

    Wow it really is perfect! is that a Hydrangea "Color Fantasy"...the one that's deep (not pastel) colors?
    Love what you've created, I can't wait until my 8 year old garden matures like yours.

    1. sluginitout 09/18/2020

      I am not sure what variety the Hydrangea is. It did not have a lot of blooms this year as I pruned it severely,but it still grew like crazy ,we had a lot of rain . What’s new?

  14. carolineyoungwilliams 09/17/2020

    Thank you Linda for sharing your beautiful garden. You have done a fantastic job. You have also inspired me to go bigger, bolder and add more leaves with contrasting colors. Keep up the great work. Be Blessed.

    1. sluginitout 09/18/2020

      I am a very visual person. I try to put contrasting plants next to each other. even the greens , light next to dark it creates a painterly like effect. Also varying the texture of the leaves makes a difference . Thanks for your-comments

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