Today we return to the Virginia tropics, aka Bill Hewitt’s garden in southeastern Virginia, where he grows tropical-looking plants to make a landscape very unlike what is typically seen in his part of the world.
Dramatic hardy palms (including the Chinese windmill palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, Zones 7–10, in the foreground) are joined in the warm months of the year by cannas (Canna hybrids, Zones 7–10 or as tender bulbs), elephant ears (Colocasia and Alocasia species and hybrids, many hardy to Zones 8–11), and other tropical-looking perennials.
Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9) bring a huge mass of flamingo pink to the garden.
A dark-colored elephant ear (probably Colocasia ‘Illustris’, Zones 8–11), with a four-legged gardening friend to demonstrate the scale.
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–10) is a shrub native to the southeastern United States. Though it is not tropical, its large, bold leaves certainly add to the tropical look of the garden.
Spring ice storms can do a huge amount of damage to a garden, not to mention making traveling dangerous. But they can also be incredibly beautiful, as with these magical ice-encased daffodils.
A butterfly coming in to a huge mass of purple coneflowers and tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7–10 or as annual). Both of these plants are great sources of nectar for butterflies and other pollinators. The leaves of a banana in the background keep the tropical theme of the garden going.
Close-up of the flowers of a tall verbena.
And one last view of Bill’s creative tropically themed garden.
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