A Tropical Touch in a Native Garden
I'm lucky enough to have some woods behind my garden, so I thought I'd share some photos with you! In a month or so I'm sure it will be flooded anyways, so I'm enjoying the ability to slip back there and check out the sights, like the bed of ferns in the photo above!
The dominant canopy consists of bald cypress, slash pine and sweet bay magnolia, while the secondary canopy is one of yaupon and dahoon hollies, and red bay. In the shrub layer I have mostly fetterbush, highlands blueberry, and saw palmetto, while the ground is covered with ferns and switchgrass.
Admittedly, I do have a couple of exotic tropicals thrown in for a touch of the rainforest, such as my cat palms, agapanthus, caladiums and bromeliads.
Isn't that caladium gorgeous in this setting? The bulb inadvertently got thrown out with some lawn refuse about 5 years ago, and its been coming back every year despite annual flooding! That's definitely not what any of my books would predict...
Below is a shot of a Billbergia bromeliad naturalized on a tree in the woods. Yes they are that cold hardy! Randomly placing epiphytes in the garden really does help to create the illusion of a rainforest, so I would recommend it to anyone who can get away with it. Some other good ones for zone 9a are golden polypody, Japanese birdsnest fern, native tilladsias, staghorn ferns, resurrection fern and aechmea gamosepala.