This first shot was taken from the top of a bank opposite the border (eventually to be planted with Yuccas, Phormiums, Red Hot Pokers and other hardy exotic looking plants). At this stage, no planting had taken place, and the soil was still being prepared. To the left, and just out of shot, is a small brook. The new border was made slightly raised - well above the highest known level of the water in times of flood.
Here's another shot of the border prior to any planting, also showing the mock ruin. This feature has now been cleaned up and made into a seating area, making it a perfect spot for bbqs, having bonfires in the chimney and general sitting and relaxing!
The largest plant for the jungle border was a 90 litre Trachycarpus fortunei. Having the evergreen structure of a palm of this size provides immediate, year round interest, and an important focal point to this part of the border. In order to ensure the best possible start for the palm, the planting hole was thoroughly soaked and the surrounding soil well prepared with good compost. It has paid off. Several new leaves have been produced throughout the season, and the growth rate will speed up over the coming years once the roots are fully established.
Due to the surrounding trees and relatively sheltered position, wind damage is unlikely to be a major problem and should allow the beautiful Trachycarpus leaves to develop without becoming shredded and looking unsightly. Sadly this an all too common sight, especially around here in Devon where this species is often planted in coastal towns along the sea front!
September is always a month of mixed emotions. The nights are noticable closing in and Autumn feels just around the corner, however, it must also be one of the best months in the exotic style garden. The plants have had a whole summer in which to grow and are still looking fantastic. Other more traditional styles of garden often struggle for late season interest and colour by this time of year. This particular garden will look great right up to the first frosts.
The growth rate of some of the exotics has been incredible in just one season. It's hard to believe that this area of the garden has been planted up for less than 6 months! This final photo shows the area at the time of planting in May. Now, during mid September, it is a struggle to see any soil at all!