Tag Archives: Brugmansia

My tropical garden

A tropical garden in Port Townsend, Washington

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Fabulous Florals.’ See more responses here. For this, I’m taking a short jaunt off the island to revisit the first tropical garden I planted. That was in Washington State. Now, I’m aware that Washington State isn’t in the tropics, but I like a challenge.

My goal was to create a garden of hardy tropical-looking plants, with colorful flowers and/or big, bountiful foliage. The first summer, I laid the foundations with three Windmill Palms and a wall of bamboo alongside one fence. Colorful canna lillies and big foliage gave an inkling of what was to come.

The second summer was when the garden took off. Ground covers spread. Vines took off. Pots provided focal points.

And of course, there were those fabulous florals.

One corner of the garden featured a Dicksonia Antarctica tree fern, which was soon joined by a Dicentra Scandens-Golden tears vine, Eccremocarpus scaber – Chilean glory vine, and a Clematis Armandii. There’s less than a month between the second and third photos in the gallery below, and the following summer the area was rampant with color and growth.

But it is Washington State and there are winters and in the winter it can snow. The palms and bamboo bent low under the weight of the snow, but they survived. The tiki torch looked distinctly unhappy with the weather, possibly jealous of those lucky plants that were moved indoors for the winter.

Brugmansia

A brugmansia grows beside the Kohala DitchA brugmansia flower
I grew a brugmansia at my old garden in Washington State. During the course of a summer, it grew to two or three feet high and bloomed. As I expected, the first serious dip in temperature reduced it to a sorry wilted remnant.

Here on the Big Island, such temperature dips aren’t a worry, so a brugmansia will grow to a very large shrub and carry its blooms a good while. This splendid specimen is growing next to the Kohala Ditch in North Kohala. The ditch was used to bring water from the Kohala Mountains to the sugar plantations. These days the water is mostly used for agricultural irrigation.

For more information about the history of the Kohala Ditch, go to fluminkohala.com/the-kohala-ditch.