All the experts say you should plant in odd numbers or symmetrical pairs.
So I decided on groupings of three, single specimen plants, but most of all, paired, symmetrical plantings because that’s what I like best.
I also like hedging.
The experts also say that you shouldn’t have too many different plants.
I decided to ignore that.
Instead, I bought all the plants I liked, and used repetition of select plants to unify the beds.
I chose ruellia hedging, golden cane palms, daylilies, and cordylines as my repeat plants – one or more of these is in every bed.
Having decided on the plants, I drew their positions onto my drawings of the beds.
I looked at the drawings for a couple of weeks, changing things around until I was happy. Much easier to do with a pencil and rubber than with that monster hoe thing.
I had to think about what each bed would look like at both ground level, and from our 1st floor balcony. And how they would look as you walked around them.
I also had to imagine the plants in flower and how the colours would all look together.
You need a good imagination when you’re looking at weed-infested grass.
Finally, I had to guess at how big and how quickly the plants would grow, and leave enough space for them to grow into.
I’ve spent so much time imagining what the garden would look like when it grew, that sometimes when I look at it I see thick hedges, and tall palms waving in the wind.
I’m quickly brought back to earth when the only comment our visitors make is, “At least it looks better without all those bananas”.
Still a long way to go!
There are many plants I’m not familiar with, and information on the internet doesn’t tend to be written by people living on tropical islands.
Things I’ve planted back in Perth turn into giant mutant versions of themselves here.
These dracaenas were planted less than two years ago:
And this is them now:
This was the frangipani tree when it was first transplanted three years ago:
Anyway, I decided less is best – even if some things don’t grow as big or as fast as I’m allowing for, or don’t spread as quickly (eg daylilies), I can always buy fill-in plants. Easier than digging stuff up.
And if they get too big, I can always take a leaf out of my ex-gardener’s book and take a machete to them.
Take that you mutant giant!