Gardening, Gardening in the tropics

A Garden Should Welcome a Soul


When we’re not exploring the mountains, we enjoy spending time in our garden. As you can see, it’s a very different environment than our property in Montana. We’ve chosen to fill our tropical garden with colorful plants and flowers that offer privacy and beautiful views. Layering native plants provides cover, berries and seeds for butterflies, birds and bees. Having a tall backdrop with medium and lower plants in front is very pleasing to the eye. We were excited to see the colorful Painted Buntings return this week, which means cooler temperatures and more time spent in our garden.

Our garden and others like it, provide habitat for critters that fly, crawl and hop. Songbirds share the sky with hawks looking for pigeons. Possums, frogs and snakes eat mosquitoes and bugs. Butterflies and bees visit flowers and pollinate the garden. Adding native plants to our garden greatly increased the number of birds and butterflies that visit. Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s website to learn how to bring more wildlife into your garden:

We grow lettuce, peas and tomatoes in our small vegetable garden during fall and winter. It blends into our existing landscape, so having it in the front yard is OK for our community. We picked a sunny spot and built raised beds that can be amended with compost and fresh soil each year. Jim installed an automatic dripper and fertilizer system to make things easy. During summer, we replace the veggies with flowering annuals for pops of color.

Our Zone 10 garden is a year round paradise full of flowers!  It features unique spots that draw you in for a closer look. Yesterday, I found a pretty purple orchid that was hiding on the backside of one of our palm trees. Bamboo, trees and shrubs provide perches for birds and privacy for us. When the weather turns cooler, we enjoy sitting outside to enjoy birdsong and a trickling fountain.

Shady seating!

A peek behind the scenes includes a potting bench, rain barrels and a garden shed. We keep the dirt outside by potting and transplanting plants on the bench. Rain barrels and dripper system provide water for potted plants. The shed provides space for household/garden tools, as well as bikes and hurricane shutters. A well and automatic sprinkles keep everything looking green and lush.

Our shed and potting bench is on the right behind the bamboo.

We’ve put in a lot of hard work over the past 17 years, but we’ve also had fun and learned plenty. We prefer to cover the landscape in plants instead of grass or mulch. Less room for weeds and we don’t have to use pesticides. If a plant can’t make it without pesticide, we pull out and replace it with a native. That’s artificial turf you see in the above picture. No lawn mowing for Jimmy!

I hope you’ve enjoyed touring our garden. Please let me know if you have questions on any of the plants you’ve seen in this post. Although we are not experts, we are happy to help. One day soon, we’ll be creating a new garden in Montana. We’ve already picked up a couple of Montana garden books, visited local nurseries and pinned tons of content to Pinterest. You can find more information about both Zone 10 and 4 gardening on my Pinterest site: and Be sure to subscribe below for additional gardening tips for the tropics and gardening in the mountains.

Fountain garden

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