Tropical Planting gives us happy vibes and our Palm House hits that right amount of dopamine levels to lift our spirits and get us through the coldest of weeks. So what makes it so special ? We dreamt up our Palm House, well actually Ian dreamt up the Palm House after we were working on the design of a new garden in one of our favourite hotel locations The Galgorm Resort & Spa. We designed the gardens together, it was actually the third garden we had designed and built in the resort over a number of years but this one was special.
The brief was that the previous garden and Spa was too successful and the spa was getting too busy so they wanted to add an additional garden that was quieter, away from the river but still had enough things to draw their guests. They wanted relaxation, a sanctuary but also a wow and that had to come from the garden design. They wanted a drinks area, its important to all their guests so we designed added a Palm House to the design, it fairness the Galgorm owners had already seen a couple of options so that was easy, all we had to do was add it to the plan and spec the kind of plants and planters that were to go into it along with some of the practicalities of the build but in terms of the design they already had that. What they actually came up with was something amazing and probably, if we are honest, we would not have added something quite as grand or as beautiful. It was stunning and during the garden build Ian came back and on a Palm sourcing day around the nursery decided they all need to be in one place and that we should build a new feature on the nursery – The Palm House.
So we sourced a higher than usual structure that was perfect for the conditions that the Palms and tropical style planting needed, most people think its because they are tender and on the contrary almost all the Palms we sell on the nursery are hardy and can be planted all over Ireland and the UK but there are spots in the country that would be too windy or too wet for some of the plants but we can definitely find a palm or tropical for most places in the country. What the Palm House does give us is a place, a home for all our most beautiful tropicals all in one place. It protects them from winds, in horticultural pots some plants can blow over and some of the Palms can be a little more susceptible to this as they can act like sails, don’t worry in your garden when they’re planted they don’t do that. Its a magical space that all we need is a Tiki bar and a couple of Daiquiris to really get in that totally tropical space. (Sorry for now cappuccino is all we can offer!)
So how do you create that tropical feel to your garden without it feeling, less than authentic. I’m a sucker for an Australian looking garden but lots of the plants only work here as indoor plants so use plants that do work here and add foliage, colour and palms and tropicals that do. I love tree ferns and these start to give a feeling of the tropics, add fatsias and some ground cover like Ajuga or Alchemilla mollis and you’re starting to bring it together, add some of your favourite palms. My personal favourites are the Jelly Palm (Butia Capitata), the silver grey foliage of the Chamaerops humilis cerifera or the texture of the Chamaerops excelsa also called Trachycarpus fortunei, don’t skimp on sizes of these, they will form the features in the garden.
Then start adding substance to the plan, I like to use cannas and phormiums both add bulk and colour especially when planted in numbers, plant in swathes rather than blocks. Don’t forget bamboos too, they create sound as well as height and add to the feel. If you see any other foliage plants that you like don’t be afraid to use them, I often use hostas and alongside the others they are great.
Add soft texture to the pallet, like the timber path above and also consider water features, the noise adds that feeling that you’re looking for and lastly add some relaxed seating to enjoy the vista.
Take a look at our Selection of Tropical plants and hardy palms here.
If you don’t know where to start still then we have plenty of options to find what you are looking for, our fully trained team are always happy to answer your questions and can put together a planting plan for you, just email email@example.com or call 045 879170 and we’ll happily help. Come down to the nursery and we can show you some options too and give you the tour of the Palm house and the plants. Still need more help then our designers would be happy to assist you with your garden. You can book your design consultation here and our build team can turn that design into your own special oasis.