Elements of an Exotic Garden III

100_7944 (2) (387x400)Leonitis leonurus – Lion’s Ear is a hard to find tender perennial which is native to South Africa. Starting in late summer it produces tiers (somewhat like Phlomis) of tubular sherbert orange flowers that can continue into winter in warmer regions. In coastal BC it should be overwintered in a cool greenhouse. Attracts butterflies. Grows 36″ high by 18″ wide. Hardy to zone 8.

musa (300x297)Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (syn. Musa ensete, Ensete maurelii) – The Red Abyssinian Banana is primarily grown as a houseplant or temporary outdoor accent in exotic gardens. They do not produce offsets like Musa basjoo and after being overwintered indoors for 3-5 years it will flower, set fruit (inedible) and die. Grows 8-10′ high by 6-8′ wide. Zone 10.

erio2 (292x300)Grevillea victoriae – The Royal Grevillea (which has many cultivars and subspecies) is the hardiest of this family and is native to Australia. It is an evergreen shrub with simple leathery green leaves (silvery reverse) and clusters of reddish-orange blooms starting in late winter and flowering through spring. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows 6-8′ high by 10′ wide. Hardy to zone 7-8.

001 (291x300)Dicksonia antarctica – The most common of the Tree Ferns found in coastal BC, it still requires winter protection (fronds cut and stem insulated) if kept outdoors. Most gardeners grow them in large containers and bring them in for winter. Tasmanian Tree Ferns eventually develop a thick trunk-like rhizome covered in brown fibrous roots. AGM. Grows 8 to 12′ high. Zone 9.

rincinus (296x300)Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’  – Red Castor Bean is a striking annual feature (grown from seed) with bronze-red Fatsia-like foliage and bright red flowers. The seeds can be difficult to find because they have been used as a source of Ricin or nerve gas. All parts of this plant are poisonous, so be careful with children. Award of Garden Merit. Grows 4-5′ high by 2-3′ wide. Zone 9.

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