Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dreaming of our tropical garden

When we purchased Casa de Las Lechuzas last February, the garden had been fully planted and was really beautiful. Lush, green, well-tended. Between February and July, when it was quite dry, even with an irrigation system the weather took its toll on many of the plants. Alan and I were there in May and the plants, especially the variegated croton, were scorched and lifeless. The vine that had been planted to cover the walls was dry and had stopped spreading. The leaves of our tall banana tree were brown on the tips and had been shredded by the wind. The ginger plants along the wall beside the pool fared better and had to be trimmed because the lower leaves were almost in the pool. It's nice to swim under them in the middle of the day because they provide shade on one side of the pool and also help to keep the water cool.

When I returned in July, the rains had begun again and everything looked better, with the exception of the crotons growing in full sun. The hymenocallis were blooming and are really quite striking. The vine has almost covered the entire wall and is thick and green. The palm beside the fountain had grown a couple of feet, but the lower fronds make it difficult for workmen to get to the pump and well.

Hymenocallis (native to Mexico)
We are already thinking of changes we want to make. We will probably need to consult someone (?) who has experience in what does well in our climate and what to avoid. Maybe something like this. (see photos 17-29).We want to avoid adding any chemical fertilizers which drain through the limestone into the water table. Do we make our own compost or is there good compost available for purchase? We want lots of dark green foliage, but some color as well. We only have so much space for planting. Which plants, shrubs, palms do well in large containers? The walls covered in green look really nice, but does this cause problems? We've already noticed some crumbling plaster on an area of the wall that is not covered.

Lots of questions. And dreams of a beautiful, lush, tropical garden with sweet scents to enjoy in the cool evening breezes.


  1. Post your query on Facebook! I notice lots of our new neighbors get good leads that way. I like the idea of emphasizing dark foliage. Most courtyards seem to use plants to soften all the hard surfaces, but they don't go overboard trying to create a jungle paradise.

  2. Great idea Lee. I'm sure some of the Amigo group members have good sources.

  3. breathtaking! Tropical beauty at its best!