Create a Tropical Garden Entrance

Create a garden entrance that radiates with tropical heat

Credit: Andrea Sirois

Big, bountiful foliage and splashes of intense, bright colour bring the tropics to your garden

Bold pops of colour and foliage bring a touch of the tropics to B.C.’s coastal climate

Start this eye-catching style at the sidewalk with colourful begonias (1) in saturated hues of orange and red. Alongside these vivid annuals, set sea-green rosettes of Aeonium (2). On guard, flamboyant variegated canna lilies welcome visitors (3). Their stature, capped with brilliant-orange blossoms, is guaranteed to grab attention.

Provide a transition zone to the home with more traditional plantings, such as true dwarf boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’, 4). Clipped into a square, these repeat the formality of the stone wall and denote entry to the enclosed front garden.

Large hostas (5) are massed in front of the home’s foundation. Perfectly hardy in our climate, their dramatic leaves repeat those streetside. They are underplanted with an assortment of shade-loving annuals, including begonias and impatiens.

Tropical plantings satisfy our yearning for exotic summer colour. The cannas and begonias produce bulb-like structures that can be dug up after the frost and overwintered in a box of wood chips in a cool, frost-free place like the garage. The Aeonium could be overwintered in a greenhouse or re-purchased seasonally. This plant combination creates a striking front entrance sure to catch the eye of every passerby.

Plant by Numbers:

  1. Tuberous begonia
  2. Aeonium
  3. Canna lily
  4. Dwarf boxwood
  5. Hosta

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.