I’m generally not a big-leaved tropicals person. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that I like to see them rather than grow them.
As a city dweller, I’ve never had much garden space available to me. And, well, big-leaved plants are terribly GIGANTIC. They are also tropical, which means they need a warm and humid place to overwinter indoors. My living spaces are small and dry. As a result, I’ve simply opted out of growing these plants. I oooh and awe at them while visiting greenhouses or tropical locals, but I’ve always managed to keep a mental distance from them. These are plants for looking and looking only.
And then I went to Thailand.
From the glittery, tiled temples to the lush, statuesque plants, everything in Thailand is BIG and FABULOUS. Even in a congested metropolis like Bangkok, the Thai people still manage to find the space to go big. Now there is no excuse left and I want to go big, too.
Derek of Plantgasm was also in Thailand with us, and I can’t deny that his enthusiasm for big-leaved tropicals also played a role. I find it impossible not to be infected by another gardener’s plant love.
I came back from Thailand to a new garden space. It’s still in the urban centre and therefore not BIG, but compared to what I’ve had to work with in the past, it’s practically a Versailles. A new garden means there are lots of choices to make, especially in the plant material department. Thailand’s influence is certainly rubbing off. Just the other day I impulse-bought a black-leaved Elephant Ear (Alocasia plumbea ‘Nigra’). Between the enthusiastic enabling of a friend, and a 25% off late season discount, I couldn’t refuse. And just like that I have committed myself to a plant with the largest height to girth ratio I have ever grown. The plan is to set it in a pot somewhere in the yard. Exciting!
I haven’t even got it into soil and I’m already considering another large leaved tropical. Don’t you think the coppery red leaves of this spectacular, ornamental banana (‘Siam Ruby’) would pair nicely with the black-leaved Alocasia?
What have I become?