Saturday, July 20, 2013


The book Tropicalismo! by Pam Baggett had been lost in my bookshelves for months. It's a small paperback book and got shoved in between two garden notebooks. Summer came and I could not find it.

Miss Baggett calls Brugmansia  'Queen of Flowering Tropicals.'

In the book, she took 100 Plants that she thinks are the best tropicals for a sizzling garden. 
'Ellen Bosanquet '  Crinum made the cut, as did the Canna below.

Bengal Tiger Canna. Blooms are orange.

Photos in this post are my own.

In the book, she makes suggestions for plant combos for each entry.

Lemon Grass with Madagascar Periwinkle

When Pam had Singing Springs nursery, she made even more suggestions in her catalogs for grand combinations not included in the book. It was from Pam I learned about Lemon Grass in combos.


Pentas: she advocates the tall varieties like this pink one.

This is one of my favorite little books to read just before I go to sleep, to dream of Tropical Plant Delights not yet in my garden.

I have to admit, there are no banana trees in my garden. Some are hardy here, but like Palm trees, they look slightly out of place to me. Maybe if I had a swimming pool....

Plants from the Tropicalismo! book I'm considering, this year or next: 
  • Cupheas, the kinds with orange flowers.
  • Tibouchina, again. I killed the last one. 
  • Ricinus, I have seeds from the last I planted.
I ordered off and paid for this book when it first came out in 2008. I have not been asked to review it. My very favorite book on Tropical Plants, is The Exotic Garden by Iversen. I bought that one even longer ago. These two books, my own photos  and a notebook full of clippings are my go-to resources for the summer garden. 

I joined the fun gardeners at Holley Garden's Roses and Other Gardening Joys who are reviewing books. 


  1. Thanks so much for the info about both books. I'm going to see if they have them at my library, and if not, I might buy them on Amazon. I'm planning a Tropicalismo look for my front garden for next year (it's mostly grass right now, which needs to go).

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  3. I love your sentence about reading this book before going to sleep, and dreaming of tropical gardens. Inspirational books like that are hard to find, and precious when we do find them. I don't grow a lot of tropicals, because occasionally we get a very cold winter. But I have added crinums to my garden, and of course, cannas, and am considering adding some brugmansias. I think I'd like this little book! The Exotic Garden sounds good, too. Thanks so much for joining in!

  4. Many of my favorite plants are tropicals, with brugmansias at the top of my list. I love the fragrance, and they seem to add a cooling presence to the garden.
    Your pink one reminds me of my 'Frosty Pink'. I enjoyed seeing the photos of your tropicals as well as reading your review!

  5. I have banana trees, by a pool...they are lovely but don't look that great in winter. I take it these tropicals are hardy, annuals or greenhoused?

  6. Most of the plants in the book are hardy in zones 9-10, a few like cannas and certain crinums are hardy to zone 7. Some that I grow are only root-hardy here, dying to the ground come frost but reliable to return in spring.I usually save seed or take cuttings as insurance against a really cold winter.

    The book's author listed no true annuals. Many of the plants like the 7 named Coleus cultivars she listed need greenhouse shelter for winter, too expensive to just toss, in my opinion.

  7. Love tropicalismo plants but didn't know about the book Tropicalismo! Thanks!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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