I’ve always been a huge fan of exotic plants, although I was not even aware of that. But imagining the perfect place on Earth was for me the one with warm clime, lots of sun, sea, and landscape full of palm trees. Luckily I live in a beautiful part of the Mediterranean, close to the sea.
I experienced that the sunshine and the sea are a perfect remedy for all ailments. Nature, the sun, and the sea are some of the best to enrichment your body and soul.
At the beginning:
My garden is located in a small village, the central Adriatic Sea, zone 9a. So I use to plant all that is “hardy to zone 9a” and can tolerate a minimum temperature of −7 °C (19 °F). It has a beautiful view of the surrounding islands, and one island is very close and it’s easy to swim there. My garden stretches over some 1800 square meters. I have a small house, warehouse, and draw well that is the only source of water. There is no electricity, only solar. For a start, it was necessary to rid space of vegetation that was muffled.
The idea of the exotic garden began with just tropical plants that couldn’t survive in my area without protection. The location is near the sea and sunny all year round, I have dry and hot summers, relatively pleasant winters with sufficient rainfall. The temperature rarely falls below zero, but winter sometimes can be surprisingly cold, so round it’s measured some -6 Celsius (23- 21.2 Fahrenheit). Such colds occur every few years and last for a very short time, but they can be devastating.
My first huge mistake is that I started to plant palm trees that are either not for my hardy zone or they were on the verge of survival in the same. Plants that I planted were, for example, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, Archontophoenix alexandrae , Ravenea rivularis, Phoenix roebelenii, etc. So I lost them all! Between lost palm there were: Phoenix dactylifera, Livistona australis, Livistona chinensis, Syagrus romanzoffiana (Queen palm), Parajubaea torallyi. With some that can survive in my area like Syagrus, Parajubaea and Dactylifera, I will definitely try again. Many of the plants were planted optimistic, but after the winter, frost and wind…I had to extract them and plant new plants. And so I finally wised up! I decided not to plant plants that are for a warmer zone of mine because I do not live there (1 hour from my home) and I don’t have the conditions to protect the plants well during the winter. So I concentrated on the plants that I can grow easily in my area easily without protection.
The terrain is laid on two cascades and in the lower part, I saved the beautiful large gray rocks. The lower part is designed for cactus. Although this initial idea, below were also planted palm trees.
Some of the exotic plants that I successfully grow in my garden, including palm trees are Phoenix canariensis, Phoenix canariensis x Phoenix reclinata, Phoenix sylvestris, Chamaerops humilis, Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera, Chamaerops humilis var. vulcano, Washingtonia robusta, Brahea armata, Butia capitata, Cycas revoluta, Yucca elephantipes, Yucca rostrata, Yucca gloriosa, Yucca aloifolia, Dasylirion wheeleri, Echinocactus grusonii, Agave americana, Agave americana ‘marginata’, Lagerstroemia indica, Feijoa tree, Callistemon viminalis, Olea europaea (olive tree). I have also Mediterranean Citruses: Lemon, Clementine. Ficus carica (fig), Prunus domestica (plum), Malus Granny Smith (apple)…
Due to the appearance of Palmkiller-RPW (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), which eats palm trees and devastated the area around me, I decided to reduce the planting of palm trees, and further concentrate more on the cacti, yuccas, and exotic bushes and trees. A special inspiration I received when I visited an exotic garden in Monaco. The garden is a warmer zone of mine, but a lot of wonderful species can grow as well in my garden.