Cover image for The exotic garden : designing with tropical plants in almost any climate
The exotic garden : designing with tropical plants in almost any climate
Iversen, Richard R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Newtown, CT : Taunton Press : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [1999]

Physical Description:
169 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB473 .I94 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
SB473 .I94 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The idea of mixing tropical plants with perennials and hardy annuals has been around since Victorian times. It is now enjoying a newfound popularity because tropical plants are more widely available. Gardeners who want to bring the lush beauty of tropicals to an existing garden, or who want to create an authentic vintage garden, will delight in TheExotic Garden. Although tropicals are novelties in temperate climates, they can successfully be grown anywhere. Iversen shows how tropicals can easily be used as annuals to perk up a garden with color during non-blooming seasons. The author's expert advice shows how to grow tropicals in beds, borders, and containers, select and combine plants, and use the tools of color, texture, and form. Plus, there are special overwintering tips and a full color glossary of more than 100 plants.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Iversen, a professor of ornamental horticulture, posits that tropical plants can be grown outdoors in climates other than the tropics. This can be anyplace where the night temperature will rise above 55 degrees during some part of the year. Iversen explains how to design, install, and maintain these gardens, where to position them, what size and shape they should be, and how to prepare the soil. He suggests which plants are best planted together and discusses methods of overwintering them for next year's garden. There are chapters on creating tropical borders and beds and on growing the plants in a variety of containers. There are detailed instructions on planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding, pruning, and propagation. All this adds up to "creating your own piece of paradise," he says. There is a glossary of 100 tropical plants suitable for temperate climates and 234 color photographs. --George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Aimed at gardeners who, horticulture writer Iversen believes, "crave something new and different" but still "focus on times past," this book reprises the Victorian passion for banana trees, elephant ears and a host of other cold-defying tropical plants. And who better to guide temperate gardeners in tropical matters than a Caribbean transplant? A longtime horticulturist in Barbados, Iversen now resides and gardens on Long Island, where he insists tropicals are "as easy to plant and grow outdoor as a tomato or zucchini." When the author thinks tropical, he thinks fast, flamboyant and fabulous foliage. Most plants mature by midsummer to become autumn showstoppers, and garden design emphasizes foliage and texture over color. Favoring a totally tropical setting, the author spotlights the popular 19th-century lawn beds and garden enclosures, mentioning little about mixing tropicals with traditional American/English perennial, shrub and annual borders. Although gardeners may be awestruck by the "absurd scale" of plants that "defy our prim garden conventions," a chapter on container gardening shows how space need not constrain the dramatic effect of tropical plantings. In smart, spirited prose that suits his subject, Iversen may convince even skeptics that "you don't need a jungle to grow plants from the jungle." Included is a 100-plant glossary and 234 color photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Lush tropical foliage and exotic flowers may be a distant dream for most gardeners, but this new book proves otherwise. Iverson (horticulture, SUNY at Farmingdale) shows how anyone in practically any climate can have a luxuriant tropical garden in his or her own backyard by bringing houseplants outdoors for the summer. Iverson covers the basics, including how to design a garden using color, form, and texture; create tropical beds and borders; and prepare the ground for tropical plants. Although these plants rejuvenate with maximum benefits by being placed in the ground, gardeners with space limitations can sucessfully grow them in containers. Iverson provides tips on the right kind of container, soil requirements, fertilizing, and watering. Individual plants such as cannas, castor beans, and elephant's ears are covered in detail. While not as beautiful as William Warren's Tropical Plants for Home and Garden (Thames & Hudson, 1997), this book does win points for its clear writing and should be welcome in all gardening collections.√ĄPhillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.