Poesie and Accent

Interior decorating inspiration, interior design & outdoor design & makeovers
Garden makeover

How to turn your garden into an exotic paradise

You might have noticed on my Instagram account that I’m not only a keen decorator but also a gardener, too. I love a well structured garden with selected ornamental plants. I have not decorated my current garden from scratch but transformed it to my taste, undertook a makeover comprising transforming an old existing fish pond into a modern lounge area and added some interest to the garden with help of some exotic plants.

Last year end of August I hit the garden centre sale and came back with some very tall bamboo plants at half price (aureosulcata and bisetti). I planned to use them for screening purposes and positioned them close to the neighbour’s fence. They are winter hardy and grow very fast. I’ve put them actually in log baskets (those storage baskets which are normally used for wood). This gives a nice rustic look and allows them to have plenty of room to grow but at the same time keeps them contained.  Bamboo is known to be very invasive.

I have also purchased stunning grey bowl planters in last winter’s sale and placed them on top of our modern lounge area. Some are filled with bamboo and others with aloe vera. But please read on, aloe vera did just ok this summer in my garden but would obviously better be kept indoors.

Whilst bamboo can be left outdoors over winter, I will be taking the aloe vera plants back inside in a few week’s time and then return them back outdoors next April/May. They were tolerating the British summer this year but could have been looking greener. I might next year replacing them with a very long thin, tall growing reed – equisetum hyemale which is a very old, stylish looking grass.

There are various types of bamboo and I have a few different types in my garden. A very lush green bamboo is this fountain bamboo grown in modern white planters.


This giant reed is very well known in France. I use it to hide our bins. It spreads very quickly and is therefore contained in a rectangular modern planter. By next year it will have grown more so that it covers the whole area.

If you are after a tropical looking palm, Trachycarpus fortunei are a good choice for our climate. I purchased two miniature Chusan palm trees (Trachycarpus Wagnerianus) for the front of our property and love the look.

If you stepped into my garden, you would realise that banana trees are my favourite exotic plants. Last year I learned the hard way.  I bought the wrong type which died in the frost. This year my garden is well equipped with various banana trees of the type musa basjoo, a winter hardy type which is supposed to survive our winters with some frost protection. I bought them as very small plants in March and they are now in August almost overgrowing the neighbour’s fence. They also produce offsets. Yay, I am so pleased. They are truly stunning plants.

Even ladybirds find them attractive.  Last but not least, a wonderful addition to my or any garden is certainly the fern palm tree Dicksonia Antarctica. Again, I was brave and bought it in the winter sale. A week after my purchase it stood in my garden covered in snow. After a day or so, I moved it in the garage.  It survived and is apparently very hardy.  This year I’ll look into some frost protection since I won’t be able to move this huge tree anymore from where it is now – in the centre of our garden as focal point.

This is by the way a simple steel pool, surrounded with bamboo fencing.

I hope you found this article useful and inspirational. Now it’s time to tuck into our barbecued paella. Sometimes it feels like being on holiday.

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