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The New Exotic Garden Paperback – July 28, 2006
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Tropical plantings are enjoying a renaissance with their instant, easy impact on gardens small and large. Originating in Victorian times when large-scale 'bedding' was in vogue, temporary plantings lost their appeal during the war years and it is only recently, thanks to the daring of gardeners such as Christopher Lloyd, that they have found their place in the popularity stakes again and become more readily available. This is a long overdue book from Will Giles whose garden has often been shown on television and written about in the horticultural press. A small town garden in the heart of Norwich, he has spent the last twenty years developing it, learning from it and finding that many so-called tropical plants are actually hardier than at first thought. His immense knowledge, shared so freely in this attractively produced book, is written in an entertainingly informative manner making this a pleasure to dip into time after time. Covering lush, forest-like plantings, Mediterranean style plantings and desert-scapes, he demonstrates the ease with which houseplants find themselves at home in the open air, albeit for a temporary break. Marantas, amaranthus and alocasias happily mix with bananas, palms, agaves and yuccas. The imposing ginger lilies with their autumnal sweetly-scented flowers and colourful cannas add colour at a higher level whilst hardy perennials such as euphorbias and hemerocallis add exoticism in their own quiet way. Succulents and cacti look happily at home too, sitting in pots on steps or planted in a sunny spot to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. This is a fascinating insight into what can now be grown in this country thanks to global-warming. Including details on propagation, planting and winter-care, this is an indispensable guide to these new garden plants whose popularity will hopefully last for a long time to come. - Lucy Watson
About the Author
A passionate gardener, Will Giles has been inspired by his many trips abroad to create a glorious exotic-style garden in East Anglia. Will's own garden has been featured on Channel 4's series Real Gardens, and he was asked to create a garden for BBC TV's Small Town Gardens; he also writes for several gardening magazines, and can be heard weekly giving advice on a whole range of gardening matters on BBC Radio Norfolk.