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Bring the Tropics to Your Garden with Exotic Plants

Exploring the Wonders of Tropical Gardening in Ohio

You know, when I first heard about Jerry and Mary Lou Harrer’s tropical oasis in the heart of Ohio, I was absolutely captivated. I mean, the idea of lush banana trees, towering palms, and vibrant citrus fruits thriving in the Buckeye State just seemed too good to be true. But as soon as I stepped onto their property, I was utterly transported – it was like stepping into a little slice of the tropics, right here in the Midwest.

As the article describes, Jerry has always had a knack for growing things, and it’s clear that his passion for the exotic has led him to create something truly remarkable. From the moment you cross the patio and head towards the west side of the Harrer’s home, you’re surrounded by a symphony of oversized leaves, vibrant blooms, and the gentle sound of a shallow waterway.

But what really blew me away were the colocasia, or giant elephant ears, that seemed to tower over me. I mean, as the video demonstrates, these plants can grow to absolutely massive proportions, and the Harrers’ specimens were no exception. As I stood there, feeling like I was being “up to my ears in elephant ears,” I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer scale and beauty of these gentle giants.

Bringing the Tropics to Your Backyard

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But I live in Ohio! How on earth can I recreate this tropical oasis in my own garden?” Well, my friends, the Harrers have proven that with a little ingenuity and a lot of passion, the impossible can become reality.

The key, it seems, lies in creating the right microclimate and providing the necessary care for these tropical plants to thrive. As the video suggests, it’s all about understanding the specific needs of each plant and finding ways to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.

For example, the Harrers have constructed a shallow waterway and pond that not only adds to the serene ambiance of the garden but also helps to regulate the humidity levels – a critical factor for many tropical species. And when it comes time to transition these plants indoors for the winter, Jerry has a specially-designed storage building with cabled heating to ensure their safety.

But it’s not just about the physical environment – it’s also about the mindset. As the article mentions, Jerry may try to “make light of it,” but the truth is, caring for these tropical treasures takes an incredible amount of dedication and effort. Lifting and transporting these massive plants is no easy task, but the Harrers do it with a sense of pride and joy that is truly inspiring.

Selecting the Right Tropical Plants for Your Garden

Of course, not everyone has the same level of expertise or resources as the Harrers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a touch of the tropics to your own backyard. The key is to start small and focus on plants that are well-suited to your local climate.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Colocasia (Elephant Ears)

As we’ve already seen, colocasia are truly the stars of the show when it comes to tropical gardening in Ohio. These bold, impressive plants come in a range of colors and sizes, and they’re relatively easy to care for as long as you provide them with plenty of moisture and protection from frost.

Banana Trees

Banana trees are another tropical stunner that can thrive in the right conditions. While they may not produce edible fruit in cooler climates, they still make a beautiful statement with their large, paddle-shaped leaves and dramatic form.

Citrus Trees

Believe it or not, you can even grow citrus trees in Ohio, as long as you’re willing to provide them with some extra care and protection. From fragrant orange trees to tart lemon varieties, these fruiting plants can add a touch of the tropics to your garden.

Cannas

Cannas are another tropical-inspired plant that can add a pop of color to your garden. With their large, vibrant leaves and showy blooms, they can create a real sense of drama and excitement.

Of course, these are just a few examples, and the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to bringing the tropics to your backyard. The key is to do your research, choose plants that are well-suited to your climate, and be willing to put in the extra effort to ensure their success.

Creating a Tropical Oasis: Design Tips and Tricks

Now, once you’ve selected your tropical plants, the next step is to start thinking about how to integrate them into your garden design. After all, these larger-than-life specimens need a backdrop that does them justice.

One of the things that makes the Harrer’s garden so captivating is the way they’ve used water features to create a sense of tranquility and humidity. Whether it’s a shallow stream, a recirculating waterfall, or a serene pond, the addition of moving water can instantly transport you to a tropical paradise.

Another key element is the use of lush, layered planting. By surrounding your tropical plants with a variety of textures and colors, you can create a sense of depth and vitality that really brings the whole scene to life. Think about incorporating ferns, ornamental grasses, and other complementary foliage to create a truly immersive experience.

And don’t forget about the power of hardscaping! The team at Today’s Gardens can help you design and install features like stone pathways, decorative trellises, and even shaded pergolas to enhance the tropical ambiance and provide the perfect backdrop for your exotic plant collection.

Embracing the Unexpected: Challenges and Triumphs of Tropical Gardening

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Tropical gardening in Ohio? That’s got to be a major challenge!” And you’d be absolutely right. But as the Harrers have shown, with a little creativity and a lot of passion, the impossible can become reality.

One of the biggest hurdles, of course, is dealing with the harsh winters that our region is known for. As the article mentions, Jerry has to go to great lengths to ensure the safety of his beloved tropical plants, carefully transporting them to a specially-designed storage building and using cabled heating to keep them alive.

But it’s not just the cold that can pose a problem – it’s also the unpredictable weather patterns that can wreak havoc on these delicate specimens. As the article notes, the garden club’s visit to the Harrer’s property was nearly derailed by a sudden downpour, and I can only imagine the stress and scrambling that must have involved.

Yet, despite all the challenges, the Harrers persevere, driven by a deep love and appreciation for these exotic plants. And the payoff is nothing short of breathtaking. When you step into their garden, you’re transported to a world of wonder and serenity, where the troubles of the everyday fade away and you’re left marveling at the sheer power of nature.

Embracing the Unexpected: A Gardener’s Journey

You know, as I reflect on my visit to the Harrer’s tropical oasis, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe and inspiration. Here are these two ordinary people, living in the heart of Ohio, who have managed to create something truly extraordinary – a testament to the power of passion, creativity, and a willingness to embrace the unexpected.

Because let’s face it, gardening is never a straightforward endeavor, is it? There’s always something new to learn, some challenge to overcome, some surprise waiting just around the corner. And that’s what makes it so darn exciting!

So, whether you’re dreaming of towering palms and vibrant blooms or simply looking to add a touch of the tropics to your backyard, I encourage you to take a page out of the Harrer’s playbook. Dare to be different, be willing to put in the hard work, and above all, embrace the unexpected. Because who knows – your own little slice of tropical paradise might just be waiting to be discovered.

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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