Magazine article Sunset

Tropical Cool

Magazine article Sunset

Tropical Cool

Article excerpt

Gardeners are going bananas over jungly plants. Here's how to bring the tropics to your garden

* When designer Ben Hammontree began planning this Seattle garden, he was merely trying to satisfy his client's desire to wake up a landscape. Like so many gardens in the Pacific Northwest, this one was dominated by finely textured conifers. Hammontree knew that plants with big, boldly shaped leaves could create dramatic contrasts. Then the jungle drums started pounding in his head. Why not design a tropical garden using hardy plants?

He assembled a collection of plants that looked as if a dinosaur might eat them for lunch. Then he arranged them in a 15- by 110-foot border so exotic that monkeys and mynah birds would look right at home. Lush container plantings on a deck surrounding the house continue the tropical theme.

Hammontree blazed the trail for a hybrid horticultural style that is sweeping the region-Northwest tropical. Here's how he brought the tropics to Puget Sound.

A designer's tips on achieving tropical style

Layer tbe foliage. …

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