A tropical plant collector’s garden

Behind the large wooden doorway in an immense wall that faces the street in a small town in Mexico, on the Pacific coast, is this plant-curated courtyard surrounded by small buildings of various colors and styles. Each little building is either a bedroom, office, art studio, guest room or bath. The kitchen is a pavilion.

Building colors are a great foil
for the tropical plant colors.

The owners were away, but we got a sneak peek at their spectacular garden (never leave your keys with a gregarious & gracious brother that is proud of your achievements in designing and gardening).

The owners are collectors of plants and have spent a few years developing this courtyard garden which is really the foyer/hallway/dining room for the complex. Even though this is a seaside town, there is no view of the ocean from here, though it’s only a five-mute walk away. With a garden like this and the sense of privacy the hacienda-style home provides, I’m not sure I’d miss the ocean view.

The colors of the buildings – red, blue, orange, yellow makes me want to paint each side of my house a different color. I have some of these same plants in my yard. Well, they’re houseplants in my zone that I slowly kill throughout the winter and drag outside for fresh air during the summer. But they don’t get to these gargantuan sizes.

I wish I had the space to design a compound of architecturally-interesting buildings, in challenging colors, and have to walk through my garden – complete with fountain and pool – every time I go from bedroom to bathroom, or office to kitchen. And I like the idea of having my 13-year-old daughter live in a separate building.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “A tropical plant collector’s garden

  1. I love your visits to Mexico! Thank you for sharing so many beautiful photos!


  2. Amazing! What's the red bamboo/palm looking plant?


  3. danger garden,I love my trips to Mexico too! It is 59 and overcast here in buffalo as I sit, working, watching my tan fade…MotSoAngry,I believe it's just called a red palm. A quick google search tells me it's a Sealing Wax Palm (Cyrtostachys renda). It's the only palm in the world with red stalks. See http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/sealing_wax_palm.htm


  4. Wow! Just stumbled upon your post and your photos of the gardens of Mexico are fabulous. I have many of these plants but they are indoors in planters-love the tropicals!


  5. As I lovingly baby my staghorn fern, I am so envious of those able to grow it outside year-round!Gorgeous photos and so timely as I plan a tropical plant garden for the summer.


  6. The pictures of the flowers are beautiful. I truly miss living in a warm climate. Thanks for sharing.


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