Dreaming of an Exotic Summer

Sun, May 26, 2013

Climate Change Gardening, Exotic, Plants

UK weather warming up at last with blue skies that have certainly lifted gardening spirits.

Wonderful sunny days make me dream of  architectural plants and  exotic horticultural delights.

Every night I float to  a beautiful exotic garden, the weather is glorious and the plants even more so. A handsome man wearing a colorful shirt guides me around a subtropical garden as I wallow in a horticultural cloud. Absurdly unusual plants nurtured to perfection with tantalisingly vigorous growth and ridiculously large leaves  surround me creating a sense of an exotic island.

Where am I ?

Will Giles beautiful Exotic Garden in the heart of Norwich.

This unique  oasis of calm in the centre of a busy city never fails to delight all the senses  by transporting you to the tropics as many of its plants  are more redolent of warmer latitudes, including an ever expanding collection of bromeliads.

Although the garden is only one acre in size, it appears much larger as it is located on a south facing slope that drops 70 feet from back to front, creating a very protected micro-climate with many meandering paths through magical areas.

The Exotic garden  is renowned for growing plants that supposedly should not survive on the East coast of England, but they do!

The garden is open in high summer  when I urge you to  visit and experience all its glory.


Around this time the garden becomes quite magical, full of hidden corners and riotous colour. The air is filled with the intoxicating scent of Jasmine, Brugmansia (Angels trumpets) and different varieties of Hedychiums and Alpinias. (Gingers). The ridiculously large leaved Elephants Ear, Colocasia esculenta, ‘Mammoth’ with luscious green leaves 2×3 feet in size on long stems. Towering bananas such as the purple Abyssinian banana Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, form massive canopies to walk under as do the root hardy banana Musa basjoo.

The Exotic Garden is my favourite place to visit every summer as it always makes me feel that gardening in the UK is really worth the effort. It has taken Will  over 25 years to craft this wonderful paradise –  truly a labour of love which gives so much pleasure to everyone who visits. His trademark tropical shirts are part of the eccentric charm of any visit as well as his enthusiasm and passion for the beauty he has created.

Unlike many other gardens, this haven of fantasy has been crafted by Will and voluntary helpers, on the smallest of budgets, using reclaimed materials where possible and a lot of hard work. This is a hands on creation, giving the Exotic Garden a very personal identity – that of a true artist at work.

Will  has written a lavish new book entitled ‘The Encyclopedia of Exotic Plants For Temperate Climates’. To purchase a copy, click here. He also hosts tours to exotic climates – for more information about up and coming tours click here.

Hope the weather improves and we all enjoy a much needed Exotic summer in the UK during 2013.

Read more about the Exotic Garden  Excellent article about the garden here


This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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