In historic Hillsborough, North Carolina, a passionate gardener pays homage to an old landscape while making it her own
The exotic foliage of Japanese bananas (Musa basjoo) that enclose this garden draws your eye through the lath house, which covers the Shade Garden, and beyond. “The Tropical Garden is a place for bold foliage and bright-colored flowers,” Nancy says. “We planted cannas, selecting them more for their foliage than for flowers. Poppies with brilliant flowers provide late-spring interest, and dahlias, phlox, and lion’s tails with flowers in shades of red, hot pink, and orange put on a brilliant show in summer.” She supplements the plantings with tender agaves (set in gravel or pots) and elephant’s ears (Alocasia and Colocasia) to get a tropical look.