The New Exotic Bed

The new planting - 11th June 2019

Back in April of this year I created a new island bed out the front of our property to accommodate some of the many plants that have been languishing in pots around the garden. The idea for the new bed started to form last summer when I stood many of those pots on an area of paving that was a legacy from the previous owners. I was getting bored of the endless watering after work that came with the hot dry summer and I realised there had to be a better solution. I had initially thought that the front garden was too shady for my exotics, but they seemed to be doing OK and indeed drew several positive comments from friends and neighbours. As it turns out, during the summer at least, the bed does get a good amount of sun first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon.

My collection of pots - September 2018

With the soil having been hidden away under paving for many years I set about lifting and repositioning the slabs to create the edging to the new bed. I dug it over, removed the larger stones and added farmyard manure to improve the soil and help retain moisture. I also applied a dressing of blood, fish and bone and once planted up, finished it off with a mulch of my own garden compost.

The newly created bed - 13th April 2019

The plants were set out in their pots for a week before settling on the final layout and were planted on the late May Bank Holiday Monday. Since then I have tinkered with the scheme adding a few more plants here and there, giving me currently 22 different plants in the bed. Central to the design is a seed-grown Paulownia which I have pollarded at 60cm in the hope that I will get the huge leaves that such drastic pruning is supposed to encourage. About half the plants have been raised from seed with the remainder from cuttings or divisions. Somehow I feel an attachment to plants that I have grown myself, far more than ones that I have bought in.

Planting in progress - 27th May 2019

I’ve had several requests for details as to what I’ve planted, so here is the list as it currently stands. As I put it together I was surprised at just how many plants I’ve managed to squeeze into an area that is only 2.7m x 1.8m. I know there are too many plants and that over time I will need to edit the planting, but then that’s half the fun of gardening!


  • Amaranthus caudatus

  • Brugmansia versicolor

  • Canna ‘Russian Red’

  • Canna x ehemanii

  • Chamaerops humilis

  • Colocasia esculenta ‘Burgundy Stem’

  • Cyperus alternifolius

  • Cyphomandra corymbiflora

  • Dahlia imperialis

  • Dahlia merckii

  • Dierama pulcherrimum

  • Euphorbia mellifera

  • Gladiolus murielae

  • Musa sikkimensis

  • Paulownia tomentosa

  • Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’

  • Persicaria ‘Purple Fantasy’

  • Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’

  • Persicaria orientalis

  • Phormium tenax

  • Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple’

  • Solanum pyracanthum

4 comments Add yours
    1. Thanks. It’s only now, as I look back over the photos, that I realise just how much everything has grown in the past couple of weeks.

    1. Thanks. I’m sure there will be plenty of updates on Twitter and maybe even one or two more posts on here before the summer is through.


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