And it’s easy to understand why: overcrowded airports, canceled flights, and maxed-out credit cards can add more stress than pleasure to a vacation.
Achieving the serene atmosphere of your favorite resort is simple:
- select the ideal plants to cultivate a lush and inviting tropical atmosphere
- incorporate a water feature
- enhance the ambiance with carefully-chosen lighting
- position a cozy lounge chair or hammock for leisurely sunbathing and napping
- indulge in a refreshing snack and drink fashioned from homegrown ingredients
Enjoy the Soothing Sound of Water
You’ll love the vacation vibes of trickling water, while local wildlife will appreciate a place to visit for a sip or splash to cool off. If you love bird watching, get your camera ready—you’ll capture great images of birds bathing in your new water feature.
Place small rocks to vary the pond depth. Make a shallow area on one side for bees and butterflies to rest for a drink. Add aquatic plants, like a dwarf water lily, water hyacinth, corkscrew rush, or pitcher plants, to the mini-pond.
If you decide to skip the filter or aerator, it’s important to make sure that at least 60 percent of the container is filled with aquatic plants to promote a healthy pond environment.
Create Lush, Multi-layered Plantings
It might seem daunting to recreate a tropical garden in your backyard, but you’ll find dozens of plants to give your outdoor space a vibrant, exotic flavor.
And, if you garden in cooler climates and think tender tropical plants won’t work in your zone, consider planting them in pots that can be moved indoors for winter protection. You might be surprised, too, to find some plants with stunning foliage and flowers are hardier than they look.
Plants to include:
Take, for instance, Rose Mallow ‘Edge of Night’. This compact perennial with huge, 7-to-8-inch bubblegum pink blooms and jet-black foliage is hardy to zone 4. The stunning flowers add a perfect tropical look for gardens in both warm and cool zones.
South Pacific Orange Canna adds brightness to garden spaces, with beautiful orange blooms that sparkle against lush, green foliage. This compact plant reaches 2 feet tall, making a great addition to containers, as well as the landscape.
Plus, this beauty not only blooms early and continues all summer long, but it’s also drought-tolerant once established. Hardy to zone 8a.
Most gardeners in cooler zones grow them as annuals. But you can plant them in containers, bring them inside to overwinter and place them back outside after the danger of frost has passed in the spring.
For a traditional tall vine that looks fabulous climbing a fence, trellis, or arbor, try Mandevilla Sunvilla™. The vine sports rich, red blooms with a yellow throat and dark green, glossy foliage. The slow-to-fade flowers keep the garden looking fabulous all summer.
Other new introductions offer bushier, more compact plants ideal for containers and small space gardens. These varieties include Mandevilla Madinia® Elegant Velvet Red and Madinia® Maximo Scarlet. Both plants grow only 12 to 18 inches tall with minimal vining. These varieties provide a bushier habit with excellent disease resistance and drought tolerance for fabulous flowering all summer.
For a bright burst of color, plant Mandevilla Sun Parasol® Original Sunbeam. Sunbeam sports buttery yellow blooms with darker throats. Growing 18 to 24 inches tall, it’s the perfect addition to containers or hanging baskets.
This tender vine makes a gorgeous addition to arbors, fences, and tall trellises—wherever you’d love soaring color and texture. Try Bougainvillea Burgundy Queen®–the colorful climber with dark burgundy leaves emerging with each new flush of growth.
Some varieties grow quite large, but if you garden in a smaller space or want a variety to plant in a container, try Lantana Hot Blooded™ Red. A mounding form reaching only 15 to 18 inches tall, you’ll love the deep red, sterile blooms that cover the plant all season long—and so will the hummingbirds!
The plants will flower nonstop from spring through autumn. These begonias can tolerate sun or shade but are happiest with bright morning light and a bit of afternoon shade.
Relax in a Hammock
Add Ambiance with Lights
Sip a Festive Beverage from Homegrown Goodies
The Staycation Celebration
- 1 oz. Chilled Limoncello
- 2 oz. Chilled Lemonade
- 3 oz. Chilled Prosecco
- Several sprigs of Lemon Balm for garnish
4 Simple Steps:
- Pour limoncello into glass.
- Add lemonade and stir.
- Pour chilled prosecco into glass.
- Top cocktail with sprigs of lemon balm from the garden, add a paper umbrella, and enjoy!
Take a break from day-to-day stress and indulge in leisurely activities like playing games, reading books, or relaxing in your own tropical staycation oasis. You’ll emerge feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a well-deserved staycation.
Founded more than 100 years ago, the National Garden Bureau educates, inspires, and motivates people to grow home gardens. National Garden Bureau members are horticultural experts, and the information shared with you comes directly from these experts to ensure your gardening success.
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