I've been updating my blog with photos from my parent's yard in NY: http://tropicalsinzone7.blogspot.com/
Everything is hanging in up there, but they definitely need some heat to get growing. I won't be visiting again until mid summer so I probably will not post an update from there until that time.
But here's how things are looking in my zone 8b yard in Florida.
We're finally getting some rain in Florida (a lot of rain the past few days) which is helping tremendously with the yard. All the plants are growing faster than I've ever seen them grow in NYC. My bananas and alocasia are putting out a new leaf at least once a week and adding a ton of height with each leaf. The plumerias are all fully leafed out and the ginger are as tall as they'd be in August in my yard in NYC.
Here are a few before and afters.
Everything came together pretty well in this corner. My copenicia alba (the bluish palm) has not grown much but hopefully it starts picking up speed soon.
I got a pygmy palm to replace my cordyline that rotted away. I've seen some nice cordys here, but I have not seen a lot of pygmy palms so we'll see what happens!
The growth here has been dramatic in the past 2 and a half months.
LATE MAY 2017
The Alocasia Portadora came from my yard in NY. It's never grown this fast. The ginger also came from my yard in NYC.
I do need to think of some more evergreens for this spot because when these plants get hit by frost, this section of the yard will look a bit bare. The goal is to not see the AC!
My Papaya is starting to flower already. It's supposed to be a male and female so I should get some fruit developing in a few weeks! The ice cream banana and red banana are both putting out a ton of height.
I underplanted the bananas in this part of the yard with some variegated shell ginger, confederate rose hibiscus, pagoda plant (Clerodendrum), Kahili Ginger, Philodendron Xandu, and moses-in-a-basket.
The front yard went from dying green shrubs to a more tropical scene. I got really lucky to find a large Queen Emma Crinum and a nice sized mule palm. I wanted both in my front yard but was worried that they'd be a tough find. The previous owner had some Hawaiian Ti Plants. They were frost damaged but are coming back well now!
Everything's growing really well. I decided to try out 2 different types of tibochinas. They will look really cool when they are in bloom (and hopefully survive the winter!) I think agapanthus are really cool and figured they'd be worth a spot.
Birds of paradise are marginally hardy here, but I've seen a few very nice ones around town so hopefully mine will be happy in it's protected corner.
I've always wanted a cardboard palm! They are also marginal here so we'll see what happens! They are much faster growing than I expected so even if they suffer foliage burn during the winter, they should be able to recover.
More front yard pics
Hanging orchids from the crape myrtle.
This livistona I planted will outgrow its spot one day.
My front yard is loaded with lizards
This planter will look good year round here. Tree ivy is surprisingly ornamental!
The Tahitan Gardenias have been blooming since March. I am really happy with them!
My neighbors told me geraniums never survive the long summers here in their yard. Mine's variegated so it'll be especially challenging. It's happy right now though!
And a few more from the backyard
My new heliconia with my tree fern.
Heliconia, orchids, and fern fronds
Camellia season might not be over yet for my Kramer's Supreme
Desert Rose and Allamanda/Dipladenia season is just getting started!
In New York my Alocasia would always bloom and not grow many new leaves in spring. Down here it's a prolific bloomer and manages to still grow a ton of huge leaves.
I really like this tropical hibiscus. The squirrels ate every bud off of it in March and it's just starting to bloom again now.
And I'll end it with a few of my zone pushing trials. Right against the house I have a birds of paradise, pothos, and schefflera. Right now the pothos is a ground cover, but I'd like it to climb up the siding. There's a mexican restaurant in town that has a huge pothos vine growing along it, so there's hope!
Thanks for looking. Sorry for the long post!