I started this little garden at the edge of the yard last Fall as a place to hold plants given to me by friends. I think of it as my "friendship" garden, but it is quickly evolving into my "tropical" garden. There are red tiger lilies of some sort from my MIL's garden on the far left, voodoo lilies and elephant ears from another person's garden in the middle, cana lilies from Nate's house in the back of the bed and caladiums from Sam's Club (LOL - I guess Sam is a friend!).
The shrub on the far right is a Japanese Snowball that I ordered from Greenwood Nursery over two years ago, and I'm probably going to replace it with either a Japanese Maple, Sambucu's Black Lace (though not from Wayside Gardens since their plants are not of consistent quality), or a deep red grass (I saw one I liked at Home Depot, but it was $25, and I'm not betting $25 on a plant from Home Depot). Aside from that Japanese Snowball, the rest of the plants are tropical, so in keeping with this tropical theme, the shrub has got to go. (Also, the blasted thing has never bloomed and always looks stressed out, so its time is up!)
The voodoo lily is the most exotic plant I have growing in any of my gardens. Although it is one of the easiest of the tropicals to grow, I still consider it to be pretty exotic for me! There are many types of voodoo lilies, and this one is specifically named sauromatum venosum. It produces a very odd looking flower in the Spring, which is followed by this really cool circlet of foliage. I think the foliage would make a good head dress for a fairy.
Here is a photo of the flower, although this is not from my garden. The flower smells like pooh. Seriously. See all those flies on it? The flies are attracted to the flower because of the nasty smell. Flies are gross. I'm not sure what purpose smelling like pooh serves in the wild world of horticulture, but I do know why I planted these flowers at the back of the yard and not right beside the deck!
When the first flower emerged from the ground, I was a bit startled by its appearance and wasn't quite sure what it was. The flower only lasted a couple days, then faded away. I was happy to see the foliage emerge a couple weeks later, as I had thought the flower was all there is to a voodoo lily! The stems have a really cool spotted leopard pattern as you can see in this photo. Quite exotic!
From my research, voodoo lily should not be hardy in my zone, but I transplanted these from a local garden near Asheville last Fall, and they have multiplied since that time, so I guess they are hardy after all! The elephant ears, tiger lilies and cana have proven quite hardy in Asheville also. I do know caladiums are not hardy in my zone, as I left some in the ground last year that did not re-emerge this year. You can either dig them in the Fall and store them for Spring planting or just treat them as annuals and replant them each year. I choose to replant since there is a high chance of the bulbs rotting during storage. I'm probably not storing them properly, but for $13 at Sam's Club for a bag of 50, it's worth not having to bother with them.