Turning my garden into a tropical paradise with Emerald Plants

As you may remember, I had grand plans for my garden when I bought my house last year. ‘A tropical paradise’ was how I described the picture of it I had in my head.

The reality looked like this:

garden makeover tips

Sexy garden times.

As you will have seen if you read my garden makeover post, I had the foundations put in place for the tropical garden of my dreams, and the last few months have been spent gradually adding in plants and pots and strings of solar powered vintage lights, so that now it looks more like this:

garden makeover tips

That’s more like it.

I’ve been surprised by how quickly the garden has become very important to me. I’ve always liked SITTING in gardens obviously, but I’ve never considered myself a gardener. Perhaps it’s getting older, perhaps it’s the fact that it’s the first time I’ve ever owned a house and garden, but I feel way more attached to this garden than I ever have before. Quite often I take a cup of tea and go and sit on the bench early in the morning or in the evening. Sometimes I carry my tea with me as I walk about and look at the plants, checking in on them, seeing how much they’ve grown since I last looked.

I get a lovely sense of calmness from my garden and I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes over the years and the seasons as I potter about, doing my best to figure things out.

The planting side of things went particularly well this week as Emerald Plants offered to send me a selection of plants from their new website, which I’m going to show you now.

Emerald Plants is an online plant centre set up last year by a chap called Oliver. Oliver has a whole load of online experience and a huge interest in gardening, but he wanted to create a store for people like me who perhaps weren’t quite so experienced in the plant department. (I am constantly Googling words like ‘perennial’.)

With Emerald Plants, Oliver wants to provide the same quality plants and expertise that proper grown up gardeners would expect, at the same time as providing honest straightforward help and advice for enthusiastic beginners. Here’s a bit more about what they hope to achieve. They offer a 5 year guarantee on their plants AND you at the moment get not one but two free gifts with every order! That’s exciting isn’t it?

So my garden then.

As you may have spotted, my corner patio area now has a selection of plants in pots, including these two glorious yellow ones, which are one of my favourite Homesense finds in a long time.

yellow plant pots

These are at the back of the garden, which gets less sun than the rest because the garden is south facing, so I’ve put a couple of ferns from Emerald Plants in these. Once they get going they are really going to help with the tropical vibe. Imagine a kind of jungle atmosphere – cats prowling, birds calling, me dressed in khaki, reclining on a deckchair.

You get the gist.

Emerald Plants ferns

In the other corner of this patio I’ve got a little lemon balm, which was mine already, and some sweet peas from Emerald Plants. I love the smell of sweet peas so much, and having the little cane wigwam says ‘gardening pro’ to me. This variety is called ‘everlasting pea’, which makes me imagine Willy Wonka prancing on my lawn.

Sweet peas Emerald Plants everlasting pea

Just the other side of that pink post I’ve planted a honeysuckle, which is going to grow up and over the pergola. It’s going to be a very fragrant little corner isn’t it?

Honeysuckles are one of my favourite plants. When I lived in the big house in Bristol the garden had this wonderful patio area along one edge that led to a secluded little corner. The whole thing was covered in honeysuckle, and when you sat underneath it, breathing in the sweet honeysuckle scent, you could believe you were anywhere in the world. It was magical. It’s that corner that I’m trying to recreate in this garden.

honeysuckle plant

A bit further along in the same flower bed I’ve planted a Japanese quince. It has really beautiful blossoms at the moment, which are perfect for brining more butterflies and bees into the garden.

(Humphrey does sometimes like to eat bees though. He’s not very environmentally aware.)

Japanese quince

Because my garden is quite small I don’t have the space to plant everything in the ground, so I did some research and picked out a few things that I thought might manage well in pots, at least temporarily. After doing some reading I picked out the silk tree and this peony and planted them up into a couple of really big tubs that were a steal at just £4.99 each from Lidl’s legendary middle aisle. (They’re the big grey ones in the main picture.)

peony emerald plants

I feel happy in my garden.

The fact that I could create the garden from scratch was one of the things I loved most about the idea of buying my house. I knew that I would feel more invested in and connected to my garden if I had been there from the beginning and I’m loving adding new plants and watching them flourish. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes me feel grounded and content just being able to look out of the window at it or sit outside and watch the cats chasing butterflies between the shrubs.

Thank you to Emerald Plants for my new additions – do go and have a browse of their website if you need some planting inspiration.

Quince Emerald plants

I was sent these plants for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.



  1. Julie T
    4 May, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    That’s quite a transformation, well done, it looks very nice now, a place you can relax in.

  2. 7 May, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Hi your garden looks beautiful! I love the pink and yellow theme, it gives it that personal touch. Bet the kids love it (the garden.. well they may love the colour scheme too!)

    Katie xx

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