Your spring garden primer

Get tips on everything you need to get your garden growing

3 colorful, easy-care spring borders

Choose the best one for your yard and see how to plant for summer blooms

Tropical jewels border
Rob D. Brodman

Border 3: tropical jewels

You don't have to visit the tropics to enjoy jungly foliage and flowers. Just choose the right plants to create a tropical border anywhere in the West.

For this 9- by 5½-foot planting, landscape designer Karen Donnelly combined coral, fiery orange, red, and yellow flowers with lime green and deep green tropical foliage.

A pot filled with elephant's ear and potato vine adds height and structure to the planting. In cold-winter areas, build the border for just a season, then start over next year. Or move the most valuable plants indoors for winter. You can also substitute hardy look-alikes, such as Japanese banana and honey bush, for true tropicals.

Design: Karen Donnelly, Redwood City, CA (650/224-3476)

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