Some people may equate woodland garden with cottage garden, but you don’t have to. If you like cottage gardens then the traditional woodland garden works, but what about everyone else. You may not think about it, but woodlands occur all over the world, in all kinds of environments and conditions. There is no reason you can’t have a tropical or Mediterranean woodland garden. The only real requirement for a woodland garden is using plants for shade.
If your yard is tropical or you like tropicals, then why not have a tropical woodland garden? Luckily there are plenty of tropical and subtropical plants for shade, you’ll just need the right climate (7b and higher work best). A great place to start is with the cast iron plants (Aspidistra), which are great drought tolerant plants for shade. These tropical looking plants are tough to kill, and have long been used as houseplants though many are hardy. They even come in stripes and spots too. The dwarf elephant ears are also a great plant for shade to mimic tropical woodlands. Colocasia fallax, Alocasia wentii, and Remusatia are all wonderful choices for you tropical woodlands garden.
For something a little more exotic, but still having that tropical look, try Amorphophallus, Arisaemas, and their relatives. Both genera have unusual foliage and flowers, but Arisaemas often like cooler climates while Amorphophallus tend to like hotter climates. These unusual plants for shade come in a large variety, but be sure to pay attention to climatic needs because these aroids come from conditions as diverse as they are.
That diversity is important to consider as you consider becoming a woodland gardener. The varieties of plants that can go in a woodland garden are immense, thanks to the diversity of the planet. There’s little reason not the take advantage of this for you garden, whether you like native woodlands, tropical woodlands, Mediterranean woodlands, or any variant you can think of. Remember that Plant Delights Nursery has the diversity of the best shade perennials to make your woodland dreams a reality.