For years I have been waiting for a revival of tropical plantings. In the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s, tropical plants were in great vogue in Southern California. People planted gingers and philodendrons, palms and hibiscus, tree ferns and elephant ears, not to mention giant bird of paradise and bananas. Many of these are still with us, gracing older homes, but very few are being planted today.
Perhaps a new book by Gordon Courtright will do the trick. Simply called "Tropicals" (Timber Press: $35.95), it is full of photos and brief descriptions of plants that have a tropical feel, if not tropical origins.