Welcome to Tropical Plant Photos, the site for those who appreciate the beauty of tropical plants. I am very fortunate to live in Florida, where I am surrounded by tropical beauty. For those living in colder climates, hopefully my photos will help brighten your day. I strive to create photographs that are different and unique, and am passionate about creating images that are one-of-a kind.
To see my photography, please go to my photography website at: chrisweiglphotography.com
This website also features a great deal of information about gardening, landscaping and growing tropical plants – everything from how to grow Hibiscus to drought-tolerant landscaping with native plants. As a garden designer, I have many years of experience in this field, and have devoted a section to garden design.
Book Reviews and Botanical Gardens
I also love to read, and have included a list of some of my favorites under book reviews. If you are thinking of visiting a botanical garden in Florida, you can also find information about that on this site as well.
My blog features topics relevent to the season and updates as to what is happening in my garden. I would love to hear from you and learn about your gardening experiences, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have about tropical plants, gardening or plant photography.
About the Photographer
My love for tropical plants began when I was riding my horse next to a plant nursery and noticed flowers in their compost pile. Curious, I asked the owner if I could have the flowers. Since he was throwing them away, he said to take as many as I wanted. I loaded my little Toyota with as many plants as I could fit. Everything I planted grew and flourished- and I was hooked. That was more than 20 years ago, and I still get excited when I see flowers.
“Addicted” is a more accurate description used by some that know me. I absolutely love tropical plants. I love their colors, their shapes and their enormous almost science-fiction-looking flowers. I try to go to as many botanical gardens as I can just to photograph and admire their beauty. A few years ago I was able to visit the Hawaiian island of Maui – where I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I saw so many fantastic tropical plants and such beauty that I am sure that living there is my destiny.
For now, I am happy with the tropical plants I can grow in my home state of Florida. I live in between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine on the East coast, where we can have low temperatures in the 20s during the winter. So needless to say, most of my prized tropical plants are in pots and are brought inside my garage for the winter.
A new beginning – July 22, 2012
For the first time in 14 years I don’t have to worry if Mrs. Jones Pittisporum needs trimming. I don’t have to worry that Mr. Smith’s weeds may be knee high or that Mrs. Black needs new annuals for her pots by the front door. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s garden but my own. It’s a strange feeling.
Six weeks ago I turned over my business, Flower Power Gardening Service, to another gardener and am focused on my freelance writing business and photography business. I made the right decision to move on, the timing was right and I have no regrets.
Things I will miss
But to be honest there will be some things I will miss. I had many super nice customers over the years, and that will be the number one thing I will miss. People have been very kind to me, offering me food and drink and shelter from the hot sun. Many have given me Christmas gifts and bonuses and hand-written thank-you notes and cards. One customer even brought me back coffee from Hawaii!
I always enjoyed talking about their gardens and getting to know little bits and pieces about their lives. A couple of customers were artists and shared with me their art. Another customer enjoyed travelling and we often talked about places they had been. One operated a cat rescue and I ended up adopting a cat from her.
But the one thing that most of them shared with me was their love for flowers, plants and nature. These were the customers I cherished the most – the tree huggers. I felt a kinship with them and a common bond. One customer had a large dead tree in her front yard and she refused to take it down because it was still being used by the birds. A couple of years later she had to take it down because she got a citation from the city, but it would still be there if not for that. We would
pull weeds together and talk about her Four-o-Clocks and how pretty the Daylilies were.
Things I won’t miss
The customers I had the most difficult time with was the ones who did not appreciate Florida’s beautiful tropical vegetation and wildlife – the many lizards, frogs, snakes and other creatures that call this place home. They hire pest control companies to come in and spray toxic chemicals to poison the earth and kill all of the good beneficial insects. Many of these
customers never went in their yards and were not connected to the outside world.
It was at these homes where I wish I had another occupation. There were no signs of life there. No birds, no lizards, no sounds of nature – just the sounds of the mow blow and go guys with their weed-whackers and leaf blowers.
These same people were most often the ones who also wanted plants to behave in a certain way which was against the plan Mother Nature had in mind. For example certain plants such as Glossy Abelia, Lorapetalum and Duranta have a very loose, unstructured sprawling growth habit. In simple terms- they grow every which way. Well too bad because these people wanted them to be a box or a meatball or a rectangle. And it was my job to keep them this way, which
of course was against my better judgment because I knew in the long run constant trimming would be detrimental to the plant’s wellbeing. But the problem was the people did not care what was best for the plant, they wanted
what they wanted and to hell with the plant.
So for me being a plant lover, not doing what was best for the health of the plant was upsetting.
Many of my customers just could not physically do the work. Some had the will and ability but lacked the knowledge about Florida gardening (which in case you haven’t noticed, is not like gardening anywhere else in the country). Often we would work together in creating and planning and planting, and I always enjoyed that.
Enjoying Others Gardens
There were several of my customers who had outstanding gardens which I always looked forward to. One had an extra large property which was planted with many beautiful tropical plants such as Pine Cone Gingers, Orchid Trees, Bird of Paradise and a Pygmy Date Palm. His place was always well-maintained and you could tell he really loved his yard. In fact, he loved it so much that he moved to another state and then a few months later moved back.
Another customer hired me to maintain his property and asked that I keep it looking like “Disneyland.” I was to be sure that there were no dead plants, no dead or yellow leaves and nothing unsightly in his yard. His yard had beautiful large oak trees, mass plantings of Cast Iron plants, ferns and grasses and since he owned a stone yard, he had spectacular stone work with gorgeous slate pathways throughout and really understood the essence of a tropical Florida landscape.
One of my favorite gardens was a garden that had hundreds of perennials, annuals and flowering plants. The owner loved to garden and worked in the garden whenever she could and she was constantly adding new flowers. Everywhere you looked there were flowers all year round. She had a good eye for design and color and her property was a real joy to visit. I would often cut her flowers and then take them home to photograph.
Having access to so many different kinds of plants that I could photograph will be greatly missed. From now on, I will have to be happy with photographing my plants and flowers.
I will also miss going to the nurseries to buy plants for my customers. It was always “one for my customer, and one for me.” Like every plant nut, I love going to nurseries. I could look at plants all day.
The last few weeks my life has been a little less stressful in knowing that from now on – the only garden I am responsible for taking care of is my own. It’s a good feeling.
Please visit my new freelance writing website at: