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A Tropical Eden with a Mission

Articles: A Tropical Eden with a Mission

A misty green pool, centerpiece of the cloud forest garden; to the left, trunks of Dypsis baronii; behind the pool, Monstera deliciosa, better known as splitleaf philodendron. Author’s photographs

Exceptional gardens come in many forms: straightforward collections by plant enthusiasts, artistically designed creations that are a world unto themselves, enchanting compositions that evoke the spirit of place. Gardens may also be designed in response to an even higher purpose or deeper meaning, such as the conservation of water in gardens of climate-appropriate plants, the restoration of native habitat, the preservation of rare and endangered plants, or the production of organic food.

Dr Mardy Darian’s 3.2 acre tropical garden paradise in Vista, California, combines all of these attributes and much more. His vision embodies the now-familiar slogan, “Think globally. Act locally.” For forty-five years, Dr Darian, a retired veterinarian turned horticulturist, has traveled the world’s tropics, observing firsthand the destruction of rain forests. (Tropical rain forests are being destroyed at an annual rate of 57,915...

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