Jungle Noir

At the recent orchid show in Singapore, I have to admit the couple of things that I was drawn to most was not the orchids themselves.  One was a dazzling display of Nepenthes, the other a diorama of a lowland jungle scene replete with a little stream and a variety of animals.

The Nepenthes display showcased a huge variety of shapes, colors and markings that I didn't even know existed. The taste level was also superb, making great use of driftwood and moss and other botanic materials that complemented the markings and colorations of these strange carnivorous flora. I also didn't know there was such a variety of sizes and habits- from hanging to small clusters.

The diorama made clever use of stuffed animals that brought points of focus into the scene. Their extraordinary markings echoed their environment, a reminder of how fauna is an integral part of any garden environment. The planting was gorgeous and instructional in the type of flora to be found in such places mixing moss, terrestial orchids, begonias and ferns.

Of note, the spotted begonias (top left corner of the rhs pic) and Anoectochilus harmonized with the markings on the critters. The orchids used were mainly in shades of green and brown, limes and chocolates and points in between - my favorite palette. Perhaps that's why I also loved the Nepenthes that were all in this color spectrum.

The overall effect was not what one typically thinks of 'jungle'- lush, large scale plants. This was delicate, complex and finely tuned. I was much inspired and in my mind's eye contemplated the blending of ideas from both these displays to formulate a design plan for a Jungle Noir garden.

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