Last night, I hosted a visitor from Florida, Charles Teh, who had emigrated to USA twenty years ago. He was practicing as a horticulturist in Singapore and Malaysia before he decided to emigrate. It was interesting to get his impressions of Kuala Lumpur now compared to when he left.
I took him to Desa Park City, a new residential area in Kuala Lumpur, and he thought the standard of landscaping and tree planting was comparable with residential areas in Florida. But he was horrified to see Bucida buceras (native of Florida) as a roadside tree here. He says this is a weedy tree in Forida. In Malaysia, I assured him, Bucida behaves itself and does not multiply on its own.
I was surprised to hear that so many of the plants we grow here are also grown in Florida, albeit with some difficulty in the winter. In turn, he was surprised to see snapdragons, pelargoniums, rosemary and pansies flowering on my balcony. I later took him to a rooftop garden where I have magnolias, persimmons, plums, peaches, apples, planes and camelias growing. We are pushing the limits. While gardeners in temperate and subtropical regions are exploring ways to grow tropical plants, some of us in the tropics are exploring ways to grow temperate plants.