Creating A Jungle In Your Backyard – Creating a hardy jungle. A jungle is lush with foliage, with many large, differently shaped leaves growing at different heights in curtains of green, all overlapping and intertwining. You can create this effect in the garden by using vigorous climbers in association with large-leaved hardy plants. Many plants grow very tall in the jungle, climbing up into the trees towards the light. You can simulate the height of a forest canopy by installing tall scaffolding screens. Make sure the scaffolding is robust and firmly fixed because many plants become very heavy when in leaf and need strong supports.
If the site is sunny, the golden hop (Hummlus lupulus ‘Aureus’) is a good candidate and perfectly hardy. Any vigorous climber with large leaves will add to the effect. The crimson glory vine (Vitis coignetiae) will eventually grow to 24 m (80ft) and Virginia creeper to 15 m (50 ft). The leaves or both plants turn bright red in fall. The evergreen Clematis armandii is another vigorous climber with plenty of large shiny leaves and will make your screen look like a snowstormin spring with its masses of white flowers.
For a shady site, Hydrangea petiolaris is a vigorous, hardy climber with handsome, ﬂat, white lace-cap flower heads, which will reach 3.5 m (12 ft) on a wall or 5 m (16 ft) growing up a tree.
For lower plants use Fatsia japonica, with its enormous palm-shaped leaves, or phormiums and yuccas. Yucca glauca is a mass or straight, thin gray-blue leaves 1.5 m (5 ft) across. Plant it in drifts close together. Yucca ‘Vitorio Emmanuel II’ is one of the biggest and best. It will grow to 1.8 m (6 ft).
The golden hop
For a moist site choose Gunnera magellanica, Zantedeschia aethiopica and Rodgersia aesculifolia. Bamboos are easy to grow and can contribute to the exotic feel of a garden. Choose ones that will not spread, or grow them where you really want a jungle or keep them in pots. Phyllostachys aurea is well behaved and will grow to 4.5 m (15 ft).
Creating a tender jungle. Many tropical-looking plants, often from Mediterranean areas, although difficult to propagate, are not difficult to grow. Some prefer an exposed site in the backyard; others grow best in dappled shade. The hardier eucalypts and the holm oak (Quercus ilex) are dense enough to keep the heat in and sparse enough to let light through, especially if you cut off their lower branches. Eucalyptus aggregata, E. perriniana and E. parvifolia all make good canopy trees.