To get a tropical look in a warm temperate garden, there is a short list of plants that fit the bill. One of my favorites is the little-known genus Curcuma which includes Curcuma longa the culinary spice turmeric. Curcuma, or hidden cone gingers, is a genus of mostly tropical plants known for their dramatic bold foliage, flamboyant floral show. Curcuma can range in height from just under 2' to over 7' tall. The slightly hidden flowers resemble psychedelic pinecones...a nice trip back to the 1960s. We urge our readers to visit the garden on our Open Nursery and Garden Days in summer and fall to see our Curcuma collection. One of the reasons that Curcuma have never reached a high level of popularity is that they haven't begun to sprout during the spring garden center season, but because of this, they can be interplanted with spring bulbs such as daffodils, which go dormant before Curcuma emerges. Curcuma are plants that you must purchase as a leap of faith, then sit back and enjoy later in your garden.