Carla Black

About Carla Black

I have lived and gardened in Panama in the Western Highlands near Volcán, Chiriquí for 20 years. My favorite plants are Heliconias, especially our native Panamanian species. There's nothing better than heading into the backcountry to see them in habitat. I currently serve as president of the Heliconia Society International.

How to grow Heliconia, brightest tropical flower

You’ve seen them, even if you didn’t know what they were called. Heliconias are the ultimate exotic flowers, starring in arrangements in tropical hotels around the globe and as far away as outer space – on television, anyway; heliconias greeted intergalactic ambassadors on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Closer to home, they can’t be beat for providing fantastic foliage and bright color in tropical and subtropical gardens. Stunning long-lasting cut flowers are a big bonus. Continue reading

Discovering my specialty – Heliconia

In my first four or five years living in the western highlands of Panama, I focused on learning to grow vegetables. Combining advice from a pile of helpful USA gardening books and my own experimentation, I got my kitchen garden up and running. We pushed the cow fence out much farther from the house than the initial 10m, and I began to think about ornamental gardening in the dairy pasture. Continue reading