This post is not sub-tropical or "palmy" but maybe of interest, given our desire to get out in the garden this Spring! I took these photos yesterday (Feb 27) at Winterthur Museum and Gardens, where I work part-time. Winterthur is located just outside of Wilmington, Delaware in Zone 7a. The garden is geared to start blooming in the beginning of March but some plants are, understandably, a little early this year!
Winterthur is the name of this mansion, built by a branch of the Dupont family in 1839 and later greatly expanded in the 1920s/1930s by Henri Francis DuPont (whose great uncle founded the DuPont company). Now the main house is museum of American art and artifacts, especially from the colonial period. The DuPont family was also interested in gardening and this site features a 60+ acre "naturalistic" garden and Pinetum.
This area is called the "March Bank", a south-facing slope loaded with Spring flowering bulbs, which will provide a show from February through June.
They refer to this as a "naturalistic" or "wild" garden, meaning that it is supposed to look natural, while being gently "managed" to have an attractive look. Most of these bulbing plants are left to grow and spread as they will, with little management except for thinning and weeding. Winterthur supposedly has one of the best examples of this type of garden in the U.S.
Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
"Tommies", a type of Crocus (Crocus tomasinianus)
A couple photos of Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum):
The obligatory Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) pic.... There are also Camellias in the garden (but I think they are mainly fall-blooming types, so I didn't get any pics this visit):
This is the back of the main house. The DuPont family moved out of here in 1951 to make the main house a museum (they moved into a 50-room "cottage" just across the driveway and lived there until 1969):