Tropical plants aren’t just for mediterranean or modern houses. Tropicals can work in any garden setting. The Victorians were passionate about tropical plants and used them in their traditional style gardens to great effect. So much more interesting than a purely tropical garden (which can look a little ‘hotel’ if you’re not careful) or an English style border.
These are all easy to grow in the bay area:
Zantedeschia (calla lily)
Strelitzia (birds of paradise)
Campsis (trumpet vine)
Above is the Larnach Castle garden in Dunedin, New Zealand. Below are two of the cottages at the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne, Australia.