Nov 142013
 
Conservatory

Bath

Along with a new house and garden, I have acquired a conservatory. Some people have been slightly derogatory about its plasticky look but I love it. On a sunny autumn day it gets distinctly toasty and there’s no nicer place to sit eating breakfast or working. On a dull day it gives a double hit of daylight and chlorophyll, without having to step outside.

The space only covers about 2.5m x 2.5m, but it’s a bottomless pit as far as plants are concerned. It already contains around 20 plants, but looks empty. The effect I’m going for is Andie MacDowell’s roof terrace in Green Card – so consider this the ‘before’ shot.

Needless to say, as with most conservatories, fluctuation in temperature is an issue. At the moment it’s about 10 degrees warmer inside than out, but as night falls, the temperature plummets. It’s still not as cold as outdoors, but it’s pretty chilly. I’m not planning on heating it – it costs enough to heat the rest of the house – so I’m making do with plants that can tolerate temperatures down to about 7 degrees. In effect, I am creating a winter garden. 

So far, I’m overwintering a few plants for friends – two bananas, a fuchsia and a pelargonium. I’ve bought a lemon tree (Citrus x limon ‘Meyer’, which tolerates cooler temperatures), a camellia that should flower earlier as it’s under cover, and some succulents. Paperwhites, hyacinths and minature daffs are waiting in the wings and next spring I’ll start off some seeds in it. It will probably be largely emptied out for summer as it will get pretty hot, but next autumn I’ll bring in all the tender plants that I’ll no doubt have acquired by then.

So this time next year I should be giving Andie MacDowell run for her money. In the meantime the rays of sunshine and handy vantage points are being appreciated by my new four-legged friend…

Weds

Sep 202012
 

Kas, Turkey

OK, so this isn’t a garden at all. But it’s the outside of a house where some plants should be and it’s an excuse to show you these cat silhouettes. Street cats are everywhere in Turkey, and on the whole they seem well loved, well fed and supremely confident. They’re always up for a bit of attention and they got plenty of it from me.

The front of this white house was a homage to Turkey’s feline population, and it made me smile.

Aug 242012
 

Sydenham

My friend Chaun tells me that this bronze container is specifically made for storing a hosepipe. I’m not entirely sure I believe him, but it does have drainage holes and it is the right size. Whatever it is, it would make great storage for all manner of garden bits and bobs. It comes from TK Maxx.

But maybe you’re more interested in the cat. Wispy spends most of her summer sleeping on the compost around the fig tree. The trunk is covered with chicken wire because she likes to use it as a scratching post.