Nov 172014
 
Spider plants in a window box

Cheltenham

I’m a big fan of spider plants in a window box. What other plant would trail as brilliantly as this? This pic reminds me of the wonderful window boxes I saw a while back in Connaught Square – they had a few spider plants stuffed into them, in between numerous other delights.

The worst gardener in the world could keep a spider plant alive. I’ve got a couple hanging from the ceiling in my conservatory. They’re hideously pot bound and starved of water a lot of the time (I always seem to forget about them), and exposed to huge extremes of temperature. And yet they still keep pumping out their little baby plants, which I pot up occasionally. You know they’ve finally had enough when their leaves turn very pale, but give them a quick water and they’re soon as right as rain.

Incidentally, I like these dark wooden window boxes – I’ve never seen anything like them before.

 

Jun 022014
 
Succulents in a trough

Bradford on Avon

I’ve recently fallen hook, line and sinker for succulents. This is mostly because they are some of the most undemanding plants you can grow. They’ve pulled through a winter in my conservatory (unheated, so with some big extremes of temperature) and the benign neglect that I have bestowed upon them. In fact they’re even flowering now – proof that if you treat them mean, they become even more keen.

These aren’t my succulents (pic to come) but a container I walked past the other day. I liked it so much that I’m planning something similar. My neighbour and I have gone halves on three big plants that we can get tons of baby plants from – succulents are dead easy to propagate. I will bring you the results of our labours soon.

 

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