The Conservatory Garden
Adiffers from a in being a part or an extension of your home. It offers scope for the imagination.
You can take your cue perhaps from the colonial atmosphere captured in a Somerset Maugham play: cool sweeping palms, hanging baskets, mirrors, Nile green washed walls and rush matting; or the cloistered stillness of the traditional English conservatory, with flagstone floors, hanging vines and walls softened with panels of stained, etched or smoked glass.
Choosing conservatory plants:
Many growers now grade their plants into easy, intermediate or delicate. For example: Hedera Heisse (Heisse’s ivy), Asplenium nidus-avis (bird’s nest fern), Rhoicissus rhomboidea (grape ivy), and Cissus antarctica (kangaroo vine), all easy to grow; peperomias, Ficus benjamina (weeping), and various palms, all intermediate; Fittonia verschaffeltii (snakeskin plant) and Croton hybrid (Joseph’s coat), delicate. Add geraniums, a grape vine, and perhaps a containerised tree and you have a good start.
Constructing the conservatory:
If converting a room into a conservatory, including one in the design of a house, or purchasing an extension unit in kit form or specially made, here are some important points.
Flooring: make the floor easy to swab down or brush up – wooden planks, flagstones, quarry tiles or plain concrete.
Staging: should be solid with a skimming of gravel, or slatted easy access height.
Watering: make sure a tap or tank are installed. Also available: small perforated pipe lines that lie in the soil, and automatically release water when the earth gets too dry.
Heating: consult heating engineers; install a thermostat.
A fountain and an aviary make pretty additions to theGarden; there are many other imaginative ideas for this garden in a house, which ensures year-round without necessarily having to go out of doors.