13 August 2012 By Billy Hawkins
We often get asked when we are exhibiting at the summer flower shows of Chelsea or Hampton about conservatory planting schemes.
We generally take the advice of specialised horticulturalists when dealing with our own conservatory plants here at Torberry but we are steadily starting to learn from experience and noticing the likes and dislikes of our clients and employees. I like the lemon tree in our conservatory – the leaves and lemons give off such a welcome aroma year round.
I think perhaps some of the main issues about plant choice in your conservatory revolve around its positioning – the fact remains that it is sited onto the house and possibly not in the most advantageous position to grow your orchid specimens. On top of that the temperature will be difficult to regulate as family use the extra space added to the house throughout the day, opening and closing doors which lead into the house. Shading certain plants during very hot periods of the day may also be tricky. Choosing the site for your Alitex greenhouse revolves around plant growing but the conservatory poses additional considerations. It is all about which plants will thrive in the particular micro climate of your conservatory.
Beware of the traditional approach of damping down on a hot summer’s day; the resulting humidity might not mix with soft furnishings, books and electrical equipment. Too many plants and you will create a warm fug which seeps into fabrics and paper.
The most effective way of having plants in sunrooms and conservatories is in focal point groups, with each specimen ideally chosen for the contribution it makes to the overall effect. See this image where the Australian plectranthus argentatus blends beautifully with the jasmine and pelagonium.
The obvious aim is to select plants that work well with each other, but it isn’t always as easy to do in practice, though one trick that can often help is to mock up your display at the garden centre before finally making your purchase. Individually beautiful specimens with particularly striking leaves or strong colours which look fantastic on their own can sometimes clash horribly when they are brought into close proximity to each other. Another advantage of planning is you can avoid the Palm House at Kew look which is fantastic in large spaces, heaving to the rafters with wonderful plant specimens, but more difficult to recreate at home on a smaller scale without it looking jungle-like.
Plan, research and experiment with plants, with the siting of your conservatory as the main considerations.
If you would like to see what we have achieved come to our Open Day on 8th September 10am-2pm and visit our conservatory which is well established with plants and also our new orangery which will have been recently completed. Call us to reserve your place on 01730 826900.