Plan B: Pretend Plants

Last year was our first full year in our new home, and for the first time in my life I have a conservatory so when last spring arrived I was keen to experiment with plants for my garden room. We live in the north of Scotland and the conservatory (tacked on the back of the house) is north-facing, so I’ve discovered that for three months of the year during winter it receives no direct sunlight at all, and the conservatory as it is remains unusable. But yet during the spring, summer, and autumn it soaks up the sun’s rays wonderfully well and I really enjoy its light, airy feel.

So last year I did my best. I struggled to know whether to buy plants for cool areas that were fine in the colder temperatures but fried and frazzled in the heat, or to buy plants for warm areas but that shrank and shriveled in the cold. I tried both, juggling plants intermittently, and one year on both sets of plants are now mostly living elsewhere in the house, all clearly far more comfortable in their new situations. And here I am facing spring again with next to no plants growing happily in my conservatory, thinking that it’s definitely time to think again.

I’ve discovered I really love having real plants growing all over the house, and I really love having my seasonal garden outside. But I’ve decided that what I really want for my conservatory is a steady riot of colour all year round without constantly having to monitor and manage the effects of the changing temperature on the plants the way I had to do all last year. That particular level of intensive care isn’t my idea of fun – sadly it became a chore not a challenge, and I feel I need to make a wholesale change in my approach to filling my conservatory with flora…

Time for Plan B – pretend plants. I’m carefully creating an artfully artificial environment with a few potted plants and a few vases and other vessels filled with flowers that will last forever. In keeping with my love of nature I’m trying to keep away from trendy stylised fakery (which certainly has its place, but just not here) and am instead aiming for a traditional hint of realism in my choices. It’s probably going to take some time for me to experiment and get it just the way I want it, but at least I’ve made a start and so far I’m really happy with how it looks 🙂

Flower of the Day

Red on White

I know I’ve posted several very similar images of the red pelargonium sitting in my cold, unheated conservatory all winter.

It’s truly been a beautiful bright splash of colour standing proud against the otherwise dull grey monochrome world outside – or against a lighter snowy backdrop, like today – and look, still it continues to flower 🙂

Flower of the Day

Winter Pelargonium

I’ve had to move most of my tender indoor plants from my cold, unheated conservatory into the main house over the winter months, but a few hardy individuals have remained including this bright red pelargonium which is still flowering against the backdrop of the snowy garden beyond ❤

Flower of the Day

All Change in the Conservatory

After careful monitoring I’ve taken out most of my plants from our North-East-facing conservatory and have re-sited them elsewhere throughout the house – the conservatory really is far too cold in the winter for many of them. However I’ve left the few slighty more hardy UK-native plants in situ and I’m delighted to see they’re still in flower even now, bringing a bright splash of colour at the end of the year.

I’ll have a re-think in 2021 about where best to site my current houseplants on a permanant basis, and which newcomers to add to my growing collection, but I’ve had such fun experimenting and finding my feet this year with both my garden and my conservatory. Even after 20 years of living in an upstairs flat with no outdoor space at all, I’m delighted to find I’ve not lost my green fingers after all 🙂

Flower of the Day

Red and Green

Red and green always seems such a Christmassy combination, even at the beginning of September! And for the past couple of days as well as a trio of bluetits a little robin with its fluffy orange-red breast has been feeding at our bird feeder, so nature seems keen to remind me that winter will be coming soon. Thanks nature, I know the fast-cooling weather has been a little uncertain lately but personally I haven’t actually quite finished with summer yet, and surely autumn still needs to have her beautiful blaze of glory before chilly winter blows over us with her icy breath and frozen fingers… 🙂

Flower of the Day

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Uncertain

Today is a New Day

Reflecting on my life experience always tells me a lot of things. Right now it tells me not to worry too much when I have a down day or two, or three or four or even more, because I know that this too shall pass – and sure enough, so far it always has done. Thankfully this miserable depression I struggle with never lasts for too long these days, and even when it does linger more than I would like I understand enough of life to know that now is not forever.

Understanding my life experience allows me just to sit tight and breathe my way through the dismal down days, to distract myself by looking for the inherent beauty in the natural world around me. On closer inspection even the simplest of red flowers in my conservatory where I sit shows such beautiful dark rivulets delicately threading the back of its throat, its finely-veined petals gently flushed with the deepest pink shading as if its life-blood also pumps through a vibrant beating heart. I listen intently until I almost hear its heartbeat mirror my own, and I feel strangely comforted.

Nothing in life is ever as simple as it seems, things are rarely starkly black or white, good or bad, and nuance colours us in a variety of shades with each hue bringing its own specific spectrum of understanding to our lives. I feel blue at times and I see red at other times, I have dark moods and bright moments and very occasionally find myself bathed in glorious rainbows of hopefulness. But however much I stumble or falter along the way in times of darkness, I always know I’m travelling along the right road and my still-beating heart, fragile as a flower, tells me I’m doing just fine… 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Reflections