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 🙂