An exciting request for our help came from the Hampshire based greenhouse company
‘Alitex’ who asked us to design and plant a scheme which would both enhance
and thrive in their stunning new Conservatory.
This hybrid of a building, a cross between a glass house and a conservatory, gives huge benefits for both people and plants. The climate inside this building is both warm and light with a breathe-easy atmosphere full of gentle humidity, always fresh due to the generous ventilation from both the roof and the side windows. The under floor heating and exterior roof blinds make for a precisely controllable climate. It’s never too hot but always cosy in the coldest months.
We felt at Fleur de Lys that this building was bound to provide the ideal conditions for our planting scheme to thrive. The conservatory offered us many design possibilities and so this is how we approached our task.
Within the purpose built planting bed that forms a backdrop to the seating area, we placed some strong climbers to ramble into the roof. Bougainvillea ' Elizabeth ', Dipladenia 'Scarlett Pimpernel' and Jasminum grandiflorum 'De Grasse' for sweet fragrance at times throughout the year. The under planting consists of a little known Eupatorium species called sordidum which carries Lavender blue, fluffy, scented blooms during winter, spring and early summer. Silver trailing Calocephalus brownii trails luxuriously over the walls.
We added several specimen plants including a Lady palm called Rhapis excelsior for its strong shape, a Citrus lemon tree which has cropped successfully every year since it was potted, an Olive tree that adores growing under glass, creating an elegant silvery waterfall of leaves, and two Madagascar jasmines, better known perhaps as Stephanotis floribunda, which grace a doorway and some of the roof space. A little known and seldom seen large leaved, furry prehistoric monster of a plant has also found its way into the collection. The tree like, Kalanchoe beharensis is gorgeous and very easy to grow.
Another feature of this beautiful conservatory meant that we could place the potted plants directly upon either the heated stone floor, which the tropical species enjoy, or away from the heat and out towards the edges of the building which the Mediterranean plants appreciate more. The large stone window sills are ideal for propagating your cuttings and for raising your tender seedlings.
As the whole scene knits together with favourite Pelargoniums, Pepperomias, Echeverias and Aeoniums, the plant conservatory continues to become a living, breathing, organic retreat in which spirits will be lifted out of cold winters and a warm luxurious calm prevails.