Jimmy's Gems

Jimmy accents his patio with beautiful indoor plants. He has a garden room at the back of his home enabling him to store large varieties during the winter months. The dividing lines between greenhouse, conservatory and garden room are vague. It is best to regard a greenhouse as a structure made entirely or mainly of glass or transparent plastic and which is entered from the garden. It is arranged almost exclusively for the comfort of the plants rather than for the people who tend or look at them.

A conservatory is similar in physical appearance with glazed walls and roof but is generally more ornate than the standard greenhouse. The basic difference, however, is that entry is generally through the house and there is provision for people to sit and enjoy the plants. Still, the beauty and welfare of the plants and their arrangement are the key factors.

The garden room is also entered through the house, but is often an integral part of the house rather than an extension. The walls consist entirely or mainly of glass or transparent plastic, but the ceiling may be made of standard building material which is not transparent. Here human comfort is the key consideration with extensive plant displays serving as an attractive background.

It is a great mistake to fill a garden room with common garden varieties. Using the popular houseplants is all right as long as you separate them with eye-catching tropical beauties. The plants you are able to grow will depend upon the amount of heat you can provide in winter. A minimum of 55 F means that nearly all of the exotic types will be suitable.

D. Mandevilla splendens You will have to provide a number of things apart from heat in winter. Shading will be needed to protect delicate foliage from the hot summer sun, and there must be some way of ventilating the room. Avoid polished wood furniture; plastic or rustproof metal is a much better choice for the damp atmosphere. Floor should be covered with a rot-proof surface such as tiles or polypropylene carpeting. It is essential to have a tap somewhere near the room as there will be a great deal of watering to do.

Jimmy's latest addition to the garden room is a gorgeous Mandevilla. Dipladenia sanderi rosea is grown for its yellow-throated, pink flowers. D. (Mandevilla) splendens is larger-leaved with pink-throated flowers.

The large flowers appear in summer on the twining stems. Dipladenia can be grown as a climber reaching ten feet or more, or it can be pruned back once flowering is finished in order to maintain it as a bush. The pink blossoms appear on the plant while it is still small, and the glossy leaves make it attractive all year round, but it has never become popular.

The temperature requirement is a minimum of 55 F. in winter and this plant requires bright light or semi-shade but not direct sun. Water should be applied regularly from spring to autumn and sparingly in winter. This plant should be misted regularly especially when in bud or flower. Repotting should occur every spring and propagation is from stem cuttings in spring.

Jimmy's Gems Index Page 4 Page 6 Home