Gardening

Here are some examples of fairy easy to grow tropic plants which do well in a UK green house or conservatory. I particularly like Datura's and have a couple of fairly large D. meteloides which provide a display astonishingly fragrant white trumpet blooms 8" diameter and 10" long. The flowers open in the evening, and perfume the entire greenhouse. Most stay open the following day and in cool weather last a bit longer. It would probably be totally overpowering if grown in a conservatory. Also it is important to remember that the Datura's are all poisonous, and some like thorn apple are very poisonous. The plants also smell quite awful if you bruise them and may cause skin irritation. In my greenhouse the poisonous seeds perform as a natural bait in winter to keep rodents in check.

Datura meteloides flower Datura meteloides flower 8" across the diameter. The bloom is actually very subtle lilac n the edges, but the film does not capture this subtle effect. The scent is hypnotic. Flowers from June to November and seems to be perennial, known to root very deep if given a free root run. Mine have rooted down into the soil and grow strongly.

Hibiscus F1 Disco Belle


Hibiscus Disco-Belle is highly recommended for its profusion of dinner plate sized brightly coloured exotic blooms which occur in late summer. Seems to improve each year with ever more new stems regrowing from the root stock. Deciduous in winter and the old stems may be trimmed off at the end of the growing season.
Critter Does anyone recognise these 0.5mm size "beetle" like insects please? Microscope field of view is 5mm across. They are sat on a Snowdrop leaf and seem to be responsible for the silvery damage marks.

Every year towards the end of the snowdrop flowering these insects appear on the leaves which sustain a silvery damage (like redspider mite attack). They don't move about very quickly and seem to multiply fairly rapidly, but I can't find them in any pest or insect book. They disappear afterwards just as mysteriously and don't affect any other plants. Are they damaging the snowdrops, or are they harmless? So far I have ignored them, but I rather like my annual snowdrop display so if they are doing harm I would like to know. Next year I can take some action.

Keeping a heated greenhouse through the winter requires the ability to make quick repairs. I use pieces of hardboard, and twinwall polycarbonate sheet for running repairs in winter storms. They can be fitted and locked in place very quickly to prevent the wind getting into the structure (and the heat getting out). I have only been beaten by one winter storm.

I am a keen photographer and try to photograph any wildlife that visits the garden. I also like fountains and sundials as garden ornaments.

I lived for 5 years in Tervuren, Belgium, where the weather is similar to the UK but a bit wetter than North Yorkshire. I have a few scenes taken in my Belgian garden.


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Last modified 20th June 2003