Prolong your holiday in your greenhouse
Exotic plants and a nice smell can give the greenhouse a feeling of holiday
By Lars Lund
Now we can go abroad and go on vacation. This we couldn’t do last year. Therefore, most of us stayed at home. For this reason, we realized that many discoveries in 2020 were right outside our door. The garden and the greenhouse. Never have the interest in garden life been that big as it is now.
Choose exotic plants
While the first cucumbers are being harvested, the tomatoes bearing fruit, and citrus being put outside to avoid lice, it is nice to add a little exotic atmosphere in the greenhouse. With exotic plants you can prolong the holiday feeling or imagine being somewhere else. It is all about creating smells and an atmosphere.
The bird in the Garden of Eden
Bring your bird of paradise with you to your greenhouse. The plant also comes as a flower. It is named Strelitzia reginae and it gives your greenhouse a different and more exotic look. 15 years ago, an acquaintance of mine brought home some seeds of the bird of paradise flower to Denmark. She planted the seeds and 7 years later several birds flew from the nest as beautiful flowers. During winter she kept the plant in a conservatory, and during summer they are moved to the greenhouse. The greenhouse is placed next to a small road from which the bird of paradise flowers are being admired by people passing by.
I have also gotten a bird of paradise. I bought it last year. It is quite big, but so far there is no flowers. During winter I keep it in my office, which is warm and full of light. At the moment it shoots out new and enormous leaves and I am anxiously waiting for the bird to poke out its beak from it. In case you don’t have a space to put it during winter it luckily doesn’t cost more than a bouquet of flowers. In turn you will have a pretty plant all summer long. Even though the flower doesn’t last long the green leaves can still contribute to an exotic atmosphere.
Another funny plant, which I fell for is the bottlebrush, Callistemon viminalis. I saw a lot of them during my trip to New Zealand. It is no wonder we call them bottlebrush because it looks just like one. A fun plant that gives some extra colour among all the green.
Of course there is also olives, figs and peaches, nectarines and almonds.
The almond tree gives the most beautiful flowers. Quality varieties of sweet almond adapted to a colder climate is worth to give a shot, when you want a beautiful tough almond tree. Prunus dulcis is the Latin name and this variety of almond is bitter so try get the sweet one. Ideal varieties for a cold climate are the Palnatina, Supernova and Tuono.
My olives used to be in my greenhouse in a pot the first few years. Now they have been dug and placed directly in the bed. Here it really thrives. During winter I loosely wrap it in bubble wrap, but if there is no frost, I then take off the bubble wrap to avoid fungus. It does endure frost but not over a longer period.
Figs can easily become quite big in a greenhouse, but you can prune it. If it in spite of that does get too big – transplant it outside next to a south-facing wall.
Should you want a fig then a Precoce de Dalmatie is a good choice. Fresh figs go very well with cheese and olives.
Peaches can easily get peach leaf curl. It is a disease that makes the leaves curl when they are wet and they won’t dry that fast. This won’t happen in a greenhouse. Nectarines need a lot of heat to evolve. Almost all sorts are self-pollinating, and therefore, you can make do with just one plant. But self-pollinating doesn’t mean they definitely will be pollinated. You must help it along with a soft brush since the insects often aren’t flying around yet when they are blooming. Outside the greenhouse you can expect that some insects are flying by.
Sweet and sour
Citrus is a wide range of many different fruits. There are the small kumquats, lemons, and oranges. These you shouldn’t keep in your greenhouse during summer. They will thrive much better outside. Put them on the patio in front of the greenhouse. Then you will get the exotic feeling.
However, to get the citrus fragrance you can have the herb Lemon Verbena, Aloysia triphyllia in the greenhouse. It can get quite big, but on the other hand it will fill the room with an exceptional smell of lemon.
Smells stirs up emotions
It is fantastic to get new smells in the greenhouse. The sense of smell can among other things be used to get in a certain mood or to get in touch with one’s feelings.
Stephanotis floribunda is for instance a good choice. You know it as an indoor plant, but it will also thrive in the greenhouse during the summer.
Lemongrass Cymbopogon flexuosus can easily be grown in big pots, but it is important that the pots can contain a lot of soil which can be saturated with water. Lemongrass should ideally always be in moist soil. So if the pot is too small the soil will dry out fast.
Although the easiest way is to grow the grass in capillary boxes. Capillary boxes can contain up to 50 litres of water, and therefore it can get by in long weekends and holidays. Place a plant in each hole. But maximum two plants per box since they get quite big.
Geranium gives a mix of joy, calmness, and energy. It gives us what we need when we smell it. It has a citrus scent and rose scent which at the same time has an uplifting and calming effect.
Roses smells lovely and can easily be grown in the greenhouse. For many years I have had a moss rose and a rambling rose, which have covered the roof of the house. Another good variety is the English Rose (also called Gertrude Jekyll).
The evergreen, fragrant myrtle whose flower is a symbol of fertility is an option. The plant can be shaped so it too can grace the pots out in the garden.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.
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