Harness the power of the greenhouse effect
I asked houseplant oracle Jane Perrone (listen to her excellent podcast On the Ledge) what she would grow in a greenhouse.
“I have a potting shed-cumgreenhouse. It’s unheated so I overwinter my hardier succulents: some aloes like Aloe aristata and
A. polyphylla, plus my agaves that will survive to -5C if they’re kept dry. I also keep tender perennials like salvias and scented geraniums under glass. With more space I’d plant a cactus and succulent desert garden, but they’d need good ventilation and heat”.
Perrone reminded me that citrus hate coming into a centrally heated house where they’re prone to sooty moulds, scale insects and whitefly, and prefer a cooler spot. Meyer lemons and grapefruit are the hardiest, but keep fleece handy for more tender fruit if the temperature plummets.
Container-grown mangos, pomegranates, avocados and loquats (from rare-exotic-plants. co.uk) can all overwinter in a greenhouse. I’d also grow cardamom, climbing Vanilla planifolia and black pepper, ginger (Zingiber officinale, below) and lemon grass (from spice soticplants.co.uk): all are wildly exotic, and useful for cooking.
A traditional walled garden with a modern greenhouse in accoya wood and aluminium by Cultivar WORKING AT HOMEA Wisley greenhouse by Hartley Botanic; pottering with plants can be a great stress buster in winter HOTHOUSE A greenhouse can provide extra living space for people as well as plants