Bring the outdoors in: Our guide to bringing your garden in for autumn & winter.Published on 9th October 2014
We’ve had an unexpectedly good start to autumn this year; September was glorious, but if the weather forecasters are to be believed, October is likely to be a whole lot more seasonally appropriate. While wind and rain are all part and parcel of the gardening calendar, not all of us are happy to embrace them, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to put your green fingers in a box of straw to hibernate for the winter!
Growing indoors may seem limiting, but there is still plenty to keep the horticulturally-minded occupied. Windowsills offer a world of opportunity; a bright and airy Apropos conservatory can become a veritable nursery; and even cool, dark cellars and broom cupboards can offer an unexpected opening for some urban gardening. The trick is to find the right project for you and your home.
How to Create an Indoor Garden
- What have you got? – A key tenet of successful gardening is that you need to put the right plant in the right place, so if you only have a cold, tenebrous room to grow in, you can knock the idea of orchids on the head. Equally, you’re never going become a member of the Pteridological (fern) Society if you only have a warm, south-facing windowsill to use. It pays to think about your available growing space, and research the plants that will flourish there, before you spend time and money on a doomed project.
- What do you want – It’s commonly said that ‘a weed is only a plant in the wrong place’, so make sure that you’re growing things that will please you. There are plenty of edibles to be grown indoors, even in winter, but if flowers or foliage are your thing, there’s really nothing to stop you.
- Let the fun begin – Due consideration given to the above, it’s time to get stuck in. Like every good boy and girl scout, indoor gardeners need to be prepared:
- Clear your space
- Purchase the right soil
- Disinfect any old pots you’re thinking of using
- Invest in an indoor greenhouse if you need one
- If you’re thinking big – a planted fish pond in the centre of the conservatory, an indoor desertscape complete with cacti – draw up a plan and formulate a budget.
- Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty!
Edibles: Radishes and smaller carrot varieties are happy in pots; salad leaves and most herbs (parsley, basil, coriander, rosemary, sage, lemongrass) can be grown year-round; a wide variety of mushrooms could flourish in your under-stairs cupboard; peas, dwarf beans and chillies will love a warm, bright conservatory.
Plants for flowers: Orchids; bromeliads; tacca chantrieri ‘black bat plant’; African violet; Christmas cactus; hibiscus; scented jasmine; begonias.
Plants for foliage: Ferns; heart-leaf philodendron; weeping fig; mother-in-law’s tongue; English ivy; oxalis (which also boasts pretty flowers).
Low-maintenance plants: Cacti; peace lily; spider plant; jade plant; rubber tree; areca palm.
Project plants: Bonsai (easier than you might think); carnivorous plants; build a green wall; create a Wardian case; design a miniature alpine garden.