There is no lack of choice when it comes to selecting suitable means of heating the garden room. This can quite often he incorporated with the central heating of the house. Cost and suitability is again the major consideration, but whatever method is used it, must he adequate for the colder nights of the year; this may entail budgeting for a little more heat than is likely to he needed.
It is pointless to have adequate heating for 364 days of the year if on the 365th it should prove to he insufficient – one really cold night can put paid to an entire collection of plants. Advice on fitting out the interior can only he general as everyone’s taste will differ and arranging plants and interior decor is very much a personal matter. Whether plants are made permanent features by planting them in beds of compost on the floor, or portable by growing them in pots on raised staging, are also matters for individual taste.
Both these methods have their merits. Planted directly into beds of prepared compost, or with plant pots plunged to their rims in moist peat, plants will usually grow very: much more vigorously. However, left in their pots and placed on staging at waist level one can have the pleasure of rearranging plants, or using them for decoration in other parts of the house whenever required.
On the sunny south side larger plants were used so that they wOuld provide shade for other plants. These larger plants were mainly forms of ficus which developed a number of brown leaves at the beginning, but soon adapted them-selves to the rather hot position. In a matter of two years they went berserk and had to be drastically pruned hack to more manageable proportions.
One reason for the abundant growth was that roots had penetrated to the beds of peat, either through the bottom of the pot, or in some instances over the top. The free root-run and regular feed directed into the pots helped maintain active growth and colour. Of the plants installed the philodendrons, ficus and scheffleras proved to he the most satisfactory.
Stephanotis happily made its way to the top of high pillars and produced long strands of growth that flowered with reasonable freedom, but could not he fully appreciated from the floor below. Flower scent was missed and this, after all, is one of the major attractions of Stephanotis floribunda. A plant of Passiffora eaerulea on an adjacent pillar also got somewhat out of hand not unusual with this free-growing plant which, consequently, is not particularly suited to smaller garden rooms.