Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
My houseplants definitely benefit from a summer holiday outdoors. Under nature’s ideal growing conditions, they recover from the rigors and frustrations of home life, and gain strength and vigor for the winter ahead. Although the plants must be sheltered from strong winds and sudden hail-storms (and kept near a hose to facilitate watering), I still have great fun finding decorative ways to display them in the garden.
Full Sun – My zonal geraniums, dwarf citrus, miniature roses and other sun-worshippers are placed in the kitchen garden. I find it easier to plunge the pots right up to their rims in the raised beds there, for then roots remain cool, and there is no danger of tipping during a storm. To keep worms from entering through drainage holes, plunged pots are set on inverted saucers.
A cast-iron urn makes pleasant summer quarters for this Boston Fern in the shady Secret Garden
Shade – Begonias, impatiens, and fancy-leaved geraniums go in the Serpentine Garden, grouped in circles beneath crabapple and cherry trees, where the light is dappled. Ferns, sweet olive, maranta, spider plant, piggy-back plant and vines such as grape ivy and hedera helix are set in the Secret Garden, which is almost all shade. I like to tuck my vines, still in their clay pots,into moss-lined baskets, and suspend them from the low branches of trees.
Here, a prayer-plant (maranta) looks appropriately tropical in the crotch of a wild cherry tree. A length of wire holds the pot securely in place.
As a rule, houseplants on summer holiday require daily watering; during periods of high heat, usually July and August, watering is a twice-a-day affair.