Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

The tastiest fruit in the world?

You need a greenhouse to crop Feijoas though not to grow these as ornamental evergreen shrubs. For these are fairly hardy, tougher than thought. I’ve had a couple surviving outdoors here in Norfolk for twenty plus years which have never fruited. First introduced from S. America in 1898 these are found in Botanic gardens though […]

Perfect plant for Dinosaur garden

Often your glasshouse or conservatory collection will have a theme be it edible, scented or just all orange flowers. I have had several queries recently on plants typical of when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.  An interesting question as if you want actual survivors from that period then the selection is rather limited and of course contains […]

Chilean Butterfly flowers

Also known as Fringe flowers and Poor man’s orchids Schizanthus are a glorious way of filling a glasshouse with summer colour. Coming from S. America this small genus related to potatoes derives both common and scientific names from pretty pansy like blooms. These have split corollas and look much like orchids, and even more like […]

Every greenhouse gets an Oxalis sooner or later

Now here’s a genus I promise you are going to grow at least one species of some day. You may already have one. A delightful purple leaved miniature clover like creeping plant, Yellow Oxalis, Oxalis corniculata. It’s one of the commonest of greenhouse weeds, which means it’s seldom thought desirable. Okay, it does spread invasively […]

Schefflera, Queensland Umbrella trees

The Queensland Umbrella tree, Schefflera is an evergreen greenhouse or conservatory shrub come small tree distantly related to ivy. Given good conditions a plant under cover may flower and berry though it’s for the somewhat hand shaped and handsome foliage this is cultivated. Originally from Australasia these distinctive ornamental shrubs have proved popular in subtropical […]

These are here, there, everywhere

Okay I admit of all glasshouse and conservatory plants Ficus benjamina might be considered one of the less flamboyant. Indeed this is just a foliage plant, mind you what lovely clean glossy foliage and on such delightfully neat shrubs. Tough and reliable benjaminas have long proved popular with gardeners and indoor decorators just because they […]

Echeverias, houseleeks from sunnier climes

“Why are you growing houseleeks in your greenhouse?” said a friend looking at some Echeverias I had around the base of a Bougainvillea. An easily made mistake for these are a fine example of parallel evolution. Houseleeks are temperate plants designed to survive conditions as harsh and impoverished as crevices of dirt on rock-piles or […]

African violets, pretty, tough but fickle

Okay of the many tender glasshouse plants Saintpaulias can be one of the trickiest. Yet almost everyone knew an aunt with a massive old African violet enduring on for years blooming almost perpetually. It will have been the original blueish violet flowered Saintpaulia ionantha, and it was probably set on a table in some north […]