Hartley Magazine

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

Cold Hardy Cactus: Opuntia with punch!

Part of the delight in growing hardy cactus, for me anyway, comes in not having to move pot-grown specimens into the conservatory as the temperature drops. The hardy sorts of opuntia (aka prickly pear cactus) are especially attractive and common throughout the intermountain and prairie regions of the West. Opuntia aurea, hardy from Zone 5-10, […]

Cold-hardy cactus for extreme gardening

Every garden I’ve visited has taught me something new. Be it a tropical conservatory that reveals an exotic plant I’d never before seen, or a hard-working greenhouse that tutors me in a growing technique to raise better plants, it all makes for a smarter garden and gardener. For example, at Hunting Brook garden in Ireland, […]

People and Glasshouses

Glasshouses have long been pivotal to advances in architectural engineering, marrying old traditions with the new technological advances. For example, The Palm House, the centerpiece of the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, opened in 1848 as a repository of the world’s plant diversity flooding in from all corners of the Empire and beyond. In 1851, Queen […]

Conservatory gardening for modern life

Living in a house built in 1958, the design of which borrows heavily from California architect, Cliff May, I am only too aware that a glasshouse structure suited to mid-century modern style needs to be spare in form and more committed to defining architectural space than serving as a decorative ornament. Having gone through several […]

Immigrant Gardeners and Tastes of Home

Some years ago I wrote a book titled The Art of the Kitchen Garden about the evolution of fruit and vegetable growing and cookery from the 15th to the 18th century. Greenhouses evolved in part, I learned, from the introduction in the 17th century to Europe of the exotic pineapple, which quickly went from oddity […]

Conservatories and Conservation the Rancho Gordo Way

These days, more than ever, words matter. And in the realm of this column I got to wondering about the meaning of conservatory, which is more complex, it turns out, than the one for greenhouse. The latter is pretty much self-explanatory, a house where green things grow. But on turning to my copy of the […]

Conservatory Glazing: an arts and crafts approach

Stained glass windows have been around a good deal longer than conservatories, yet it would seem that the two have something to offer each other. Wafting around the National Botanic Garden of Ireland in September, I was fulfilling a bucket list item; I’d long known about but never visited the graceful Curvilinear Range and its […]

Bonsai in Glasshouses

Phillip Johnson’s “Glasshouse” in New Haven, Connecticut, is one of the icons of mid-century modern architecture. Steel-framed and glass-walled (hence its popular name) it seamlessly blends indoors and outdoors. It’s sophisticated simplicity has been the pattern for much early-21st century design. The photograph below, from my book, The Midcentury Modern Landscape,  shows a Johnson-inspired modernist […]

Mulch, Mulches, Mulching.

Mulch: the magic M-word that every gardener should know and practice, in the garden and even in the conservatory. Why mulch? Some may think that mulch is just cosmetic, improving the looks of a garden. That it does, but it’s main attraction is far more complex­­—and interactive set of attributes that keep the garden looking […]