Hartley Magazine

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

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 […]

Chinese Lanterns in your greenhouse

For a wonderful display in your greenhouse or conservatory all winter through you just cannot beat Chinese Lanterns. These are long stems festooned with numerous orange ‘flowers’ and so called as they so closely resemble brilliantly coloured paper decorations. Also known as Bladder Cherries Physalis alkekengi really are most distinctive and have been grown since […]

Spider lilies and Peruvian Daffodils

You need a heated greenhouse or conservatory where the temperature never drops below 20°C/70°F to safely grow these rare bulbous plants known in Latin as Hymenocallis. Very closely related to Amaryllis (note the similar strap like leaves) these are amongst the most beautiful of flowers carrying a heavy vanilla perfume to add to their pristine […]

Apios, hopniss, a forgotten gem

Apios is one of those forgotten greenhouse gems seldom come across nowadays. It was once very popular in late Victorian times for the violet scent from the small racemes of purplish flowers. However after the First World War the shortage of labour and its slight tenderness made this plant unattractive. Indeed in the UK it […]

Long flowering guaranteed (Polygala)

Polygala x Dalmaisiana is a superb choice for conservatories and cool greenhouses with beautiful purple pea like blooms throughout much of the year. These decorative flowers are produced almost continuously along the ends of lax stems of attractive grey green evergreen foliage. Not so much an impressive centre piece perhaps but excellent as the supporting […]

There’s no point to this yucca

An extremely architectural glass-house and house-plant is Yucca elephantipes, the Spineless Yucca or Palm-lily. This is a closely related species to Adam’s Needle (Y. filamentosa), the hardy Yucca of the open garden. Don’t worry the Palm-lily does not have such cruelly pointed leaves. There is still a vestigial point to each but nowhere near as […]