Hartley Magazine

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

Written in United States

Gardens for Moonlight and Memory

The first full moon of 2020 fell on January 10. It was quite spectacular, like every full moon in the Southwest, from low desert to high plains, foothills to mountain tops. Sitting in my sunroom cum conservatory, peering out into the garden on a mild winter night, I was enchanted by the ethereal glow the silvery light […]

Written in United States

Winter Gardening (and wool-gathering)

At the advent of solstice as I sit in my sunroom/conservatory, staring out over a snowy landscape that’s framed by a sapphire blue sky, with the sun beating down on the Rockies and the neighborhood buried under a foot of white fluffy stuff, thoughts turn to the coming year’s gardening: Will the Woodward junipers that […]

Written in United States

African Violets: America’s Favorite Houseplant

One of the attractions that’s fed the “influencer’s” fiendish passion for promoting houseplants is probably that, in general, it’s hard to kill one – a houseplant that is. Anywhere that you are comfortable, be it conservatory, greenhouse or light-filled room, so will be whatever pet plant(s) you nurture. Three years ago, I acquired a rubber-tree […]

Written in United States

Urban Orchards: a rethink

It’s been an exceptional season for peaches; my battered old tree produced its juiciest crop of fat, red ‘Elberta’ peaches ever—at least the ones that survived the squirrels. Daily combat with these rogue rodents reminded me of the fruit trees I’d seen grown in conservatories in England, often as espaliers against a warm wall. Protected […]

Written in United States

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, […]

Written in United States

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, […]

Written in United States

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 […]

Written in United States

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 […]

Written in United States

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 […]