Our conservatory is no hothouse; we only keep the frost out. But such a relatively warm autumn, with endless sunny days, kept it on the boil week after week until a score of things were flowering at once. We rarely get a chance like this to play with colours in winter. One group of pots worked specially well: the golden yellow flower of Allamanda cathartica, like a big jasmine without the scent, the lemon yellow spike of Salvia madrensis and the cool lime-yellow bells of Correa backhouseana. The pinky red C. pulchella is a Christmas cliché; its cousin a much cooler plant in every sense. A tall Camellia, the early-flowering C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’, with white lowers 10cm wide, framed the picture. Scent is not normally a feature of camellias. But sniffing ‘Narumigata’ makes me think it’s just as well.
Snug under glass Posted on February 1, 2007
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