The wealthy Victorians and Edwardians had their winter gardens ( the one above is at the Biltmore House) -- steam-heated, glass roofed conservatories filled with palms and ferns and blooming flowers. One could relax in the moist heat, enjoy the comfortable wicker furniture, and wait for the butler to bring tea. Fragrant China tea in fragile porcelain, thin little sandwiches of cucumber or cress, crustless, and delicious, and a lovely cake or two -- perhaps a Victoria sponge and a lemon cake. A little something to get one through the long winter afternoon.
My winter garden is on a more modest scale but still it provides refreshment. There are orchids and primroses on our dining table and it's a lovely place to sit on a cold morning -- especially if the sun is shining.
Alas, the butler seems to be on permanent vacation but I fix myself a big mug of coffee and enjoy the flowers.
Orchids are such show-offs. But they aren't particularly demanding -- these were birthday presents purchased at the local grocery store and suited to the meanest gardening intelligence. Their accompanying label tells you to water them by putting three ice cubes on them once a week. That's it. And they last and last -- six months sometimes. If you want to get all green thumb and actually fertilize them, they'll often bloom again.
Primroses are another grocery store treasure. So cheerful and when spring comes they can be planted outside. Unlike the orchids they require frequent watering but when that's all the garden you have, it's not so difficult.
Even a modest winter garden can be a delight!
LV - January 2012
5 years ago