To quote the brilliant TV comedy The Fast Show, this week has been “Scorchio” and the temperature in my greenhouse has been in the thirties. Despite this, the lure of my new greenhouse is unshakeable.

This week I’m focussing my six on ornamental plants in the greenhouse. Some I’ve grown from seed but others have been impulse purchases that have surprised even me.

Come into my crystal palace and take a look

Medinilla Magnifica

This plant is a knockout and whilst it was fairly expensive I couldn’t resist and even bought two.  The leaves have an interesting elongated fluted shape and are glossy dark dark green.  The best thing about this plant though are the crazy dangling pink flowers, like overgrown pendulous earrings.

Ultimately I’d like to have them on a high shelf but right now with the heat as it is and the sun with its midsummer strength, I’m keeping them in a shadier low positions whilst I assess susceptibility to scorching.


Medinilla magnifica

The first is propped on an upturned wine box to make sure the flowers don’t dangle on the floor.

The second I’ve planted in a tall-boy container with my Gloriosa lilies.  There was a space at the front of the pot for a trailing plant and I’ve found just the plant.  Gloriosa and Medinilla are both show-off plants and combined I think they make the perfect stage-school duo.

Aechmea primera

If you’d said to me last week that I would buy this plant I’d have said you were off your rocker.

Part of the bromeliad family, it’s a relative of the pineapple. This pink pineappley efflorescence wouldn’t look out of place in a Carmen Miranda headpiece and just like Miranda, this plant hails from Brazil. Miranda was described as the ‘Brazilian Bombshell’ and this plant is a strong contender for that name also.

It’s other appealing feature is the white powdery coating on the leaves. It looks as if they’ve been dusted with icing sugar.

On paper I dislike this plant, but in my greenhouse my eyes are drawn to it every time and I absolutely love it.


Orange canna

Unlike the Aechmea, I’ve been a fan of Cannas for a very long time.  This year all my rhizomes overwintered well but despite this for some reason only this one sprouted.  My disappointment at the loss of so many of my plants is tempered by my joy at the colour of this flower – a proper tartrazine-filled, orange squash coloured bloom.

It’s loving the heat of the greenhouse and has therefore grown fast.  I usually plant my cannas out in the garden but I’ve decided to give this one a tropical holiday under glass.


Datura seedlings

I wrote in my Six on Saturday on 26.05.18 that I was planting a series of tropical seeds given to me by a friend.

Germination on my Datura was excellent with all 11 seeds supplied in the packet germinating.  They are in the same family as tomatoes and peppers and if you didn’t know otherwise the seedlings could be mistaken for Chilli peppers although every part of this plant is actually poisonous.  They are growing very fast and I hope to see flowers this year.

Datura in Zion National Park

I was very happy to see these plants growing wild in Zion National Park in the USA so thought I’d show you all a photo I took there last summer at sunrise, with white Datura in the foreground.


Protea seed packets

I was delighted to find germination in both seed trays of the two protea varieties I planted.  One is called Protea Telopea speciosissima ‘Waratah’ which is an unusual shaped burgundy flower from Australia.

Giant protea seedling Telopea speciosissima seedling

The other is the Giant or King Protea – protea cynaroides which is the national flower of South Africa.  Only one of the three Giant Protea supplied in the seed packet has geminated so far and it’s looking tiny and far from regal.

Given that germination was described on the seed packet as being “slow and erratic” I’m cock-a-hoop to find this one at all.

The name protea comes from the Greek God Proteus, who had the ability to change his shape and form at will and clearly there is great range in the protea family.  I have no idea how best to grow these on but I shall be researching it carefully to try and coax these amazing plants to flower.



Dahlia ‘Linda’s Baby’

Dahlia Linda's baby

This dahlia is planted up just outside my greenhouse and is pure joy.

It’s a new one for me to grow but already a firm favourite. I love the petal formation on this and the beautiful combination of baby pink and pale orange.  It’s been one of the first Dahlias to flower and already has three blooms on strong stems.

I don’t know who Linda was but her offspring would win any beautiful baby competition.


Six on Saturday is a weekly meme – take a look at the comments at the base of host The Propagator to see more ‘sixes’ from other keen gardeners from all over the world.