Atrium

9 Dec

Readers, I could use your imagination in deciding what to grow in the house once it’s finished. Me being me, i’ve taken advantage of the opportunity of remaking the house we bought in order to create a space for ridiculously large and exotic plants and I don’t want to miss a trick when it comes to choosing what to go for. Besides which, my horticultural know-how has been on the slide what with being between houses. 

First of all, an explanation of the space. Here’s a plan of the ground floor as it was. The detail in red indicates the parts which have been demolished.

Here is a plan of what we are replacing it with.

These are some photos I took on Thursday morning. 

View of the entrance from the indoor balcony to the master bedroom

View from the lounge. The steelwork is to support the balcony.

Girders for the balcony and skylight in the vaulted ceiling. Two windows have just been bricked up. The remaining one is to be the bathroom window.

The brick wall will be replaced entirely by glass.

You see that the place is a building site at the moment. But when it is done, we will have an atrium-like hallway. One side is to be entirely glazed, and there is a large roof light in place. The only structure at first floor level is an indoor balcony which is to link the master bedroom on one side of the house with the children’s bedrooms and bathroom on the other side. With 220 square feet of glass illuminating a twenty foot high space, indoors, I can really go to town with characterful planting.

But what to go for? In terms of palms, I thought first of climbers, for instance the genus Calamus. They grow like crazy and have nasty thorns. But  it’s likely that they won’t take kindly to the change in seasons or the lack of humidity, so a bit more research took me over to the fishtail palms, which are also fast growers with a form atypical of palms. They aren’t fully tropical either, as I understand it. Caryota mitis could be the one to seek out. 

Certainly i’ll be growing a brugmansia in there. My cutting of “Tropical Fantasy” failed to survive being owned by me, but a double or triple bloomed brugmansia would be nice, so i’ll see if my local supplier can supply me with the same again or similar. The fragrance would be good and strong indoors. 

Fragrance is something else I am focusing on. Cananga odorata? Plumeria?

Lastly, I have been thinking in terms of flowers, with Chiranthodendron – the monkey hand tree – an option.

What would you grow?

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3 Responses to “Atrium”

  1. Trillium December 9, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    If it were me, I’d look at bougainvillea vines. They do well in the Caribbean, where it’s dry in winter and moister in summer. Also, what about tropical fruit trees? Dragonfruit? It’s a cactus, isn’t it?

    • thechthonianlife December 9, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

      Just yesterday, the Succulents and More blog featured a garden which grows dragon fruit. It’s something i’d been hoping to try at some point. A friend of mine just returned from spending time in Mauritius with her relatives. She said she’d get up in the morning and pick lychees and mango from the back garden and have them for breakfast. That’s food for thought! The strange coincidence is that yesterday, when I bought my train ticket to work, someone had left a banana on top of the ticket machine. Somehow it isn’t quite the same.

      Bougainvillea, i’d have to go white or orange. The pinks don’t sit right with me. It would definitely be worth a go.

      • Trillium December 10, 2016 at 5:13 am #

        There are red bougainvilleas, too. I have one that I’ve been fighting for 3 years with to get a location that it likes so it’ll bloom for me. I think that this year I’ll put it in its pot inside the corner where the addition meets the old house. It’s really hot there! Right now, it is sitting by a south window on the kitchen table and getting lots of new leaves after a good pruning. It bloomed quite well this summer, but nowhere as well as it would have done in Belize!

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