Not everyone given the choice between an old and new house will make the same decision. One person, without the slightest hesitation, will choose a modern house: after all, it is planned for efficiency is easier to keep clean and it probably has central heating. Another will prefer an old house. The room arrangement is less predictable, it usually has lots of interesting nooks and crannies, and room which, with imagination and relatively little effort, can be turned into something really personal and special. Another plus point with old house is that they often have a conservatory adjoining the main living room. They consist largely of glass panels and serve as an airy portal between house and garden.
Conservatory is specifically designed for the cultivation of plants under ideal conditions, although the glass panels should be hermetically sealed if the area is to be free of draughts. A great deal of rebuilding has been going on since the 1920’s to make these rambling old houses warmer. But even in houses where the conservatory has disappeared, its former location is nearly always recognizable by a skylight.
The majority of plants are extremely happy with this type of overhead light-after all, this is primarily where it comes from in their natural environment. Plants will always turn towards the sunlight. This universal habit can be turned to advantage with plants living in the more diffused light of a house because the tend to crowd each other near a vertical window.
Overhead light is especially beneficial to epiphytes-plants that grow independently on other, larger species, without drawing nutrients from them. This is the natural habit of many orchid species that nestle in the crowns or between the branches of trees in the forests, sheltering under dense foliage where the light is always filtered. Moreover, many varieties of orchid grow in extremely humid regions. So, whoever plan humid regions. So, whoever plans to grow these exotic flowers should be able to provide them with a permanently moist atmosphere, for the will definitely not be satisfied by sporadic misting with a fine spray.
Which other plants will be happy in the conservatory depends on its dimensions and on your own personal taste. Ferns make excellent ground plants, also under a glass roof. They flourish naturally as ground cover in the forests and woodlands.
If you intend to make full use of a conservatory, or even a modest lean-to with a skylight, it is essential to provide it with good sun-screens, as the heat of noonday sun is too much of good thing or the majority of plants. One really attractive solutions is to train climbing plants up the outside of the glass. However, not all species are suitable for this purpose, since it is necessary that they drop their leaves in winter. During this season plants in our climate have more need of sunlight than of sun-screens.