Today, the second day of spring, is the finale to my “Inspiring Garden Design” series. One can’t forget that the garden we bring indoors in the winter is deserving of consideration also. There are many names for this welcome space — solarium, garden room, sun porch, conservatory — but I think we’re all in agreement that somehow, we find a way to make plants feel “at home” in the colder months, and bring in more sunlight for ourselves, too.
At Parterre, our intimate glassed in, stone floor “porch” opens right off the southern-facing sunroom. Long French doors make the statement that this space was part of the original planning when we built our home eighteen years ago. We view our “porch” as the best of both worlds — it serves as a quasi greenhouse (but tidy and neat) and also an easily accessible extra room that’s light and bright.
A slightly sloped blue stone floor with a center drain makes watering easy and yet doesn’t interrupt the semblance of a decorated space. Whimsical, wonky plants are in equally characterized containers.
A cotton quilt over a round corner table softens the stone and stucco surrounds, while the alabaster lamp provides a humorous taste of Gilded Age excess.
I’ve been a fan of Bunny Mellon for years (even before I became serious about gardening and garden design) and was thrilled to be able to purchase two of her Oak Spring books when they first were published in 1990.
But there was another special reason for wanting this specific room as part of the original house plan…providing the proper setting for a pair of elegant bronze grates acquired from a home in Wilmington, Delaware when we had lived there as young marrieds.
The garden room is intentionally not too large, but offers refuge to some treasured plants, like the bountiful “mother fern” fronting one of the grates. Come summer, the pair will grace the shady Black and White Garden.
To pick up on the formal note of the bronze grates, two round niches over each outside door contain a bust on a wooden plinth.
Last but certainly not least, in its own cozy corner a two year old “flapjack” succulent blooms enthusiastically, trying to gain its share of attention.
Wishing you many sunny days this spring!