It has been a year since we built our conservatory and now we are not sure how we ever managed without it. Every morning we drink tea in there and when we have guests it is the place we are most likely to congregate in.
With four teenagers and two adults in our family a few conflicts and arguments are unavoidable. Yet we have never had any disagreements in the conservatory. Somehow the abundance of greenery, the multicoloured light streaming through the recycled bottle walls and the calm atmosphere seems to make it impossible to raise our voices in anger.
What we have created is a sacred sanctuary where everyday worries and troubles melt away. Reading, knitting, sketching and relaxing becomes even more enjoyable and the light is perfect for these kinds of activities.
We started planting the place up in earlyspring and now, six months later the whole room is transformed into a verdant, tropical oasis. Most plants are planted right into the dirt floor and the paths consist of large stone slabs set in sand.
We are growing figs, lemons, pineapple sage, pelargoniums, passion fruit, roses and olives among other things.
Where the outside earth bank continues into the space we have made a rockery of sorts and filled it with many different succulents. They love their dry and bright habitat and have put on fantastic growth in the last ten months.
Ferns are another of our passions and they like the shadier parts of the floor beds where they have colonized every available space.
If you are thinking about building a conservatory you should stop thinking and just start building. We used recycled materials for our space, car tyres, stones and rocks from the land, found tiles, reclaimed windows and lots of glass bottles and jars. The only expensive part was the polycarbonate roof, but considering how the conservatory acts as a buffer and insulator towards the elements and thus reduces our heating costs we believe it is money well spent. We have written about construction and materials used in this, this and this post.
We honestly cannot imagine our home without this addition anymore. In the West of Ireland the rain is a big part of most days and it is such a blissful feeling to sit amongst all the beautiful plants, listening to the raindrops hitting the roof and exist in a space that is neither outside nor inside but something in between. Flowers bloom the whole year around and many of them only come into their best in the autumn. At the moment we are waiting for the spectacular bright red flowers on the pineapple sage to open.