Whenever I entertain, I always fill my home with beautiful houseplants.
Houseplants bring life to any room. I love all kinds of container plants, and over the years I have amassed quite a collection of specimens. Most of my potted plants are kept in the greenhouse, where they can be nurtured properly, especially during colder seasons and times when I’m traveling. When preparing for a party, I like to decorate my home with a wide assortment of potted plants that provide interesting and expressive foliage. It’s an inexpensive way to add color and texture to any space. My head gardener, Ryan McCallister, selected a lovely collection of ferns, orchids, begonias and succulents to welcome my guests this weekend.
Enjoy these photos.
My green parlor looks so inviting decorated with container plants. Here is an Epidendrum orchid, or reed orchid, with two smaller begonias. These orchids thrive with medium to high light conditions and can do well in almost any temperature above 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
An identical trio of plants is in the another corner – all sitting on antique cast-iron pedestals.
This is a bird’s-nest fern, Asplenium nidus. Bird’s-nest fern is a common name applied to several related species of epiphytic ferns in the genus Asplenium.
It’s identified by the flat, wavy or crinkly fronds. For this gathering, I have one on each side of my fireplace in this room.
Here is another begonia – I love begonias, and have a large collection of specimens in my greenhouse. Begonias are remarkably resistant to pests primarily because their leaves are rich in oxalic acid – a natural insect repellent.
Don’t worry, this plant is alive and well – it is called Euphorbia platyclada, a fleshy succulent plant with flattened stems rising from a heavy rootstock, and branches that have an irregular, scab like texture.
If you like growing plants, but don’t really have the time to care for them properly, consider growing succulents. Succulents require very little maintenance. These plants are able to survive prolonged drought because they store moisture in their fleshy stems, roots, or leaves. And they grow in so many different and interesting formations.
On the table in my foyer are several potted sedums. Sedum, a large genus of flowering plants, are also known as stonecrops and are members of the succulent family.
Sedum have fleshy, water-storing leaves and are drought tolerant. I buy silver plate saucers whenever I see them at tag sales or garage sales – they look great underneath my houseplants.
Because of my busy work and travel schedule, I only have my plants in the house for special occasions – they are regularly kept in my greenhouse. Ryan brings them in a day or two before any gathering.
Lemon cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’, is among my favorite container plants with its bright green to chartreuse colored foliage, conical habit and lemon scent.
Here is another succulent. Most varieties need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. In extremely hot areas some afternoon shade is recommended. This one is planted in a gray pot made by Guy Wolff. http://www.guywolff.com
This is a potted Rhipsalis, with its long, drooping green stems. It is an epiphytic cactus that needs morning sun and afternoon shade. Rhipsalis is native to the rainforests of South America, the Caribbean and Central America. I have beautiful specimens in my greenhouse with stems hanging down at least 10-feet.
Here is a maidenhair fern, Adiantum. These soft and lacy ferns like to be kept moist, and away from direct sunlight which could burn their leaves.
Its genus name translates to “non wetting” and refers to the fronds’ ability to shed rainwater without becoming wet.
Ryan decided to place a couple begonias in my servery.
There are different types of begonias, including tuberous begonias, semperflorens begonias, rex begonias, and rhizomatous begonias. Rhizomatous begonias are grown for their interesting and spectacular leaves.
Caring for orchids can be daunting, but understanding their basic and unique needs, these beautiful plants can thrive in nearly any home. Paphiopedilum orchids are often called ‘slipper orchids’ because of their unique pouch-like flowers. These specimens are easily grown as houseplants, and look wonderful with their striking green leaves.
Here is a beautiful begonia in my Brown Room – look at its dramatic foliage of green and reddish-brown leaves. As with most begonias, its dainty flowers grow high above its leaves.
I love this vase of white peacock feathers – they are from my Black Shoulder Silver Pied peacock here at the farm.
This is Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’ – a dwarf myrtle native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe. A row of them looks so nice on the long dining table underplanted with moss.
For this dinner gathering, my longtime housekeeper, Laura Acuna, chose to set the table with a simple white and tan color palette.
There will be 18 of us sitting for dinner. My long dining table is set for 14.
And, the smaller table in this room will seat an additional four – everything looks so beautiful.