Today we’re visiting Kris and Bob Sislow’s indoor tropical paradise in Riverwoods, Illinois.
We submitted pictures of our summer gardens a few years ago and decided now to send pictures of our winter garden, which is in an attached heated greenhouse. Living in Zone 5 in the northern suburbs of Chicago, we move in all the potted lantana trees, alocasia, begonias, succulents, and other various plants. We have a potted jacaranda, red powder puff tree, large and small flowered tibouchina urvilleana, bougainvillea, and others. It’s a joy to look out from our family room and see blooming Christmas cactus, camelias, clivias, and more. The cool greenhouse climate keeps the plants blooming for a bit longer. We love gardening and are always on the lookout for unusual plants or seeds, whether they are challenging to grow in this zone or not. We’ll be planting some of our flower and vegetable seeds soon, a sure welcome sign of the coming spring.
A jungle of greenery in the greenhouse. I think everyone living in a cold climate would love to have a space like this!
Hanging baskets of Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera sp.) are loaded up with blooms in a photo that also includes a diverse group of plants. Cool conditions help make the flowers of these and other flowering plants last much longer than usual.
A camellia, possibly the variety ‘Yuletide’ (Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’, Zones 7–10). Camellias are a great choice for a cool, northern greenhouse. They bloom during the winter, when you need color the most, and since more of them are hardy to Zone 7 or 8, a minimally heated, or even unheated, greenhouse is sufficient to keep them happy and flowering in even the coldest climates.
Here’s a wide view of the greenhouse, which is loaded up with flowers.
Clear shelving allows for the maximum number of plants to be packed into the space.
Red powder puff tree (Calliandra haematocephala, Zones 9–11) in flower.
One last view of the greenhouse. If you are sick of the snow, maybe you need one of these!
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