Gardening: Totally tropical

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Before northerners went on holiday abroad, the likes of Bridlington or Morecambe offered little in the way of memorable souvenirs. A stick of lettered rock didn’t last long, and an ashtray writ large with the names of the resort soon lost its magic.

Nowadays, we can bring the world back to Doncaster and Barnsley and have something that will always remind us of the sun, sea, sand and whatever else was on offer thousands of miles from Yorkshire.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a heated greenhouse or, better still, a conservatory, souvenirs can grow their way into long-lived and long-loved reminders of happy times.

So, bring a little of the heat of the tropics to your home with the vividly coloured flowers of Mandevilla, a climbing perennial vine, normally at home in the tropical woodlands of Central and South America where it has the right soil and the right weather to help it climb and cling and produce masses of stunning blooms.

In Yorkshire, of course, things are a bit different than they are in Costa Rica or Guatemala, so it’s up to you – the owner – to ensure that your Mandevilla gets the right-sized container filled with sandy, well-draining soil mixed with plenty of organic matter.

Then position it where it can make the most of what this county offers in the way of natural light – these vines love bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight, so always ensure that they have some protection from direct sun magnified through glass or polycarbonate.

Then, to get the best flowers throughout the summer, water your vine with a high-phosphorous fertilizer once every two week. Give it a trellis or support for it to clamber and climb, and it will be as happy as if it were back home in the lushness of Central America.

It’s possible to grow this tender perennial outdoors in a sheltered spot, but once the temperature threatens to fall below 60F, bring it indoors and give it a good going-over – preferably cutting it back by a third.

Water it sparingly throughout winter, then, after repotting the plant in March, moderately until April when growth becomes vigorous. When the temperature promises to remain above 60F, you can take it outdoors again for the summer and dream you’re back on holiday in sunnier climes.