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We spend so much time in our greenhouses yet overlook the potential to personalise the space but a greenhouse with a bespoke touch can enhance your hobby further and even add to the aesthetics of a garden.
Of course work in a greenhouse is usually focused on production and results as it’s the return on our investment in time that urges many of us to return again and again. Those who have embraced the greenhouse as a place to relax as well as work find that productivity increases and even on the darkest days the greenhouse still calls from the cold.
Nature for Nurture
A permanent greenhouse can become part of the family as it is an escape to empty the mind, a provider of delicious produce and a place that nurtures nature in all its glory. There are some perennial additions you can add to make your greenhouse work throughout the winter too.
Although some grape vines will grow easily outdoors, the greenhouse can produce the plumpest fruit as the glass shelters from the elements while the grapes ripen early drenched from the sun. To incorporate a vine into your greenhouse, consider planting directly into the ground, or even planting outside and leading the vines inside. This ensures that the vine needs little mulching and water is never in short supply, in fact the most famous vines commended by the Royal Horticultural Society recommend this method.
Your greenhouse should be quite large to accommodate, however vines can easily be trained across the ceiling or against a back wall so the rest of your produce doesn’t suffer at all.
Exotic fruit trees are undoubtedly a treat for the greenhouse gardener as succulent sun ripened fruit such as peaches, kiwis, melons and citrus suddenly become available when they weren’t attainable before.
Nothing tastes better than picking a juicy ripe peach in a greenhouse at the start of the summer; however watch for wasps as you take a bite as they love the nectar as much as we do!
All of these trees can be trained flat against a far wall, preferably south facing, this ensures they receive full sun while other plants can stand easily in front of the glass. Once trained, a fruit tree in a greenhouse can almost be forgotten about as it becomes part of the structure, blending with the pots and propagation tools, as if it provides the frame for the greenhouse itself.
Many greenhouse owners store their tools, compost and trays in a corner of the greenhouse or in a different place entirely as no matter how large the greenhouse is there’s always a use for every inch of space.
Great storage can enhance the experience as it can keep everything close to hand so that when you step inside your greenhouse you’ve simply got all you need.
The best storage solution involves very little work and very little money, yet it’s so affective without losing the light that it’s a wonder many don’t adopt it.
Simply make a wide shelf 30cms from the ground along the full length of the greenhouse. You can build on this to add more shelves complete with a workbench for potting plants while the first shelf will ensure seedlings are always drenched with sun.
Then buy (or make) containers with wheels on. These can be bought for pennies from any hardware store, usually plastic; they’re sold as “under bed storage”. These are ideal for storing compost (especially as they have airtight lids), seeds, feed, bulbs, trays, pots, tools and any other items you’d like to keep close to hand.
You’ll never have to battle with the garden sheers and the lawn mower to get to your greenhouse apparatus again!
There’s absolutely no reason why your greenhouse shouldn’t be as welcoming as your home, as it is the most important structure of your entire garden. Children will love to learn how to pot up seedlings while even the family pet will choose to lie languidly outside the entrance on a cloudy day.
Your greenhouse often holds a wide array of exotic plants that are not ready or capable of being planted indoors and so it’s only fitting that you receive recognition for you hard work by drawing eyes to the door.
Treat the door to your greenhouse as a mini patio by placing some pots and ornaments around. The pots could be your testers for the first planting out of annuals, so you benefit first from the stunning displays.
With a clever use of hooks you can even create window boxes or have troughs lines the floor filled with flowers you’ve grown from seed.
You’ll also add a touch of luxury if you invest in a comfortable garden chair so when the work is done you can sit back and enjoy the view from outside.
Pollination is one of the most difficult tasks of the greenhouse gardener as with plants growing inside many have to be pollinated by hand. This can be effective but rarely replaces the real thing and with the humble bee dying out as landscapes are flattened, we must strive to conserve as many as possible in our own gardens.
Perennials planted around the greenhouse can encourage these natural pollinators, for example:
Buddleia – In particular the Buddleia Davidii which produces huge great cone like purple flowers year after year. Be mindful of growth as although it is undoubtedly glorious it can grow to quite a size.
Foxgloves – Bees adore the trumpet like flowers of the foxglove.
Lavender – Bees adore all varieties of lavender and some honey farmers plant this to give the honey a unique taste
Daffodils and Bluebells – Although short lived, bees adore these spring flowers from bulbs.
Flowers that are quite intricate and complex will deter bees as they like a straight route direct to the pollen and of course, if you leave a window open, they’ll pollenate the plants inside the greenhouse too.
A Sustainable Source
A water butt in a garden is no longer a luxury it is a necessity especially for saving the environment and reducing the household bills. A water butt placed directly outside the greenhouse will ensure you have the purest rainwater on hand for your seedlings and plants. Orchids especially, along with Venus fly traps prefer rainwater to tap, as the fluoride and chemicals in tap water can damage their growth.
To maximise the amount you receive, consider adding a small gutter to your greenhouse, it won’t take a lot of space and if it directs the rain to the butt on just one side you could find you receive three times as much water than with a freestanding barrel alone.