I have finally settled on placing the new greenhouse towards the end of the mixed border quite near the large wooden greenhouse (putting it here means I can align it north south which is preferable to east west). However before reaching this decision I weighed up a large number of possible sites, all of which are illustrated below – apologies in advance for the weeds!
I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it. My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it. If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.
By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to. All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!
I am very sorry for not posting anything for a while but this blog tends to be the Cinderella of all the ones I write. I usually post to my literary blogs on a regular basis (I am not sure if these are the ugly sisters!) and the art ones only slightly less frequently but this one – despite by passion for plants, animals and the landscape of Southern England – gets ignored!
I must also confess to not gardening enough during the summer months. Up to quite recently it was blistering hot and as my studio was much cooler it became even more enticing than usual! I did take a handful of photographs over the summer months which I will share over the next few weeks. I may try and post one photo a day to see if I can build up some kind of momentum – we shall see!
However the picture below is from much longer ago and illustrates my very first greenhouse: which was made from corrugated PVC and purchased in the Sixties and an Alton greenhouse I bought a bit later in my middle teens (with a bit of help from my parents!). The small greenhouse was heated by a blue flame paraffin heater and housed Chrysanthemums in the autumn, lettuce et al through the winter, bedding plants in the spring and tomatoes etc. during the summer months. The larger greenhouse was initially heated by a coal fired hot water pipe system – which unfortunately caught the greenhouse on fire and then by electricity. It housed the start of my cacti and succulent collection and a large selection of pot plants; most of which I grew from seed.
The frames housed overwintering bulbs, vegetable seedlings and other small plants. The rest of the garden, and a very large allotment, belonged to my father.
My wife June looks after the tiny front garden of our rented property. It really is small with a large cherry laurel hedge at the front and our neighbour’s shrubs to the side. The soil is extremely poor but we are doing our best to improve it. The borders in front of the bay window and in front of the hedge tend to be a bit dry particularly in the summer months, however there is a nice show of spring flowers at the moment despite the bad weather – hopefully it will be even better next year.
My wife and I went for the long walk to our local garden centre on Tuesday of last week. The weather was sunny and so mild I never needed my hat (a big thing considering my paucity of hair!), wore flip flops instead of shoes and my coat was more of a hindrance than a necessity.
This week it has been bitterly cold with an extremely strong flesh searing East wind and snow – thankfully, unlike many parts of Southern England, it didn’t settle here. It is supposed to get milder over the weekend and then cold again next week! Ouch!!
As a happy reminder of last week’s pleasant day here are a handful of photographs I took (with my mobile phone and the flowers are a bit out of focus – sorry about that!).
The aconites came and went in January and were the first plants in flower in the garden this year – excluding the obvious like winter flowering Viburnum and Christmas Roses. The aconites actually flowered so quickly I never managed to get a photograph even though I often have a mobile phone in my pocket. Going off at a tangent this isn’t so annoying as seeing a pair of young otters on a river bank in the middle of town last year and not getting my phone out of my pocket in time!
I planted a number of Iris reticulata hyrbrids in tubs in October last year (along with species tulips and dwarf narcissi – both lots coming up) and they have been in flower since the end of last month, one plant flowering very early and the rest more gradually later. Strangely one pot is flowering better than the other – hopefully there is nothing untoward going on in the other one.