My garden seems to belong to two eras: before and after the hurricane. Before the hurricane, I had a wonderful greenhouse. Twenty or so feet long and 15 feet wide (I sorry, but I belong to the pre-decimal era). It had a two foot, L-shaped raised bed, an inside water tank, electric light, and staging and it was made out of wood. The hurricane took the wood and glass off somewhere… What with children, parish council, and other commitments it never got replaced – until last year that is.
After two years of growing outdoor tomatoes and more half-hardy fuchsias than I could
accommodate indoors, it was time to reassess the situation. I’d saved a bit of money, so spent a few weeks drinking tea with friends who had greenhouses and inspecting theirs. Choosing the right greenhouse can be tricky: Aluminium or wood, and what size?
Surfing online for greenhouse providers, it soon became clear that what I needed was a wooden one. Price for price there wasn’t much in it, but the bonus of the wooden frame was that two very nice men came and erected it. Wood is easier to knock in nails or cup hooks too. Yes, these are important so that there’s something to fix tomato canes to, especially if grow bags are used.
All I had to do is convince my husband to build a good solid base, just a bit bigger than the
greenhouse. The one I chose was 6 foot by 10 foot – mainly because I couldn’t afford a larger one.
We sited it with the door facing west – just because that was the way I would be approaching it –
on a good clear patch of the old orchard. I would have preferred to have the water butt at the front, but apparently the design meant that the guttering fell towards the back. The water butt is 125L – a larger one would have been much better.
The greenhouse was in place by mid-September and, just before the frosts, it was not only packed to capacity with my fuchsias, but I also bought a couple of rolls of bubble wrap and fixed that to the inside with drawing pins – easy when it’s a wooden frame.
But what has happened to the base of the old greenhouse? It’s still there. The raised bed has been dug out and lined. It is now filled with water and forms the top part of a waterfall acting as a filter for all the silt that gathers in the main pond. It has worked well, especially as I found an old quern stone as an outflow for the pumped water.
A raised bed sits in front to hide the rather ugly breeze blocks and there are a couple of water lilies gracing the water. Behind sits the oil tank, disguised by a reed screen up which grow clematis and roses. The water tumbles down over a waterfall into a larger pond inhabited by the few koi that have escaped the heron. It’s a fairly large pond of around 22,000 gallons and 4 foot deep with a ledge around part. The plan was to grow marginals – silly idea if one has koi, as they ate them!
Over on our Facebook page, we’ve got a great competition on: you can win two tickets to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Just like us on Facebook and enter the competition by looking in our Garden Furniture category and tell us your favourite item – one lucky winner with receive a pair of tickets to the Hampton Court Flower Show on Sunday, 8th July 2012.
The competition ends 2nd July, so don’t delay: Enter now!
Beatles display at last year’s show. By Jojo 77 on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.
I love the arrival of daffodils in my garden. They signify the start of spring and their blanket of yellow is like a wash of sunshine after a dreary winter.
It saddens me when they begin to fade and I look forward to their return the following year. This season I vowed to pay special attention to my daffs, in the hope they would repay me with an even more impressive display next year. I diligently deadheaded them by pinching off the withered flowers and seed pods, which redirects energy back into the bulb rather than into seed production.
Then I left the leaves in place allowing photosynthesis to continue; charging the bulb with even more energy. However over the past few weeks, whilst wandering around my neighbourhood, I noticed many of the unruly leaves had been ‘tidied up’ into neat knots. Eventually only mine remained in a tangled mess and I begin to feel that I was letting down the area.
In a vain attempt at ‘keeping up with Joneses’ I promptly set about neatening my borders. I carefully separated the matted leaves; twisting and folding them into neat bunches. Then using some loose ends I secured the knots; rather like styling a pony tail. My clusters may not have been as well-ordered as the neighbours’ but still I was rather pleased with the result.
Feeling rather smug I went indoors to peruse the RHS website… only to discover they do not recommend this knotting of daffodils! Apparently it hinders their ability to function and as a result can cause ‘Daffodil Blindness’ – a condition where the foliage grows but the flowers fail to form. Instead it is advised that the leaves are left loose for around 6 weeks until they turn yellow; at which point they may be removed.
My vanity had got the better of me and I have probably done more harm than good. However a lesson has been learned, and in future I will do my research first before ‘blindly’ copying others.