INVESTING in a Glasshouse or Greenhouse can transform your gardening life and significantly enhance your time spent enjoying your garden.
With more than 80 years of trusted experience helping gardeners and horticulturists to get the most out of their handmade structures, Greenfield-based Hartley Botanic suggests some ways to elevate your Glasshouse or Greenhouse.
For more tips and advice, Hartley Botanic’s online magazine provides a wealth of knowledge and inspiration: https://hartley-botanic.co.uk/magazine/
All Hartley Botanic’s Glasshouses and Greenhouses are handmade, bespoke and made to order. Visit www.hartley-botanic.co.uk or call 01457 819 155 for more information.
New Year’s clean
A thorough New Year’s clean of your Glasshouse or Greenhouse will help keep it looking and performing at its best. Clean the windows inside and out, and its doors and partitions (if you have them), not forgetting to pay attention to the individual frames and surrounds.
A flexible scraper such as a plastic plant label is handy to remove any dirt build-up around the edge of windows.
Check your gutters are clear of leaves and clean down pipes. Scoop leaves out with your hands and flush debris away with a hosepipe or watering can.
While protecting and removing any delicate plants, clean the floor and disinfect all benches, shelving, and equipment – this will help to control pests and diseases.
Warm soapy water and a sponge works best when cleaning blinds, but make sure they are in-situ while you clean or you may struggle to refit them.
Lastly, check the operation of your roof and side vents so they are ready for use in the spring and summer months.
Create a lifestyle space
We increasingly see customers using Glasshouses and Greenhouses as multi-functional spaces which allow them to stay outdoors and among their plants for longer. Here are some ideas:
What better way to enjoy your Glasshouse on balmy summer evenings than to enjoy a meal surrounded by your prized plants?
Using interesting or colourful tiles is a great way to add your own personal sense of style and steal from interior trends. You could also consider parquet flooring. For extra interest, beautiful flooring can be broken up with growing beds.
On their 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show stand, Hartley Botanic showed how its Glasshouses can be used in all sorts of ways.
Tom Barry, Managing Director of Hartley Botanic, explained: “The Hartley 10 Greenhouse was styled as a tranquil meditation space and yoga studio.
“A pale grey wood effect porcelain tile floor, and light grey clay planters in the corners evoked a clean, calm and neutral space.
“A Hartley Botanic Magnum Opus Glasshouse was dressed as an artist’s studio complete with standing easel, island chest work desk and botanical specimens ready for study.”
Organise your Glasshouse
The New Year is the perfect opportunity to reorganise your Glasshouse – making better use of the space or adding growing areas with coldframes if needed.
Staging is essential to provide an area to support growing plants and a convenient surface for potting. You can also incorporate potting benches. It is a good idea to have a mix of bench and shelving levels to suit different plant species.
High level shelving will also add more storage room and is effective at displaying low-hanging plants.
Cold frames are useful for providing an extra growing space which is often needed during peak season. They provide a lower level of protection than is offered in a Greenhouse so are useful as a means of gently harden-off young plants before they are planted out.
Partitions are internal glass walls which provide a stylish way to separate your Greenhouse or Glasshouse into different zones and create variations in climate for different plant groupings more easily.
Free floor space is needed for plants which grow tall such as aubergines, peppers and tomatoes.
Permanently tall plants such as vines, figs or big ornamentals, also need to be given plenty of headroom.
Containers and pots can be used for taller plants but it is also sensible to consider reserving floor space for growing beds.
These should be considered when planning the flooring. A Greenhouse built on a brick foundation with natural soil at its floor will have the advantage of ready-made growing beds. If the building rests on concrete, raised beds can be built or growing bags can be used.
Think strategically about what to grow
If you are interested in growing edibles, think of the fruit and vegetables you buy that are most costly. Organic produce demands a higher price, so why not grow your own? They’re healthier and reduce the need for expensive treatments.
If you’ve got a Greenhouse and you are a keen gardener, chances are you have your eye on a few extra special plants that you’ve always wanted to grow.
Look out for the NCCPG collection, or a nursery that grows and sells them so you can buy good plants from an expert grower and share their knowledge.