Saddleworth firm advises on making your greenhouse glorious

NOW THERE is a hint of spring in the air, although that may soon disappear, it is time to start thinking about making any greenhouses or glasshouses the best they can be.

After weeks of just being that structure outside your house, we can start to consider how to take it to a new level for when the summer comes.

And Greenfield firm Hartley Botanic, which has customers around the world and a global reputation, has some hints and tips on how best to style, organise and refresh yours.

They have shared them with the Saddleworth Independent.

CREATE A ‘LIFESTYLE’ AREA

A GREENHOUSE or glasshouse can be used as a multi-functional space, allowing us to stay outdoors and amongst our plants for longer – whether that’s enjoying a cup of tea while listening to the rain patter against the roof, or making use of it as an alfresco space in the warmer summer months.

There are many stylish ways to extend time spent in your Glasshouse or Greenhouse.

Use internal partitions to separate growing areas from spaces you can use for relaxing. Think about the activities you could do to make the best use of any lifestyle space, whether dressing a table for al fresco entertaining, pursuing a hobby like painting or just creating a new ‘under glass’ area to enjoy with friends.

Introducing home conveniences, such as an eco-wood burner, is also great way to warm spring and autumn evenings and provide an additional heat source for tender plants.

INVEST IN ORGANISATIONAL ACCESSORIES

THERE are many organisational accessories that can help you make the best use of your greenhouse or glasshouse space inside, using a mix of shelving, staging and partitions – these also have the benefit of looking very attractive.

To grow and appreciate most greenhouse plants they need to be displayed on staging, set at around table height.

Hartley Botanic staging is made of durable alloy slats secured by spacers. Pots can be stood on these, or alternatively shallow trays filled with a layer of grit or gravel can be used if this is kept moist a more plant-friendly habitat can be maintained.

Gravel trays can be used in automated watering systems, reducing the rate at which pots dry out in summer.

Shelves make more efficient use of space by occupying higher parts of your greenhouse. This is particularly useful for trailing and smaller plants.

Shelving also improves the appearance and visual impact of the greenhouse by creating elevated displays of ornamental plants.

You may wish to consider setting aside an area of staging for a potting bench, or to store items of equipment or compost in a waterproof locker or cupboard beneath to help keep the Glasshouse tidy.

Partitions, internal glass walls, could also be used in the layout to provide a stylish way to separate your greenhouse into different zones.

CREATE DIFFERENT GROWING ZONES

THE LAYOUT of plants within a glasshouse or greenhouse can be organised so as to provide optimum growing conditions at the same time as allowing gardeners to get maximum benefit and enjoyment.

Using different levels of shelving works well both practically and visually.

Lower benches are useful for plants that are ‘resting,’ such as corms like Cyclamen and tubers like Achimenes.

Top shelf staging is ideal for orchids as this can mimic their natural environment well, as they grow in trees.

If you plan to grow food crops, cut flowers or anything else in quantity, you will probably want to set up some greenhouse beds.

A greenhouse built on a brick foundation, with natural soil as its floor will have the advantage of ready-made growing facilities which can be incorporated at the installation stage.

If the building rests on a concrete base, raised beds can be built or growing bags used for crops and plants.

FILL YOUR GREENHOUSE WITH SCENT

MANY fragrant herbs can be easily grown in a greenhouse which adds a special sensory dimension. Lavender to help you relax and sleep. Camomile for anti-anxiety or Echinacea, supposed to boost the immune system, a perennial plant.

Growing herbs is also a great way to take advantage of the Glasshouse all year round, and especially as a shelter from the winter frost.

Herbs which are popularly used in cooking, such as thyme, often have varieties from warmer climates such as the Mediterranean which mean they suit a greenhouse well as they are not completely hardy.

GIVE A THOROUGH SPRING CLEAN

THERE are five key jobs to do when it comes to spring cleaning your greenhouse or glasshouse:

  1. Clean frame and glass – both inside and outside
  2. Clean and disinfect the interior – including all benches, shelves and equipment
  3. Check and clean out gutters and down pipes
  4. Clean the floor
  5. Check the operation of vents

Clean the windows inside and out, as well as its doors and partitions (if you have them), not forgetting to pay attention to the individual frames and surrounds.

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, otherwise you may struggle to refit them – and they will dry quicker while extended in the Greenhouse.

Lastly, check the operation of your roof and side vents so they are ready for use in the coming spring and summer months.

*ALL Hartley Botanic’s glasshouses and greenhouses are handmade, bespoke and made to order. Customers interested in purchasing should visit: http://www.hartley-botanic.co.uk or call 01457 819 155 for more information.

During the winter months, Hartley Botanic is offering £50 off all new greenhouse and glasshouse orders, simply quote ‘50Winter’ to access the discount by the end of March.

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