Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Greenhouse Review

Spring finally seems to have arrived and we have been able to check how the plants in our greenhouses have been doing. We have two at present, both are 8'x6' aluminium framed greenhouses, one is used for more arid plants and the other for the lush/leafy ones. We provide a little bit of heat to both greenhouses, keeping them just above zero Celsius - usually about 2 or 3C as a minimum. Through experience we have found that for the plants we want to over winter under glass this is just enough heat to prevent the pots from freezing. More tender plants are over wintered in the house, but we try not to have too many like that.

First up is the greenhouse in the working area next to the filter house for the new pond. This greenhouse will be moved in due time, but for now its home to the more leafy plants.


A selection of choice plants, Cussonia at the back, with an Illicium just in front on the left hand side and Cordyline stricta on the right hand side.


Schefflera delavayi 'oak leaf form', we have tried a hardy selection of this Schefflera outside for the last winter, and i'm pleased to say it has shown no problems from winter.


And on the other side a few more plants waiting their time to be planted out, including Fatsia polycarpa and small Schefflera taiwania. The young palm seedling in the lower left of the photo is a Butyagrus - the mule palm, a cross between a Butia and a Syagrus palm, there was hope at one point that this would be a hardy palm for the UK, however sadly this has proved not to be the case.

As I mentioned this particular greenhouse will be relocated within the working area, and will have a new function once it is moved. It will no longer be used for plants but will house a quarantine/treatment tank for our fish. This will allow us to quarantine any new fish before we introduce them to the pond - just in case any have an illness or parasite not spotted at the dealer. We wouldn't want to introduce any problems to our large pond. It will also allow us to remove a sick fish from the main pond so that it can be treated on its own. Hopefully there will not be too many sick fish, but it is worth thinking ahead just in case.

I'm sure you are thinking why would we give up greenhouse space, well, that's not quite the full story. Do you remember this blog when we collected a second hand greenhouse... This greenhouse will be erected in the working area to be our new 'lush greenhouse' and as its bigger at 8' by 10' it will allow us to grow on more plants over winter, or at least have them better spaced out. When we bought it I don't think we anticipated it would be in waiting for quite so long, so I will be pleased to finally build it. Both of the greenhouses will be built on low walls to give an increased head height making it more comfortable for us and also easier to house slightly larger plants.

The other greenhouse houses our arid plants, keeping them separate allows a different watering regime and helps to keep the humidity lower in this greenhouse.

Its been a tricky winter this year for the arid house, autumn was very wet, so potted plants had to be placed under glass whilst still quite damp, and then with the wet cool winter they stayed on the moist side. This was sadly fatal for a small number of plants, including all the Aeoniums Mark had propagated last summer to be used for this current years displays. Fortunately we are off to Cornwall next month, so will be able to pick up some replacements.

However despite a small number of losses, the vast majority of plants are looking good after their winter holiday into the arid house.


Once the spring weather arrives it is always nice to see plants move back out to their summer homes, allowing us to give the greenhouses a good spring clean and undertake any maintenance needed. Of course they never become totally empty and will be home to plants we are propagating during the summer months.

Gaz

24 comments :

  1. I am glad your weather is finally improving! I have already moved my tropicals outside. Too soon! I did lose a dracaena the other night when the temps dropped into the low 40s.

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    1. Sorry to hear about the dracaena. We started moving some of ours but are ready with the frost fleece just in case.

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  2. Thanks for the fun tour of your greenhouses! It is my dream to someday have one but I don't know where I would be willing to sacrifice the space so I limp along with to many plants inside the house for the winter.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed looking round, We would love to have bigger, but this is the maximum space we have.

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  3. I'd love to have just one greenhouse. How wonderful you have two. Another big project for you to accomplish building the one and moving the other.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Compared to teh pond these will feel like simple projects :)

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  4. The 'lush greenhouse' looks like an Aladdin's cave to me - so many treasures to grow on or plant out!

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    1. It does feel like that, plenty to sort out too as it gets moved.

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  5. What an exciting collection of goodies. I will have to look up Cussonia. We introduced a few Illicium to the garden last year, they haven't bloomed as yet, I'm guessing I might have to wait another year now.

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    1. The cussonia is a lovely plant, will take coolish temperatures but not cold, we keep it just above freezing at that seems to be fine.

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  6. Gaz, I have just removed our aluminium greenhouse and replaced it with a wee Summer house. I have a feeling the other one which is also 8 x 6 will be changed for a larger one. I don't add heat in Winter but the water just runs off the poly bubble, perhaps keeping it frost free may help with this problem.

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    1. It may help Alistair, although i would imagine the damp winter would have played a part too.

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  7. My greenhouse never empties, the contents just change all the time. I do env your space to have two greenhouses

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    1. Ours do seem to rotate what is in them. We always think we should grow some produce in them over the summer, but they are never empty enough to do that!

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  8. So many good things in those greenhouses! I need to get to bringing the tender things up from the basement and easing them into outdoor life in the "shade pavilion greenhouse"...then again maybe we'll soon be taking down the walls and opening it up. So much to do...

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    1. Yes a busy time of the year! looking forward to seeing your treasures reappear too.

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  9. What a dynamic duo. I can't believe you accomplish all you do just on weekends and holidays...with travel in there, too.

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    1. Thanks Ricki, it keeps us out of mischief!

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  10. It looks like your plants are having a duvet day. They must be so cosy in there.

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    1. I hope so, I prefer when there is warmer spells over winter to allow the door to be left open for fresh air (plus if its warmer we can turn the heater off too)

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  11. 8'x10' and built up on a wall?! You will soon be starting a nursery of your own ;-) Seriously though, sounds exciting. I love the jungly look of the lush greenhouse as it is, I can only imagine what the big cousin will look like.

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    1. Not starting one, but it does sometimes feel like one at times!

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  12. wow - what a great collection! Just 'dis-robed' my echium pinnannata and tree ferns :), lets hope it doesn't freeze again or I'll be running around in a panic!

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  13. Nice infor. You may be interested in this. Build or buy a better afordable, sturdy greenhouse. That works, a greenhouse that absorbs as much solar energy (sunlight) as posible. In the greenhouse the solar energy is converted into thermal energy or heat. http://www.freewcn.com/ I will place a link to yours if you want.

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