Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Greenhouse Tidy Up

One rainy day last week I took the time to tidy up the greenhouse down by the bottom of our garden. This is where most of our succulents live in the winter and with many of them out already acclimatising in the garden now is the perfect time to give it some spring cleaning.

Their home needs cleaning!
Old bubblewrap had to go
First of all I had to remove most of the old existing bubble wrap insulation there. They only have a finite lifespan despite being made of plastic as the sun gradually degrades them and you'll know soon enough when it's due replacing when they start flaking away. Usually bubble wrap lasts two to three years before they become so brittle with UV damage and this year is the year the existing one has to go and will be replaced later this year in preparation for winter.

Agave leopoldii
Variegated Aloe arborescens and Aloe cryptopoda
Echeveria 'Compton Carousel'
Mangave 'Bloodspot' and Agave bracteosa
That staging badly needed some brushing!

But before I remove them, the remaining succulents inside had to go out first. So out they went into the bottom patio until I've cleaned their abode, with the added benefit that the rains will not only hydrate them but will also give them a little wash.


Agave leopoldii
Variegated Agave leopoldii
Variegated Agave salmiana var. ferox
The compact growing Aeonium 'Poldark'
Usually we have an electric heater there but the electrical connection there got severed when the jungle hut was damaged and although a new one is already in situ, the electric supply to the greenhouse has not yet been reconnected. So we had to use a paraffin heater last winter. It's not a bad choice of heating but it can be messy with the soot it produces which makes the bubblewrap go a bit gray. As we're getting rid of it then the soot goes with it too. 

Agave murpheyi....
with a naughty resident!
Another thing that makes this greenhouse become untidy is that loads of spiders take residence in it and with them comes their webs which attracts not only insects but also debris. I had to clear out and remove so much cobwebs there and on some succulents the cobwebs were so thick that they looked like they've been prepared for Halloween. This accumulation of arachnid silk only happened in a space of a few months as I do clean up the plants before I stow them for winter. Cleaning this greenhouse is not for the arachnophobic!

Agave victoriae-reginae with cobwebs
Bubblewrap gone, most of them anyway, then most cobwebs (and dead insects) cleared, it was time to clean the plants itself. Weeding was necessary on a few and watering needed on nearly all. The rain wasn't enough to give them good hydration so I intervened. Majority are due repotting but that will have to be done gradually in the next few weeks.

What am I actually growing, Oxalis or an Agave ocahui??
Untangled, the beautiful Agave ocahui surfaces
Hanging down on the sides, it looks like a deliberate planting combination....almost...
I don't fervently collect succulents as much as I used to and tend to just grow the ones that particularly catch my eye, and agaves in particular. Even with agaves I restrain myself and just acquire and keep unusual ones, or ones that I simply find attractive.

I've given our conservatory a quick update by replacing the terracotta with more colourful glazed pots. Some of the more pristine/perfect looking agaves from the greenhouse now live here.
By the end of the afternoon I'm pleased with results and the succulents are now back inside. They've been put back in rather randomly but as I will re-pot most of them they will be re-arranged later on.






I just need more nice new pots now!

Mark :-)  

19 comments :

  1. I love your pot of Aeonium 'Poldark'. Wish I could get it to grow like that. I have the opposite problem to you - too much heat and humidity at times.

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    1. The hazard of living in a tropical climate Missy :) hope Poldark eventually makes its way there soon!

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  2. That Aeonium 'Poldark' is great. So much better than the old 'Zwartkop'.

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    1. I especially like the way it remains compact Evan, unlike the other one which tends to get tall and leggy

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  3. So many wonderful plants, and so many of the same ones I've been moving around lately too, getting them out to their summer home on the patio.

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    1. We have very similar tastes Loree :))

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  4. I know what you mean re paraffin heaters, Mark. I used to use one and on occasion would find everything covered in soot. I think sometimes I left too much wick. D

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    1. Electric heating is the way to go David to keep the greenhouse looking cleaner for longer.

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  5. What a difference a little time and cleanup do. The plants look really good. Love those new pots too and the bright pretty colors. Some of my favorites of your potted plants are the agaves also, but that Poldark is amazing in color and growth.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Aeoniums would make for fabulous summer display in your location Cher :)

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  6. The greenhouse looks very nice and agaves are the best plants for nice colorful pots

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    1. Indeed Lisa, easy to take care of too :)

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  7. It looks better with each picture! You have a lot of cool plants and display them very well. I'm dreaming of a greenhouse...

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    1. Thanks Peter! Perhaps you can still accommodate a greenhouse in your garden :)

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  8. I've never seen Aeonium 'Poldark" here. Beautiful! Actually, your whole collection is beautiful!!!

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    1. Hopefully it will make its way to your neck of the woods soon Gerhard :)

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  9. Love that greenhouse! And your pot combo is fabulous. I just love the color!

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    1. Thanks Candice :) those plastic pots are functional but might as well have some fun with colour!

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  10. This is you being restrained?! You do have a wonderful collection though, all the better for losing the oxalis and spider webs. Do you get aphid problems at all?

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