Shiny New Greenhouse.

I hope anyone who visited my garden these last few years and came in by the side gate shut their eyes as they walked past the greenhouse. But most people didn’t. They even showed an unwelcome desire to peep inside. Here for the first and last time I will show it to you. I am cringing even though it is gone now. It was as messy inside as out.

You can see why I was ashamed.  It must have looked wonderful once many, many years ago. It was timber framed and a good size; 12 feet by 8 feet.  Whenever we had a gale we would lose panes of glass and The Pianist risked life and limb putting new ones in, which was a challenge as most of the glazing bars were rotten. He stuck them in with a bit of sticky stuff and lots of willpower. And I dare say duct tape was involved, it usually is.

Oh, the whole thing was a total disgrace. Mice liked it though as they could come and go as they pleased through the many gaps.


It was too full of holes to use a heater, I would have been heating the village as well as the greenhouse.
It was not until I had spent a whole morning in November pinning bubble wrap up all over it to try to keep the frost out that I decided to throw the whole damn thing away. I think if I had leaned too hard it against it, it would have collapsed anyway. So away it went, the whole lot carted off in a skip.

After lots of research I chose this one. By the time I had had an aluminium coating  to make it maintenance- free and staging and expensive, but totally unnecessary finials on top, it cost twice as much as I budgeted for.

But I don’t care because I love it. I finally got it just before Christmas and I am delighted with it. I don’t have a conservatory but never mind, the greenhouse is wonderful refuge. I keep it heated when the temperature goes below 5 degrees.  As I now have a potting shed  there will be no spilled compost, and pots and seed trays everywhere. I will use the old aluminium greenhouse down the garden for seed growing, this is just to keep and display plants that are looking good. It smells just like the one I remember my grandparents had when I was a child. Well, it should be fragrant, I have a sarcococca, hyacinths, jasmine and mimosa. Still in bud, I have scented narcissus and lily of the valley. Come on, I’ll show you inside. Close the door behind you.


I forget which camellia this is but it is blooming earlier than ever before now it lives inside.

A few years ago we spent some weeks in winter in Provence and we walked a lot through the mimosa forests in the Esterel mountains. The mimosa there  is a problem and is destroying native flora. But we have nothing to fear from Acacia deabalta here in the UK, our winters are too cold for it to become  a pest.

I brought some seeds home and  now have a couple of little trees. One of them is blooming. Soon they will be too big for the greenhouse and I will have to throw them away but I will save some seeds to start again.

Some of the plants, such as the skimmia and sarcococca  and a lot of the bulbs will be planted in the garden when they have finished blooming to make way for other delights. My lemon tree is happy now it has a proper home and adds to the fragrance. As you can see I have a chair here so I can sit and drink it all in.

I love the little Crocus sieberi ‘Tricor’ and it is flowering early in here and shows up much better than in the garden. Even in bud the three bands of colour show up well. This little treasure comes from the Peleponnese.

Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’

In another  pot I have the dear little Crocus tommasianus ‘Roseus’. The buds are really pink and the flowers open up lilac. This is a great spreader in the garden.

Crocus tommasianus ‘Roseus’

I think some of the new primrose hybrids are too overbred for the garden. But they are great for pots and some winter colour in the greenhouse and some of them are fragrant.

Primula ‘Sweetheart and Primula ‘Firecracker’

Primula ‘Zebra Blue’ and ‘Woodland Walk’

Double primroses occur naturally from time to time and since Elizabethan times have been highly prized. Many have been lost to cultivation and unless they are well fed and divided regularly they disappear from the garden. I have loved and lost quite a few of the lovely Barnhaven doubles over the years.

Primula Barnhaven ‘Sapphire’ long gone.

They are difficult to propagate because they have no seed and very little pollen. But now breeders can micropropagate and they have produced oversized, frilly doubles in a dazzling array of colours. Again I wouldn’t plant them in the garden, it would be like coming across an ostrich in the woodland, but I love them in pots. And they come in luscious colours. These are the new Belarina hybrids and I think they are perfect for some early colour in the greenhouse.

Primula belarina ‘Valentine’

Primula Belarina ‘Cream’

The double primrose above is ‘Pink Amethyst ‘and it is sitting in between the white grape hyacinth, Muscari ‘White magic’ and Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’.


The lemon tree has peculiar pointed fruit. Under it is the yellow daisy flower of a euryops cutting that fell into my pocket in Cornwall last spring.


I have never noticed before that the flowers of the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger are tinged with terracotta as they mature. But as I sit on my chair in the greenhouse and sip my coffee I have chance to notice details like this. Outside the wind is coming straight from the Urals and one doesn’t linger too long over each individual flower.

Helleborus niger

This really is a little piece of heaven in here.

The Green man with Oxalis hirta for hair, sits looking rather bored. He’s no business to look bored surrounded by so much colour and fragrance.

 

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61 Responses to Shiny New Greenhouse.

  1. Catherine says:

    What a wonderful idea! I have been wishing that my greenhouse looked more decorative and less utilitarian, especially as it’s on the patio. I’m going to use part of it for this, thank you for sharing it!

  2. susurrus says:

    How lovely! Thank you for the tour around your greenhouse – a happy place. Your double primroses are (were) sweet and the reddish hellebore is going to be a beauty.

  3. You are living my dream of a greenhouse, dear girl. How wonderful that you can now have one that doesn’t heat the whole village, and grow such pretty plants in it. Even a mimosa! Maybe by the time it’s a tree, you’ll get a much bigger structure to house it? (OK, I jest — kind of.)
    You also made me smile with your description of the poor old original. It may be the first time I’ve seen you use the word “damn” – a great word which my family says I used liberally after the fall and subsequent concussion and pain. I claim no memory of it, but I do respect that word for its versatility and passion.

    • Chloris says:

      Hello Cynthia. A bigger structure to house my mimosa? Well of course what I would really like is something on the scale of the palm house at Kew gardens but I shall have to be content with this rather more modest one.
      That old greenhouse inspired much worse words than ‘damn’.

  4. March Picker says:

    I can tell how much you enjoy your little paradise with its amazing selection of beauties. Just lovely!

  5. Alison C says:

    Oh it looks wonderful and is indeed a little piece of heaven and what a fantastic collection you have in there. Do you ever go in the house now? You’ve reminded me of the smell of my grandparent’s greenhouse. It was wooden and they always grew tomatoes. I catch a whiff sometimes and am immediately transported back in time. I’ve set a target of the end of Feb to clear up our eyesore which is a whole mess of pallets, old dustbins, bags, compost heaps and who knows what. Progress has been made!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alison. It is a bit too cold to linger here longer than it takes to drink a cup of coffee at the moment.
      Ah the Proust ‘madelaine’ or ‘hawthorn’ moment. Yes, certain scents are an instant trigger to childhood memories.
      I have certain grotty areas but this was the worst of them. The plant pot shed is another horror story though.

  6. I would sit in your greenhouse everyday and sip coffee. You made it so beautiful.

  7. Alison says:

    How wonderful to have a new greenhouse! In mine, I do seed starting in one half and provide shelter for tender plants in the other half. It’s great to be out there when it’s cold and damp in winter. I keep mine heated too. I just bought that same double red Primrose this week at the flower show, although I do plan to plant mine out in the ground as soon as possible.

  8. tonytomeo says:

    Some of our production houses are much worse than your old greenhouse, but they work.

    • Chloris says:

      Really? I can’t imagine anything worse than this horror. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been tucked away but it was in such a prominent position and a constant source of shame.

  9. croftgarden says:

    An interesting selection of plants, all immaculate and flowering to perfection. Inspiring.
    Don’t stop dreaming, one day your crystal palace might arrive.

  10. Pauline says:

    Your plants look really happy in their new home, I’m sure they like it as much as you do! I have the blue double primrose and also Jack in the Green, but planted on the rockery, they certainly wouldn’t look right in the woodland along side the wild ones! The perfume must be amazing with all those wonderful plants.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Pauline. I love ‘Jack in the Green’, ‘Hose in Hose’ and old fashioned doubles in the garden but these bigger frillier ones are probably better kept in pots.

  11. Eliza Waters says:

    What a delightful oasis for you, Chloris. Filled to excite the senses!

  12. Anna says:

    Oh your new greenhouse looks like a veritable glass palace Chloris. You must be delighted with it. Thanks for the invitation to step inside – I feel much warmer for doing so and have been soothed by all that fabulous colour and scent. Mine is full of snowdrops, some overwintering dahlias and a few not so hardy perennials at the moment but I would like to have some other winter beauties in there. What sort of a heater do you use?

    • Chloris says:

      Not really a palace, only 10 x 8 but still it feels quite roomy. I know your greenhouse is full of your lovely snowdrops. I have an electric fan heater with a thermostat. I have no idea how bad the electricity bill will be, but the reviews seemed to suggest that it is reasonably economical.

  13. Sam says:

    I have greenhouse envy! Ours is also old and falling apart (although it is against a wall, which helps hold it up) and is very untidy inside at the mo. Yours looks absolutely beautiful – full of spring – with all those lovely shelves to fill. A plant-lovers paradise. No wonder you love to spend time in there.

  14. mrsdaffodil says:

    Truly a house of marvels. Well done, you! What is the heating system?

  15. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Another lovely tour of beautiful flowers and colours. I don’t think I could have a glasshouse, everything would fry!

  16. Kris P says:

    I’m glad you got yourself a shiny new greenhouse. Given all you’ve grown from seed, you certainly made good use of the old one, dilapitdated as it may have become, so you “needed” a new one to grow plants for your garden – it’s an investment as I see it! I’d always wanted one myself but as it rarely gets cold enough here to justify one I settled for my shade house, even if it doesn’t provide me a set-up for properly growing plants from seed. I love how you’ve decorated your new space with plants, something I find myself doing too, although I’m going to have to give up on fancy enamel pots and settle for cheaper terracotta ones soon.

    • Chloris says:

      Of couree it is an investment, why didn’t I think of that? Your shade house provides you with a lovely display area and is perfectly adapted to your garden. You really don’t need a greenhouse.

  17. Cathy says:

    Oh Chloris, I smiled a secret smile as I read your post …. no, enough said, or forget I even said it…. 😉 Suffice to say that you are completely justified in purchasing this beauty, and although I knew and was impressed by the tender bloomers you have shown us already, the contents of your greenhouse are way beyond my expectations! Words fail me to describe how wonderful this asset of yours is and how clever you are to have nurtured all these in their less than ideal previous environment. I can see I shall be picking your brainin due course. Is this in the same location as the old one and how much light does it get?

    • Chloris says:

      Ah yes, Cathy, I have no secrets from you, you saw the horrible thing. I hoped you wouldn’t notice. I put up with it for 7 years and now I can’t think why I didn’t get rid of it sooner.
      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, the new one is in the same place. The ridge runs east to west, so it gets all the sun from the south.

      • Cathy says:

        I don’t recall you inviting us INTO your greenhouse though, Chloris, and I suspect you just rushed us past it! But at least I still have secrets from you as your shameful greenhouse was not what I was thinking of (wouldn’t be so rude as to allude to it!)… 😉 I can hardly begin to imagine how much pleasure your new one is giving you…

  18. Christina says:

    You have created a flowering winter paradise Liz. I’ve never managed to make space for winter flowers in my greenhouse except for the lemons and limes that perfume the space wonderfully. I love all your treasures. Plus I’m sure you will go all out to have masses of treasures in the dreaded months of November and December. I think my dream space would be a Lathe house like Kris has just built so I could have flowers in mid summer!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Christina. Yes, I aim to have all year round interest in the greenhouse. October and November will be nerine time.
      Oh yes a lathe house like Kris’s would be perfect for your garden.

  19. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. I have a say that I have a touch of greenhouse envy, although that one would be too big for my needs. xx

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Mike. This one is smaller than the old one it replaces but it feels roomier with better staging and of course, no junk. I think I shall soon fill it.

  20. Robbie says:

    my dream to have a green house!!! beautiful building and flowers inside:-)

  21. Cathy says:

    It is fabulous Chloris! A little haven of spring and warmth to enjoy a cup of coffee or two! When I finally get my greenhouse (maybe next year) some pots of early bulbs and primulas would be a great addition.

    • Chloris says:

      You are planning a new one too? How exciting, I look forward to seeing it. It is worth potting up some bulbs to enjoy in the greenhouse. They bloom earlier and you have lovely things to look at in comfort.

  22. Oh, what a dream greenhouse! Filled with such delightful, colourful flowers… if I had one of these I’d probably just move into it myself.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Joanna. The temperature in there,(just frost-free) suits my plants very well but it is a bit too cold for me to linger too long right now. A quick cup of coffee is about all I can srand at the moment.

  23. Congratulations on your greenhouse! I would love to drop by and stick my nose in for a sniff. And those sweet Crocuses and Primulas – wonderful.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jason. Well that would be nice if you could drop by. Philip Larkin wrote somewhere that he was not much interested in travel, but he would quite like to go to China if he coud come back the same day. I often feel the same when I read blogs from your side of the pond. It would be so nice to drop in and see all your lovely gardens, as long as I could be home again in time for tea.

  24. Brian Skeys says:

    It looks like a plantsmans sweetie shop, Chloris. So much colour and temptation.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, a floral sweetie shop is just what’s needed at the moment with this endless grey winter. It really cheers me up when the biting wind keeps me out of the garden.

  25. Peter Herpst says:

    I’m so happy for you, Chloris! Your new greenhouse looks fabulous and you’ve filled it beautifully!

  26. Chloris says:

    Thank you Peter, it’s not on the scale of your greenhouse which has filled me with envy since you created it. But it is giving me a lot of pleasure.

  27. snowbird says:

    Oh Chloris, what a gorgeous greenhouse!!! I am SO jealous! It’s an absolute haven filled with delights, pull a chair up for me will you….xxx

    • Chloris says:

      I would love to have a coffee with you in my nice new greenhouse. But you are off on your adventures to much more exciting places than my greenhouse. Lots of photos of the flora please.

  28. *sigh* so beautiful, I have fallen in love.

  29. Chloris says:

    It is a lovely place to be on cold, grey days. Your winter aconites are winging their way to you along with a little cutting of Salix melanostachys.

  30. Ali says:

    Wow, that really is a piece of heaven! Can’t believe you have so much colour in Feb! Gorgeous primulas.

  31. It looks wonderful and so full of beauties already. Your old greenhouse had character but this one looks safer and warmer! I wish you many happy hours in it.

    • Chloris says:

      Now that’s kind calling it ‘character’. It really was a wreck. The weather forecast is terrible so I shall be spending a lot of time in there for the next week or two.

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