In early May of last year my Victorian greenhouse was built. For me this was a dream come true, one for which I had waited many years. After I had done a lot of research I decided on this greenhouse you see here. I don't care for those aluminium ones as they do not add any beauty to a garden. After my garden assistant and his assistant had erected the greenhouse, which took less than 2 days, it looked as though it had always been there. It fitted in so nicely with the rest of the kitchen garden.
A Victorian greenhouse has real glass panes and there's ornamentation on the roof to keep birds from sitting on the greenhouse roof and leaving bird poo on the glass roof. And it works, which is very handy, as it saves lots of cleaning. My greenhouse has 2 windows in the roof that open automatically when it gets too hot inside. Last week both windows were open a great deal during the day. Today, now that it is much colder and not sunny at all, the windows stay firmly closed.
Last year I grew lots of tomatoes in the greenhouse; Italian pomedore, cherry tomatoes, very tasty yellow ones and a French tomato called marmande. I also grew some sweet paprika's, some eggplants, basil, hot chili peppers and a melon. All these plants performed very well and provided me with lots of delicious fruit. Except for the melon that, although it flowered, didn't set any fruit until it was too late in the year. This year I'll try another variety of melon and see how that one will do.
Last year we had a lovely summer with lots of sunshine and every morning our friendly neighbourhood cat, Surprise, would show up in my vegetable garden and enter the greenhouse where she would lie down under the tomato plants. After a while, usually when it would get too hot, she would disappear again. Late in the evening, around dusk she would come again and then spend most of her summer nights underneath my tomatoes basking on the warm earth. I would leave the greenhouse door open for her, so she could come and go as she pleased. Surprise always behaved like a perfect lady in the greenhouse.
Of course, little Kadootje likes the greenhouse too. Cats love places where it is nice and warm and Kadootje is always curious to see what I 'm up to in the greenhouse. She likes to stick her elegant little nose where it doesn't belong and likes to 'help' by stealing my packets of seeds, my ball of string and other stuff if I'm not careful. We always end up by me putting her out of the greenhouse and closing the door on her.
Last autumn, when all the tomatoes and other plants were gone, I stored some of my tender plants in the greenhouse so that they had a good chance to survive the winter in there. Those that could stand a little frost, I put in the greenhouse, the others went into my conservatory which is heated during the cold months of the year.
Right now there are lots of seedlings waiting in my greenhouse to be planted outside but they have to wait at least another month or 2, until the risk of frost is gone.
I leave you with a picture of another Victorian greenhouse I have, a miniature one. Isn't it pretty and it doesn't cost the earth like the big one does.
Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too. William Cowper 1731-1800