A refuge in a storm?
Well to be honest in a storm I wouldn’t be in the greenhouse but you get my meaning. At this time of year when it is either raining or so cold that your fingers get frozen after about an hour in the garden, even with gloves, the greenhouse provides me with my much needed green therapy.
This weekend was the first time in about three weeks that I have had the chance to garden. So having spent Saturday tidying the garden – I won’t bore you with pictures as it’s just earth and bare shrubs really – I spent an hour or so on Sunday in the greenhouse having a good tidy up. I hadn’t intended to tidy up the greenhouse but as it was full to the gunnels and I couldn’t physically get in there was no alternative!
So I cut back the dead foliage on the bigger tender plants in large pots which had been hesitantly shoved in the greenhouse when the weather suddenly turned at the start of December. I have managed to get them all hidden away under the staging along with the Dahlia tubers which I had to move in to the greenhouse when I discovered they were being eaten by mice in the garage!
I then worked my way through the tender plants that spend half the year in the greenhouse. Removing any dead leaves and giving a little water where needed. All the Echiverias and Aeoniums are looking great which is good and probably a result of the electric heater which has been humming away for days. It’s on a thermostat which I have set to keep the greenhouse frost-free but with the prolonged cold weather it seemed to be permanently on which will not be good for my electricity bill!!
On the other side of the greenhouse I have staging with gravel beds in. I was given this last year for Christmas and I think the gravel beds are a real boon. If you keep the gravel moist then it adds to the humidity levels and provides moisture which encourages the plants to put roots down. I have noticed that seedlings and plants seem much happier in this environment. So much so that I had to pot up a number of plants whose roots had well and truly strayed into the gravel, sort of the opposite of being pot bound! I have potted up some Watsonia seedlings which I grew from seed in 2010 and they have already made plants around a foot tall and a Callistemon seedling again sown in 2010 which is around a foot tall.
I was also ruthless and threw a number of plants that had seen better days including a couple of very tired orchids that I had neglected and forgotten. The tidying and throwing has released one of the gravel beds ready for me to start sowing seeds soon. I have a heat pad which fits into this bed and as soon as I have a reasonable number of seeds ready for sowing I will install it as last year it definitely speeded up germination – it’s also fab for getting cuttings to take. However, everything is on hold at the moment as I am waiting for my new whizzy three tier cold frame to arrive, part of my Christmas present to myself this year, which will mean that I can move some of the less tender plants out to make space for my veg seeds and some flower seeds. Then it is all systems GO!