Greenhouse Delights

Galanthus peshmenii
Galanthus peshmenii

It has been some time since I featured the greenhouse.  It may be small but I try to maximise the space as much as possible.  The raised sand beds are beginning to bear fruit with the first bulbs flowering.  Some crocus have been and gone but Galanthus peshmenii is looking quite lovely although I still struggle with the idea of snowdrops in October.

Sternbergia greuteriana
Sternbergia greuteriana

Sternbergia greuteriana is a new plant to me.  I acquired the bulbs a year ago but this is the first time they have flowered.  Whether the conditions of the sand bed have helped or whether they just needed a little more time I don’t know.  I quite like Sternbergia, some people call them yellow crocus but they are actually in the Amaryllidaceae family.

Oxalis versicolor
Oxalis versicolor

The second Oxalis is flowering.  This is my favourite Oxalis and was the reason I started to acquire them.  I adore the sugar-cane markings on the flowers. Hopefully the plants will bulk up and produce more foliage and a more busy plant with lots of flower.


As you can see there are more bulbs to follow although I think it will be some time before the narcissus are in flower.  As the plants in these pots finish I will move them down below the bench to rest and replace them with the next pots with emerging shoots.  It isn’t ideal but its the best I can do with the space I have.


I am currently storing some of the tender perennials on the floor space in the greenhouse.  I haven’t thought very far ahead but I think I will be moving them into the garage soon.  I am thrilled with the brugmansia as it is flowering for the second time and far better than its first flowering. I need to research how to overwinter it – should I bring it in to the house or do I cut it back and store it in the garage?  I also need to research the bergenias.


Finally the other side of the greenhouse which is full of the tender perennials.  Again I need to work out which ones will be OK in the cold greenhouse and which need a little more warmth from the garage.  I am also toying with the idea of putting some bubblewrap around the lower part of the staging to create a sort of cocoon in which I can store some of the tender plants.



27 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Helen,

    It’s refreshing and a delight to see a Greenhouse being used fully all year round.

    And that’s a lovely sternbergia.

  2. rusty duck says:

    I love that ice cream cone Oxalis Helen. Oh dear, I really do need to make my greenhouse mouse proof!!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      Or you could get a cat, works for me

  3. Hi Helen,

    I’m in the chilly northeastern US, and I soooo want a greenhouse. I think I’ve had delusions of grandeur (think tearing down walls, heating, etc.), but I might just try a smaller, walk-in. You’ve inspired me! Thanks and enjoy your flowers!


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi EG
      I would adore to have one if those greenhouses with brick lower walls ans victorian styke glass tops but my budget isnt in that league so you make do with what you have and i adore it. It might be small but i have never regretted getting it

  4. No greenhouse here but have been planting snowdrops for next Spring outdoors. You are right that it is hard to get used to the idea of fall-flowering snowdrops.

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – I would cut your brugumansia to about 20/30 centremetres – that way will not be straggly and probably produce more flowers. Use the prunings for cuttings? they grow to 2/4 metres here but benefit from a good chop back. I call it ‘doing a Megan’ – my Ikebana teacher was a drastic pruner but got the results. It could do with a bigger pot as quite a big root run. I have found the large black plastic pots vg for larger plants, lighter and much cheaper to buy. The black blends in quite well with surrounding plants.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Yvonne that matches what i heard somewhere else so i will do that when the flowers are over. And yes it needs a bigger pot, I hadnt anticipated it growing so big in its first year

  6. Yvonne Ryan says:

    ps – liked ypur tiny exquisite flowers!

  7. hoehoegrow says:

    Gosh, Helen, I had to check the date of the post when I saw the photo of the Galanthus ! It is very odd seeing one now, and just the sight of it brings back the chill of midwinter!
    We are bringing in all the tender plants too, and also planning to use bubblewrap to create a cosy little micro climate within the greenhouse, to coddle the more tender ones. The most tender will be in the conservatory , which is heated, but the greenhouse is unheated. Do you heat yours ?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi HH
      I have heated it to frost free in the past but am in a dilemma as to how warm the bulbs need it to be, need to research

  8. keithbawden says:

    Love your green house, such wonderful colours. Think I see a new project on the horizon for me

  9. Hi Helen.. my friend Deanne of Fortnam Gardens Blog …( blog )…Has been overwintering Brugs with splendid success for years. She gardens in New Hampshire , across the pond here, and I believe her winters are colder than yours,(brutal in fact) so what she does would likely work for you on some level. If you don’t get a local response, I know Deanne would be happy to share her process with you if you went to visit her blog and requested info via comment.
    I also have to say how much I enjoy your blog.


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Dodger, i will check her blog out

  10. Jane Moseley says:

    Hello Helen,
    I am a great fan of your blog— I have a very small garden which I find quite a challenge ( but a very rewarding one ) and your blog has given me a fair amount of inspiration. At the moment I’m trying to decide whether or not to try to squeeze in a greenhouse—- yours looks quite small, could you tell me it’s dimensions.
    Many thanks

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jane
      I am glad you like the blog. My greenhouse is 6×4, the smallest size for free-standing I think. You can stand up in it and it has served me well for some years now.

  11. Nice to read about someone else juggling with a tiny space. I hope everything comes through the winter for you 🙂

  12. Anna says:

    I keep thinking that I should make room for one or two autumn flowering snowdrops but like you I’m not sure whether I want to glimpse white in October 🙂 My next door but one neighbour at the allotment has his whole plot devoted to exotics Helen. He has a couple of very well established brugmansias in pots. If I see him at the weekend I will ask how he overwinters them.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      I just cant get my head around the autumn snowdrop at all – seems all wrong, not cold enough.

  13. Alison says:

    I’ve overwintered Brugs for a couple of years now, and I don’t cut them back at all. In fact, I think it might hinder flowering next year. If you need to free up space in the greenhouse, you can move it into the garage. It will drop its leaves pretty quickly, but will leaf out again in the spring. You won’t even need to water it over the winter.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      That sounds ideal, thanks for the advice

  14. How lovely to see a snowdrop in October! It makes me think of spring, which I will soon be longing for as wintery weather starts here. And I love the Oxalis – not seen that sort before. You are making great use of every bit of space in your greenhouse. P. x

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Pam
      I’m not so sure I like snowdrops when the leaves are only just taking on their autumn colours, all seems wrong to me!

  15. Diana Studer says:

    a little Ceropegia with very pretty leaves in there?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Diana
      I dont think so

    2. Diana Studer says:

      heart-shaped dark leaves with silver veins, next to the Scadoxus ?

    3. Helen Johnstone says:

      In thd sand bed? Thats a cyclamen

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