Greenhouse Review – March 2015


I have been meaning to join in with Peonies and Posies monthly meme on the greenhouse for a while but I keep forgetting.  Luckily I spotted a post elsewhere which has reminded me so here I am.  My greenhouse is tiny, a mere tiddler compared with P & P’s gorgeous greenhouse – not that I am jealous at all! I did do a monthly greenhouse post back in 2012 and you can read the first one here to find out a bit more about my greenhouse.

Essentially it is a small 6′ x 4′ greenhouse with power to it.  It has been through a number of guises since 2012 as I have floundered around in my gardening interests, trying this and that, and have almost come back to where I started.  I don’t grow tomatoes in the greenhouse any more. Well to be honest I don’t grow any edibles at the moment, that might change in time but as of today there are no plans to. Last year I went a little off piste and invested in a sand plunge as I thought I wanted to grow and show alpines but it has become quickly clear to me that for a number of reasons, not least time, this is not something I want or can to do at the moment. I am looking for a way to reinvent the plunge and I am thinking making it into a heated prop bench might be interesting.2015_03080024

So the pots of bulbs are being moved out into the garden and I am looking for places for them to thrive.  That is with the exception of the tender bulbs particularly South Africa ones which I have a weakness for at the moment.  I don’t know if that will last as I seem to be experimenting with all sorts of plants at the moment.  Due to the bulbs my succulent collection, which I was quite proud of, was overwintered in the garage which was fine for a while but somehow, when I moved them back to the greenhouse, I think they caught a chill or I over watered them but the result was I have lost about half of the plants. It is a pity but it frees up some space for  new plants.  I don’t think I will be replacing them with succulents but again we shall see.


You will also have noticed my shameful collection of pelargoniums which were also overwintered in the garage.  They need re-potting into fresh compost and regular feeding from now through the season.  Again I have lost a few.

All this dithering and being distracted with this and that, has resulted in the losses and I think the tiny greenhouse really brings into focus the scatter gun approach I have had over the last few years to gardening.  However, I am moving forward in a positive way knowing much more what I am really interested in and what makes me happy which can only be a good thing.

As you will have spotted I have been sowing seeds of various annuals and also some perennials.  Spending a couple of hours sowing the seeds made me very happy and it feels like I have come home.


You can see how well used the greenhouse is.  The bit of space you can see on the floor is actually normally occupied by a Bottlebrush plant, grown from seed, which I am toying with planting out this year as it is just getting too big to be overwintered in the greenhouse and I think the plant needs to get its roots down into the soil.

I also have two 3 tier cold frames which are full at the moment with overwintering perennial seedlings, and more pots which I am hoping to spot some seeds germinating in soon. My goal this year is to do a better job of growing on seedlings which is my weakness.

Thank to Julie for hosting this meme which is meant to be posted around the 11th of the month.

13 Comments on “Greenhouse Review – March 2015

  1. it is a great idea for a meme. I understand what you mean when you say scatter gun approach, sometimes we nee dto do that to find out what it is we want to do

  2. Your plants are looking good in their winter abode. My greenhouse is the same size as yours, lean-to, but that’s all the space I could afford. But I love it, and maximise its use. Already it has newly potted dahlias, sweet peas, cosmos, and cut-and-come again salad. But yes, in an ideal world, we’d all have 12×8 cedar greenhouses, wouldn’t we.

  3. The greenhouse comes into its own at this time of year, there is always something new to see! Sadly I do still have to grow tomatoes, even if I don’t eat them (!) but the rest of the year it is for me alone. Not good news that you have had losses though.

  4. Hi – I can’t figure out why you try to grow some of your plants (aeoliums? spelling? etc when your conditions are too cold. When I think of mine just bung a piece in and it grows to a branched 1/2 metre in a year – why bother? You have so many lovely cold weather plants that don’t do well here just concentrate on them! I always bang on about not growing peonies as too warm and just buy a huge bunch for my birthday in November!! You can grow lovely plants like these! I grow different plants in Auckland than when I lived in Christchurch. Pelogoniums in sun facing shelter under an overhang as they were frost tender. Here they just grow! Good luck!

  5. Your greenhouse looks fantastic! Ive built myself a little one at home from old sliding doors, and the best use for it I have is keeping my basil growing all year round and getting seedlings started!

    • Hi kmfinigan – re basil – Luckily I live in sunny warm Whangapararoa, just north of Auckland and my basil is going crazy. I make pesto to enjoy with crackers and also freeze it for pasta, taking for a ‘plate’ opps you probably don’t know what a ‘plate’ is – it is when invited to someones home for drinks or whatever we like to contribute so catering not all on the hosts shoulders. Many a time Brits still don’t know our traditions! My recipe is say – a pressed cup of basil leaves, 1/2 cup NZ prize winning olive oil, 2/3 cloves garlic whiz together, squeeze of lemon, 1/2 cup pinenuts – or cashews/almonds and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese – or feta is nice. Add more oil if a bit thick. May look a little dark on top but just stir and green colour comes back. Enjoy ps if you don’t have enough basil can add parsley. Oh yes I also made a corriander one and quite strong but yum!

    • Hahaha Pretty sure us Aussies invented taking a plate 😉 Yes, we definitely do the same thing here, and pesto is often my go to! I get plenty of basil in our Dec-Jan-Feb, Im pretty sure that if my geography is right, you are at about the same latitude as where I live. I make huge batches of pesto every year, and tend to freeze alot of it, so I can get that basil sunshine taste during the depths of our winter! My recipe is on the blog if your interested –

  6. Thank you for sharing your Growing dilemmas with us, the changing tack and the uncertainty of direction. I used to feel I ‘should’ grow some veg, but now restrict it to very few, namely those that are easy to grow, crop readily, and we enjoy eating – if I prefer blooms, then why not just grow mostly blooms? I am sure if you ask your woodworking son he could devise a higher narrow shelf for more seed trays, bracketed somehow to your existing staging, and an infill working height one for the other end to your door. Shelving will soon be at a premium if you are going to get hooked on seed sowing again!

  7. Thank you Helen for joining in this month! You fit so much into your greenhouse and have so much going on – I am very impressed – even in my large greenhouse I find it difficult to juggle sowing seeds with the space requirements of overwintering plants. I think you are more of a plants person than I am – really I just like growing flowers, so give me a few packets of seeds and I am happy. I have never tried succulents – although I do love the look of them. I am sure that your sand plunge could be adapted into a heated propagating bench if you are sure you are not going to pursue succulents (I am in awe that you were even considering showing!). I have never grown pelargoniums but would like to give them a try this summer – do you have any recommendations for suppliers/varieties? I hope that you will join in next month – I would like to see how your many interests develop as you gain more space in your greenhouse in spring.

    • Hi Julie
      Succulents are easy if you ignore them in the winter and don’t stand them on the patio to water them with cold water!! They also look great in pots outside in the summer. I would check out fibrex Nurseries for pelargoniums,they are on twitter and very helpful.

  8. I have always loved your little greenhouse Helen….similar to my little grow station where I can indulge in my passion for starting flowers and veggies from seed.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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