The Greenhouse


I have always hankered after one of those gorgeous Victorian style greenhouses which get advertised continually in The Garden and elsewhere. But as that lottery win still remains elusive this inherited, rather rickety, offering is going to have to do for now. ‘Closing the door’ is a compromise between leaving a gap at the bottom left or a gap at the top right. The roof leaks too. My stored seed trays fill up with water and if I am stupid enough to be inside it in a particularly heavy shower of rain most of the ingress ends up down the back of my neck.

In spite of the shortcomings, I use it to the full. At this time of year things are getting rather cramped. At the far end you can just make out a trio of patio plants, taking shelter from the cold: Callistemon, Olive and an ornamental bay tree on a corkscrew stem.


Greenhouse 006 Wm[1]


Strelitzia reginae


A whole host of other plants are overwintering in the greenhouse too. Salvia, Chocolate Cosmos, Fuchsia and tender herbs like tarragon.

I first started growing Strelitzia, the Bird of Paradise plant, over 30 years ago with some seed brought home from a holiday abroad. Mike and my father teased me endlessly about those seeds, which have a bright orange hairy tuft. They declared them a joke and said they’d never work. Red flag to a bull, with the help of a humidity tent erected in my bedroom I managed to germinate eight! They grew fast. I potted them up periodically and looked forward to the exotic blooms which would come in year five. After ten years, still no flowers and I was down to four plants. Β After fifteen years I discovered they really needed to be pot bound. I left them alone until the huge fleshy roots threatened a takeover bid. Twenty years after germination only one plant remained although it looked healthy enough. I was giving it the treat of a summer spent outdoors by then, in the prescribed dappled shade.

And then finally.. a month before we were due to move out of our last house, a flower spike started to grow. The bloom opened on the very same day the removal men turned up. They treated it like a priceless ming vase. It was ‘export wrapped’ and handled with kid gloves. My precious plant got loaded last and was anchored firmly to the side wall of the van. For the following three years it languished in the store room of our rented cottage on the farm, safe from the attentions of the resident geese but never really doing very well. By the time we moved into this house it was all but dead. The youngsters above are my second attempt, now two years old. They had better get a wriggle on this time!


Greenhouse 003 Wm[1]


Paeonia mlokosewitschii


I haven’t tried that many ornamental plants from seed. They’ve tended to be the more challenging, in small numbers, rather than things I can plant out in drifts. Peony ‘Molly the Witch’ (above), Lilium martagon, and Magnolia (a dismal failure) to name but a few.


Greenhouse 002 Wm[1]


Corn Salad Cavallo


We grew some salad leaves in old grobags over winter. These are the last left to harvest. The compost will then get tipped out on to the veggie beds and I can reclaim more space. Space which is sorely needed because:


Greenhouse 004 Wm[1]


Tomato ‘Sungold’


The vegetable seed growing season is back in full swing. Tomatoes occupy the greenhouse during the summer, although I’m planning on using large pots rather than the grobags this year. I’ve room for six plants along the south facing wall, which I now have plus two spare. Chilli peppers and cucumbers are safely up too.


Greenhouse 005 Wm[1]


Pea ‘Misty’


Peas and the first of the new season salad leaves are filling up the staging. And that’s just the start. Already it’s time for the next batch of sowing.

Where did I put my waterproof coat and hood?


Linking up with Helen’sΒ Greenhouse YearΒ atΒ The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are growing this month.


2018-03-21T18:29:18+00:00March 20th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Sue@GLAllotments March 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    We also hanker after a Victorian style greenhouse but as you wil have read have made do with renovating our old cedar one – not without some drama!

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Mike has replaced some of the glass panes in this one too, not least the one he broke πŸ™ I think part of the reason it leaks is that moss has got between the glass and the frame. Before the tomatoes get going we need to get all the panes out again and give it all a good clean.

  2. Em March 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    I’m EXTREMELY envious of your greenhouse, however inelegant it might be. At least we now have our ‘cold frame’ that M built with bits of wood and the plastic from a futon we’d been hanging on to for a decade! You’ll understand why I’ve never posted a photo of it….

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      But how much more satisfying to have crafted it from scratch! The lids on ours are held open with scrap bits of wood too, the original mechanism just does not work.

  3. Ronnie@Hurtledto60 March 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    How lovely! Full of all those wonderful good things to come. I haven’t started on my veg yet, my space really is at a premium but now you have made me think about peas!

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Ideally I’d like to sow peas direct, but can’t do that with anything on account of the mice. Besides, I think I get them earlier this way. Thanks Ronnie.

  4. rachel March 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    My ancient semi-derelict allotment greenhouse had no roof but somehow managed to grow tomatoes rather successfully! Yours is obviously being put to good use, notwithstanding gaps and leaks.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      If that was oop north you did do well!
      But they are hardier than you’d think. I whip them out of the propagator and put them in the greenhouse as soon as they germinate. The greenhouse is frost free but it must still be a bit of a shock!

  5. Amy at love made my home March 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I am so impressed with your gardening and all that you do and to grow a strelitzia from seed is an amazing feat!!! I hope that these flower for you very soon. Hopefully that lottery win will come along soon and then your self watering greenhouse can become a thing of the past!! Gosh, just imagine what you could grow if you had a really big space to keep things safe from Ptolomey!! xx

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      It’s the space that I would really like. I probably wouldn’t grow much more, unless I had more cultivated area to put stuff into, but being able to move about freely would be such a luxury. We had to evict Mr P (or T?) from the greenhouse last summer. If the door is open he goes in. And he likes tomatoes too πŸ™

  6. Christina March 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    The door of my greenhouse doesn’t close properly either! Well done to grow a strelitzia, sad that you have lost it now, when it had begun to flower. They aren’t even hardy for me here but would need greenhouse space in the winter to survive. I would love to grow one, the flowers are so elegant in a large vase.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      At least I did have the pleasure of a flower before it died. It was so exciting checking it each day to see if it was opening. Whether that made up for over twenty years tlc I don’t know!

  7. Chloris March 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for a fascinating glimpse into your greenhouse. I have two leaky greenhouses that have seen better days.I love seeing what other people are growing. I’d show you mine but they are so so untidy I am ashamed.
    I am amazed that after waiting 20 years for your Strelitzia to bloom you are starting again. Talk about delayed gratification. You are a patient lady. The longest I am prepared to wait is the 6 or 7 years it takes for Paeonia rockii. to strut its stuff.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      I am probably the most impatient person you’ll ever know! Strelitzia is supposed to flower in 5 so I’m hoping for better things this time. Last time around I had, of necessity, to treat it as a houseplant. Now I have a greenhouse for winter, plenty of dappled shade for summer and a bit more know-how. We shall see..

  8. Alison March 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    It was great seeing and hearing your plans for the greenhouse. I’m planning to grow tomatoes in mine this year too.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alison. Your greenhouse is a real delight! You’ll have great fun getting it working for you.

  9. Crafty Gardener March 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I’d love one of those Victorian green houses and a gardener to go with it πŸ™‚
    Yours looks brimming over with plants.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      What a good idea! The greenhouse would be my domain though, the gardener would be too busy with the digging.

  10. countrysidetales March 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Fantastic to see everything growing Jess, and good luck with that elusive flower πŸ™‚

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      The warm weather brought everything on very fast this last week… might slow down again now πŸ™

  11. Freda March 20, 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    It’s amazing what you can get from a 6′ x 8′ greenhouse – thousands of plants. Its my happy place at this time of year. I am definitely not as patient as you..

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      One version of this post was actually called Jessica’s Happy Place.. it’s SO relaxing pottering in the greenhouse. I couldn’t do without it now.

  12. elaine March 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Your greenhouse is the same as mine – functional but not terribly elegant. One pea to the pot seems rather stingy – I always plant five to a pot – that would free up some space for you. I love working in the greenhouse – I don’t know how gardeners can manage without one.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      I sow them singly only because it gives me longer before I need to pot them up. There are just too many things to do at this time of year.

  13. Jo March 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Leaky or not, I’m still envious of your greenhouse. Try sowing everything you need to in a 6X4, you need to have expert manoeuvring skills. I haven’t sown my cucumbers yet, perhaps this weekend.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      You are probably more organised than me Jo, and make better use of the space. Manoeuvring is a definite problem here too, it’s having all the overwintering plants in the way.

  14. Leanne March 20, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    My greenhouse is half the sie of yours, and I love it. It’s full up with annual seeds growing away at the moment. I plan to start sowing my veg this
    weekend – salads, beans, peas, toms, cues, peppers etc etc. It’s possibly my favourite place to be at the moment.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      Me too! It’s going to be cooler this weekend, and wet, so what better place to be!

  15. snowbird March 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    You certainly get your money’s worth from your greenhouse, I’m the same, there is never an inch of space that isn’t used. I did love hearing about your adventures with Strelitzia, you have the patience of a saint….how great to still have it going after all that time. I do enjoy a peek into other people’s greenhouses…it’s almost an obsession with me, I enjoyed exploring

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      It would be a pretty weird saint who had my level of patience! When you start on these things it’s always.. maybe next year.. and you just keep on going. Occasionally it pays off. Greenhouses fascinate me too. It’s the first place I go when I visit big stately home gardens.

  16. Sarah March 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I long for a green house and I could grow so much more! Our window sills are full of seeds at the moment. I hope your bird of paradise seeds flower. Sarah x

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      It was one of the most exciting things about this house for me, it came with a greenhouse. Something I’d been wanting for such a long time too. In the previous place there was a summer house which I sort of converted, but there was never enough light because the roof was wood.

  17. Wendy March 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    My goodness, there’s lots going on already in your greenhouse. I still haven’t got round to spring cleaning mine i.e. cleaning the glass. I love the idea of a Victorian style greenhouse, too, but mine has lasted for years and will have to last for many more! At least we repaired all the glass and changed the floor a couple of years ago – so it does look smarter.
    I didn’t get on with grow bags for tomatoes ( I ended up with most of the tomatoes having blossom end rot) – so I do prefer large pots.

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      My problem with the grow bags is they just dry out too quickly. We had drip heads for irrigation but it’s not really sensitive enough. I hope that large pots will help me create more consistent soil conditions and avoid splitting.

  18. rabbitquilter March 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    I, at long last got my greenhouse last year!! It is only a fraction of the size of yours, but I have great plans!! Last year as it arrived too late for seedlings, it was stuffed to the gunnels with tomatoes!! I’d bought 2 plants, then my son, who works on a private estate, bought me the left-overs of their tomato plants!! I have frozen toms, and chutney by the bucket load!!!! This year I hope to be more organised!!!! You definitely like a challenge with your exotic plants, your patience is never ending too!!!!!!

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      I only need to grow enough for one (I hate tomatoes), but that still seems to be a fair few number! Enjoy germinating your seeds, it’s one of life’s great pleasures πŸ™‚

  19. CJ March 20, 2014 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Oh how I envy you that exquisite greenhouse. One day, one day…

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      When you build it, make sure it’s mouse proof!

      • Nell Jean March 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

        — I have a greenhouse cat. No mice

  20. Christina March 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, I share your dream of an Victorian style greenhouse, but that is not going to happen, because I have no space for a greenhouse in the garden at all. So yours, leaking or not, is heaven to me :-)! Wow, I really admire the patients that you have with your strelitzia reginae plants. Hope you second try is working out. Here in San Diego they grow like a weed and flower well. The ones that I had in my garden were growing in full sun. I wonder, since the light in England is so much less intense than where I live, if putting them in the sun would encourage flowering. Otherwise all your seeds look so promising. I think, I will finally grow some salad this year from seeds, too!

    • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Ooh! Strelitzia growing as weeds! I think this lot might be more acclimatised to full sun, growing in the greenhouse. My problem before was that I had to grow them indoors. When I then brought them outside the leaves tended to scorch.

  21. linda March 20, 2014 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    that is it!
    I am moving to Britain!
    We are still in snow!
    Very jealous, Jessica…..that greenhouse is AWESOME!

    • linda March 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      half a comment….WTH???
      You are a master gardener…FOR SURE!!!
      Enjoy your weekend….
      Linda :o)

      • Jessica March 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm - Reply

        If you’re going to move to Britain you have to really like rain. It’s back. And getting colder, frost by the weekend. Snow in Scotland… we’re not out of the woods yet. Hope my little seedlings will be OK πŸ™

  22. nataliescarberry March 21, 2014 at 2:18 am - Reply

    I always enjoy your posts. Enjoy your gardening and growing as the spring moves on. Hugs, Natalie πŸ™‚

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie. It will be very good to get out in the garden again, my favourite time of year.

  23. Sarah March 21, 2014 at 6:10 am - Reply

    You’ve been busy!!! I love my greenhouse – its my Happy Place. My friend has put fairy lights, bunting, a chair and a small table to hold a glass of wine in hers! She uses it as an escape from her 3 young

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      If I ever get my posh Victorian one I’ll have all of those! What a brilliant idea. And a big DO NOT DISTURB notice on the door.

  24. Sigrun March 21, 2014 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Oh wow, very busy. I would like to have a greenhouse, but – no space for it. You need a chair at the side of the greenhouse to enjoy the sun after work! Have a nice weekend.


    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Thanks Sigrun, you too.
      This is the first place that I’ve had room for a greenhouse. I’m still finding it a real luxury. The house is a lot less cluttered now with all my tender plants and seedlings!

  25. Jayne Hill March 21, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    You waited 30 years for one flower, genuflects (again!) in deep admiration for your patience. Or perhaps you are just incredibly stubborn :} LOL

    There’s no such thing as a greenhouse which is large enough. I’m always astounded watching Gardener’s World at HOW MANY Monty Don seems to have, and how flippin’ huge they are ….

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

      I think if Mike were to see your comment he would fall about laughing re stubborn. Nail on head. I am in deep envy of Monty’s greenhouses, especially the latest one. Perhaps a BBC salary or a rusty duck gardening show would be just as good as the lottery.

  26. Mark and Gaz March 21, 2014 at 8:33 am - Reply

    We like your greenhouse Jessica, reminds us of ours πŸ™‚ Victorian style greenhouses looks great with older properties and on a prominent position. Would love to have one someday too!

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Thanks guys. This one is in too prominent a position, right in front of the house! I can understand why it’s there, because so much of the rest of the garden is shaded by trees. But it’s a bit of an intrusion nonetheless.

  27. Jacqueline March 21, 2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Oooo Jessica ….. what a productive greenhouse …… you always put me to shame !!!! At the bottom of our garden, in a quiet corner, there lives a small hexaganol greenhouse that has become more of a shed than a greenhouse !! Terracotta pots, the lawnmower, seedboxes etc. My project this year is to clean it out and make it a greenhouse again !! You have inspired me !! XXXX

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Once you start Jackie it becomes totally addictive! Have fun!

  28. islandthreads March 21, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Jessica your greenhouse might be old and rickety, it leaks a bit but it is definitely better than no greenhouse, you have some nice healthy seeds growing straight unlike my windowsill leaning seeds, how nice to have had salad leaves through winter, I tried them on the windowsill but they just didn’t grow, too far north I think, keep your hood up πŸ˜‰ Frances

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      I didn’t have complete success with salad leaves and I think it’s because I didn’t sow the winter ones early enough. The days were already becoming too short and the seeds gave up the ghost. This year I’ll sow them in August.
      Needed the hood today, and a fleece.

  29. SeagullSuzie March 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Well I did get out in the garden for a spring tidy up last weekend and this included a bit of a tidy in the greenhouse, but I’m no where near as advanced as you. My greenhouse is old too, second hand and just a little bigger in width than yours, but I love it and it’s moved house with us. It has survived the storms because it’s in a very sheltered spot!

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      It’s been very windy the last couple of days and when I went into the greenhouse today I discovered one of the panes had slipped, leaving a half inch gap for the hail to come through! I waited until a sunny spell πŸ™‚ so I could persuade Mike to come out and fix it for me. It’s a bit more watertight now than it was..

  30. Helen Johnstone March 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I have a bird of paradise grown from seed which is two years old but smaller than yours! I love trying to grow perennials from seeds get a real buzz when they germinate

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It’s a great sense of achievement. I germinated four Strelitzia seeds this time, so there are two in each pot…

  31. angiesgardendiaries March 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I see I am not alone in suffering from greenhouse envy. It’s a very productive greenhouse Jessica regardless of it’s conditions. Had you thought about getting one of those hats with an umbrella attached πŸ˜‰
    I’m sure your bird of paradise plants will thrive now you have all those years of experience behind you. I’ve sown my first ever seeds this year – minus greenhouse conditions – I live in hope. Already my Meconopsis have failed – would you believe I let them dry out. Never before in Scottish winter has it been so dry!!!

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      The attached umbrella might be tricky when I have to duck under the staging to water stuff..
      I think we had all your rain this year. The only time I tried Meconopsis we had our hottest spring in years. The temp in the greenhouse went up to 40C. They fried.

  32. knitsofacto March 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I suspect I’m about to disappoint you … I’d love a greenhouse … to keep my dye jars warm in. Solar dyeing … maybe you should try it πŸ˜‰

    Meanwhile, this all sounds incredibly dedicated and efficient. And any tips on keeping chocolate cosmos going over winter would be welcomed, just please don’t tell me I need a greenhouse!

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I shall look up solar dyeing!
      The choc cosmos may well return this year, given how mild it’s been. You could give them a heavy mulch if they are somewhere sheltered, but in North Wales it might be safer to lift them. You don’t need a greenhouse, just somewhere they can overwinter frost free.

  33. Josephine March 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    I’d settle for a green house just like yours….leaks or no leaks πŸ™‚
    You make very good use of it !

    • Jessica March 21, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. We’ve done our best to get it back into something like working order. It was even more dilapidated when we took it on!

  34. haggiz March 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    If anybody deserves a beautiful greenhouse, you do. You work so hard, mostly against the wildlife, but I’m sure the mice would love such a des res! x

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

      If and when we ever build it, I will be sinking a metal barrier 3 feet into the ground so they can’t burrow in!

  35. Sharon March 22, 2014 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Do you heat your greenhouse at night?

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Yes, there is power in there so I have a thermostatic electric heater that keeps it frost free.

  36. woolythymes March 22, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

    you are truly my hero….and inspiration. My poor old greenhouse is a cheap hard plastic tiny thing (I have the same sort of door issues) that has evolved into little more than a glorified storage shed for gardening stuff. I going to clean it out TODAY. (really!) I might even try to start some seed???

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Go for it Steph! I am expecting great things from your garden this year πŸ™‚

  37. Dorothy Borders March 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    I’m very envious. I could have certainly used a greenhouse this winter just past but had to make do with my garage and grow lights. Sigh.

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Ironically, it’s been so mild here this year I could probably have got away without it! But at least it kept the plants protected from the wet.

  38. Nell Jean March 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I am awed by your Birds of Paradise from seeds. I am much more envious of gardeners who make such practical use of their greenhouses than those who have fancier digs than mine. I haven’t gotten around to a greenhouse post for the end of this month.

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      I have wanted a greenhouse for so long it is still a novelty and I just love being out there. The Bird of Paradise plants had better be a bit quicker to flower this time, not sure patience will stretch to another 20+ years!

  39. Cathy March 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Did I say before that I had grown from strelitzia from seed (probably about the same time you did) – one got to flowering in about 7 years and I put it outside for the summer where it shrivelled cos it didn’t get watered! But maybe 7 years for your seedlings? Your greenhouse is doing a sterling job though, Jessica, leaks or no leaks!

    • Jessica March 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      7 years I can live with! Thanks Cathy.

  40. Marian March 23, 2014 at 12:05 am - Reply

    How great to have a greenhouse! Maybe some day one of those Victorian ones πŸ˜‰ No need to say I’d love to have a greenhouse myself as well. Must be great to be able to sow in advance or to keep plants in there so they wouldn’t suffer from the weathery circumstances. For now I have to do with a terrace with a lot of plants in pots and a flooded garden that does show a bit of spring nevertheless πŸ˜‰

    • Jessica March 23, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      It’s become wet again here too and my progress in the garden has come to a halt. Can’t be long though can it? It is handy to have a greenhouse, although Mike complains bitterly about the cost of heating it when it gets very cold – not this year thankfully!

  41. Helene March 23, 2014 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Loved your story about the Strelitzia, I have just bought my first one, it will be delivered within the next 2-3 weeks, just a tiny one, but I hope I can give it enough light in my rather dark and dingy downstairs living room – I plan to take it outside during frost free periods, which would have been the last 12 months had I had it already!
    I could kill for a greenhouse, any size, leaking or not, but it would take too much of my garden so I think I will just have to continue dreaming about them πŸ™‚

    • Jessica March 23, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Good luck with your Strelitzia, I hope you can get it into flower a lot quicker than I did. Given your talent with anything green you’ll have no trouble!

  42. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA March 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I commend you on your “never quit” attitude. Perhaps if you use smaller pots and let your bird of paradise get pot bound sooner it will flower. It was the same for me with the clivia and the agapanthus, although I did not start from seed. Love that peonie! I have wanted that here for ages. My husband has banned anything new as we may relocate in the next few years. Love your wee greenhouse. Pack it full!

    • Jessica March 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      That’s why I put two B of P seedlings in each pot, the roots will fill it quicker. I’ll leave them like that now until they are climbing out on their own. It might be worth trying the Peony from seeds too? They stay small for quite a long time until they get established. When you are ready to move it should be the perfect size to plant out!

  43. Linda@arichtapestry March 24, 2014 at 8:42 am - Reply

    You’re making good use of your greenhouse. I’m in awe of all the work you get done in it and the patience you have in trying to germinate and grow one particular plant over many years. A great story!

    • Jessica March 24, 2014 at 9:49 am - Reply

      Gardeners are born optimists, of necessity I think. I’m always hopeful that things will be better the following year!

  44. Simone March 24, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I have tried to read this post but got distracted by ‘with the help of a humidity tent erected in my bedroom I germinated eight!’ That line needs to be in a novel somewhere. It conjures up all sorts of images:)

    • Jessica March 24, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Ha! I was still living in the parental home at the time… it was the only place I had!

  45. Anna March 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    I love the Strelitzia tale Jessica – a real illustration of patience πŸ™‚

    • Jessica March 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Stubbornness πŸ™‚

  46. John March 28, 2014 at 1:14 am - Reply

    It’s hard to believe that even English gardeners need greenhouses… Here in Maryland our winter would have given you a gardening heart attack. But I understand how even just few degrees makes a difference in enjoying the wintertime. I started out thinking of it as a place to grow my southern california plants like the oranges, but seed starting has become my major enjoyment all winter long. I find myself going out to the greenhouse twice a day just to see what has started up.

    • Jessica March 28, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

      It’s been a very hard winter for you guys. We don’t come close to that, but it has been down to -10C since we’ve been here, and it’s one of the mildest areas of the UK. Greenhouse heating bills go up at that point! I get huge enjoyment from seed sowing too. I want to experiment with more exotic varieties in the future.

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