Two Greenhouses. And Not A Pane Of Glass Between Them.


The old greenhouse sits forlornly on the patio, as it has been all summer, having surrendered its former space to the construction of a replacement. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned at all in these years of projects chez nous it’s to always, always, have a fallback plan. You never know what is going to happen and, of equal pertinence, just how long it’s all going to take.

The glass was removed to make carrying the frame easier. All bar one piece, the ventilation pane, deemed at the time as being too awkward to take out. The very next morning as the sun rose over the trees to the east the automatic opening mechanism in the greenhouse roof sprang into action as it always has. Except that there must have been some distortion in the now non-rigid frame… because the next thing we heard was a CRAAACK!! and the tinkling of broken glass falling on concrete. The rest of the panes are safe though. And isn’t it just as well. The nights are turning chilly n’est-ce pas?


Previously, on greenhouse news:






And now, emerging out of the chaos which used to be a garden, a new wall.

To me this scene bears a marked similarity to an archaeological dig. Although perhaps in reverse. And, sadly, with a notable absence of treasure. Both the greenhouse wall builder and the terrace wall builder have used gazebos as weather protection, equally effective against both sun and rain. They’re less resistant to wind. This last Friday it blew a hoolie down here, unexpectedly fierce for mid September. Shortly after breakfast one of the gazebos, the heavier of the two as it happens, literally took to the air, clearing the low hedge and ending up on its side on the river bank. Perilously close to a dunking. Not the easiest of places for a retrieval operation either.



The dimensions of the new greenhouse base need to be accurate to within a 5mm tolerance, no mean feat when the client has opted to use random sizes of stone..



The doorway tolerance is even more exacting, 0mm.

Mike made up a wooden proforma for the builder to work up to. The gap ended up spot on.



The sign of a true craftsman.

Before starting the greenhouse wall the builder made up samples of mortar to find the best colour match. A no-brainer?



And at last it stands ready.

The upper surface of the block in the doorway indicates finished floor level. The wall won’t seem nearly as high when the internal paving is in and the ground has been built up all around the greenhouse.



The holes in the wall nearest the camera will take downpipes for rainwater capture off the roof. The larger space in the farthest wall will be covered by a sliding metal panel, giving the option for warm air to flow freely between the interior of the greenhouse and the cold frame beyond. It means that hardening off young plants can be a smoother transition, lessening the shock of a sudden move out of a warm environment into a much colder one.



The cold frame wall. Again it won’t seem as deep, or as high, when the ground is built up to final level.



As ever on this steeply sloping site, access is the toughest challenge. We’ve lost the steps between the house level and the garden. The earth ramp initially created by the landscaping digger is still needed for the motorised barrow as we continue to move stuff up and down the hill. It’s a quagmire in the wet.

But it’s progress. That will do for me.


And finally:



The old greenhouse hasn’t been entirely idle this summer. Having comprehensively saturated the sitting room floor with their hose the house builders promptly requisitioned it.. as a drying frame for their dust sheets!

Glamping it is not.