Surlingham, Norfolk

Lucy’s Greenhouse – Part 1

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted my very own ‘Monty Don’ greenhouse. If you don’t know what I mean, I am referring to those wonderful Victorian style greenhouses, with beautiful brick bases and decorative cresting’s on top. For me, they are total perfection!

My parents always said, ‘good things come to those who wait’ and in this case, you could probably say they were right…

With life in the 30’s looming, I have come to terms with the fact I am ready and willing to fully ‘adult’!  So, what better way to ease myself into this, than buying a house with the hubby that people on Escape to the Country often politely describe as a ‘project’!

In our case, this truly meant a complete renovation of the whole house and everything that comes with it. We bought the house in July 2016 and I can now confirm that living in a renovation project for over 2 years, really is a wonderful test of strength for any marriage!!

Seriously though, Lewis (My Hubby) has done nearly all the work himself and I am in awe at how well he has done and how hard he has worked (don’t tell him that though!). I admit I have just about had enough of living in a building site now, however the thought of getting everything finished and seeing the end project and being able to decorate, is so exciting and is enough to keep us going, just!!

However, A REALLY exciting opportunity about buying this house, was the fact we now had a perfectly sized garden, just waiting for the dream greenhouse!

So, after saving hard and with a little help from Birthday and Christmas donations, my greenhouse finally arrived in December 2016. I could barely contain my excitement!

I knew I wanted to grow plants in my greenhouse all year round, so it was important for me to pick a position in my garden which would maximize light, during the gloomy winter months.

I also needed to position it somewhere sheltered, yet still aesthetically pleasing. The designer in me needed it to not only be practical, but also look the part!

Luckily, we’d put up all new fences already and there was a sunny, sheltered corner, with a readymade windbreak, ideal! Now I had identified the perfect location, the magic could happen…!

My greenhouse was going to be my very own sanctuary, away from day to day stresses and life pressures, so I needed to make sure it had all the creature comforts I required. An electricity supply meant I could plant at night (plus drown out my terrible singing with the radio!).  Investing in a heater and timer meant I could keep my little plant babies cosy and warm, especially during the colder times. Likewise, having access to a water supply was essential.

Luckily, my sister-in-law was looking to rehome a chest of draws and as I love a freebie, I was only too willing to give it a home! After a little mini makeover, we added a tap, sink and rigged it up to our water supply.  Now I didn’t even need to venture in to the house – Instead I could poor myself a fresh glass of water! (No rest for the wicked)

At last, my greenhouse was ready…. But was I?  

This might sound a little crazy, but I was nervous… I mean, having hundreds of little leafy lives relying on me to nurture them, it’s a big commitment!

Also, I had the added pressure of people assuming that as a garden designer, I had grown seeds before. However, the reality is that I’ve only ever sourced them and I’d never actually nurtured my own plants from seed. 

Therefore, I decided to keep it simple, using just a few different varieties of seeds. I started with;

  • Sweet-peas
  • Cosmos
  • Cornflower
  • Larkspurs
  • Buzzy Lizzie’s
  • A Few Succlents

Don’t get me wrong, I made a few mistakes along the way, but I didn’t let that stop me!  The saying “sometimes you win & sometimes you learn” comes to mind here, especially with Buzzy Lizzies.  However, I was hooked and the next year I increased my varieties and before I knew it, every space in my greenhouse was utilised- new shelves and all! I even up-cycled some old office shelving units, which made for a perfect potting on an area behind the greenhouse! 

Now I’m a couple of years down the line with my greenhouse and the sowing season is underway, I recently had the idea to start this ‘Lucy’s Greenhouse’ blog. I hope this allows me to tell you about some of my experiences with my greenhouse (good and bad!) and share my growing discoveries. I would also be really interested to hear about your greenhouses and perhaps we can all share and help each other?! ‘Two heads’ and all that…

If you have read my January Blues  blog, you will know that due to a significant hockey injury last year, I now have much more ‘me time’ on my hands and I fully intend to make the most of this in my garden.

There really is nothing better than enjoying the warm sunshine glow on your skin, or listening to the pitta patter of rain drops on the glass. Plus, ‘growing your own’ is just so much more rewarding and satisfying. The smell of your home grown stocks, or the taste of your own runner beans- Yummy!

There is also no better place to enjoy a well-earned cuppa and restore some balance back in your life.

Coming up next –my seed suggestions for people just starting out, with advice on how to create a nice, colourful mix of easy varieties…

Ava picking her favourites

Love Lucy xxx