Greenhouses give an extra dimension

Greenhouses, heated or otherwise, add an extra dimension to the garden, not least because they help to maintain sanity.

Sunday, 1st April 2018, 12:58 pm
Potted polyanthus is checked for watering and aphids. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Sweet corn, runner beans and courgettes are three of the veggies that benefit from the flying start this facility supports. This is the calm port where a gardener finds respite when the wind howls outside, and ours is buzzing as we head into Easter.

The peach is ablaze with pink flowers that benefit from a daily tickle with the artist’s brush. Potted polyanthus in mixed colours need checking for watering and aphid presence.

Two generations of leaf lettuce, sown in the border, are checked daily, then attention turns to the propagating box. This has a soil-warming cable in use from March to May. It’s currently receiving chrysanthemum stem cuttings sprouting from saved rootstocks and is about to be joined by trays of sown herbaceous perennial seeds.

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Dwarf narcissi emerging from the snow unscathed and in full bloom, plus assorted heathers covered in honey bees (Apis mellifera), has fired a desire to get into gardening mode. Just as well because the arrival of several more plants via mail order is anticipated.

Sarah Raven ( is sending Salvia Amistad, Liriope Muscari and Geranium Rozanne, worthy additions to the ornamental border. Also, rooted cuttings of French tarragon, far superior to the Russian type, but difficult to source.

From Mr Fothergill ( we welcome Monarda Pink Lace, Scabiosa Fama Blue and Digitalis Summer King. Two bare-rooted apple trees, grafted onto the semi-dwarfing M26 rootstock, should arrive any day from D.T. Brown (

It’s so good to be getting back into the swing of things.