The Old Guard

After recently mentioning plans for putting together a kind of vertical cold frame behind the greenhouse, Annette suggested making it out of old windows. This is just the sort of thing we would do if we had old windows to hand and we have used such resources in the garden before, with glazed units set into a frame with a mirror (that needs cleaning) behind it, situated underneath Rambling Rector (below left), and an attractively shaped window attached to one of our boundaries (below right). The glazed units came from a flea market type of antique fair whilst the window came from our local reclamation yard.

windowsThe comment was a good nudge to rethink our materials for the cold frame, but with this being the wrong season for car boot sales and with no trips to antique fairs planned we instead hot-footed it to our friendly local reclamation yard. As well as looking out for glass and anything quirky and cheap we kept in mind the need for a structural support for the fatsia, to restrain its exuberance and prevent it from attacking anyone over the height of five feet tall. There was no appropriate glass to be had, but we did come away with an old fireguard which we thought might be modifiable to do the job with the fatsia. We knew it wasn’t going to be tall enough, so also brought back a few bricks to build a plinth for it to stand on. The picture below shows how by a sheer fluke it is actually the same width as the slated area the fatsia is growing in (although we had planned to cut it), but also reminded me how attractive the plant is from the ground up and that it would be a shame to hide its ankles and calves by brickwork. Back to the drawing board methinks…….

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10 Responses to The Old Guard

  1. Anna says:

    Oh the vertical cold frame sounds as if it would be most useful Cathy and no doubt you will find suitable materials before too long. I like the idea of using mirrors in the garden but always worry about birds flying into them. I agree that it would be a shame to hide the base of the fatsia although that fire guard looks just perfick for the job.

    • Cathy says:

      The birds don’t have a problem with this mirror, Anna, as it is so dirty!! We have just(this afternoon) bought a 2nd hand greenhouse from eBay so looks like we will be cobbling the coldframe out of this – need to go and dismantle and collect it first though. Always something to do 🙂

  2. Chloris says:

    That fireguard makes a perfect cage for your Fatsia. The leaves look like hands with long fingers just waiting to grab you. And you have a handy pile of bricks to play with. I’m looking forward to seeing your cold frame. It is fascinating for your blog followers wondering what on earth you will be doing next. It makes gardeners like me seem very dull, just weeding and pruning fruit trees. I feel I should get out there and build something.

    • Cathy says:

      I love fatsia leaves – well the whole plant, even if it can get a bit wayward. Perhaps the day will come when I am happy just to sit and twiddle my fingers, but not yet! Oh, and you need a challenge, Girl!

  3. Sarah says:

    Nothing gives me a rosy glow as much as recycling or up cycling! Especially if I’m up cycling something that could be considered old rubbish. We had two rolls of fencing wire destined for the tip. Mr Fig secured them into cylinders and now they are designer (!) supports for beans and peas. Good luck with your projects!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh most definitely Sarah – particularly if it might be considered rubbish. Like Mr Fig’s cylinders we utilised some fencing wire left behind when an adjacent property took out their conifers (hurrah!) and replaced them with a fence, and used them around the posts of our clematis colonnade. Perfect!

  4. Annette says:

    I love that beautiful white (Georgian?) window! Am looking for a possibility to include one in my garden which isn’t easy as it’s so open and doesn’t have any formal hedges but I’m sure I’ll think of something. Great idea with the fireguard – must have been made for this job of complementing and supporting a Fatsia. I’d have thought that old windows are quite easy to get. Thanks for the mention and good luck with coldframe and all other projects!

    • Cathy says:

      I knew where the window came from but I think it was a 20s or 30s building so not as old as it looks. It’s pot luck what our reclamation yard gets but perhaps a more urban area would get more windows. Not sure about the fireguard yet, even though it does fit beautifully here…

  5. Pauline says:

    Love the fireguard, holding the Fatsia at bay, what a wonderful idea!

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