Round the Corner in the Coop

Chloris of the Blooming Garden asked recently if I could show her inside my greenhouse – by which I assume she meant the new lean-to one round the corner of the house, where the chickens used to be. We have been calling this ‘Number 5’, to distinguish it from Numbers 2 and 4 which are the two joined-up greenhouses at the bottom of the garden, next to the cutting beds (numbers 1 and 3 no longer exist), but recently the Golfer suggested we call it The Coop, as a tribute to the last occupants of this part of the garden. As yet, this name doesn’t trip off the tongue in the way Number 5 has, but we shall see; in the meantime, whatever we call it, let’s open the door and pop in and have a look around.

The longer term intention is for this greenhouse to hold less hardy plants, but it will take time to expand my knowledge of the possibilities and build up a collection so I will be on a constant lookout for appropriate occupants. A good selection of winter and early spring flowering plants is something I particularly want to aim for, and although there is little in flower at the moment there is at least the promise of future flowers, especially from bulbs.

On the staging on the left are pots of narcissi, freesia and various muscari as well as a pretty little bulb I had never heard of before called Tecophilaea cyanocrocus violacea, which should flower in March. The cyclamen was a birthday present and the trailing rhodochiton is an experiment to see how it overwinters.

Under the staging are some early planted Lilium candidum and various hippeastrum/amaryllis crosses which came to me too late to make an impact in their flowering season this autumn, as well as pots of resting eucomis. To the right, the upper staging houses resting scented-leaved pelargoniums, cut back by half and their leaves stripped, as recommended by specialist supplier Fibrex. I am aware that it is possible to keep them flowering throughout the winter but I am taking the expert’s advice, and will make a note on the calendar to remind me to water them (and other resting bulbs) every fortnight. Below these are some sempervivum and sarracenia and a pot of Aeonium that has been outside for most of the year, along with Camellia ‘Yuletide’ and Salvia coccinea, both of which have come in for the winter.

Under this staging is my expanding collection of terracotta pots. Having decided to honour the upmarket nature of the greenhouse by exclusively using terracotta pots I have added to their number in the most economically way possible, surprisingly not by purchasing from car boot sales where their presence has proved to be scarce, but mostly from Wilkinsons (Wilkos), one of the ‘pound shops’ and Morrisons; the pile of deep pots came back with us from Morrisons on Anglesey,  spotted reduced by half on our way to the ferry to Ireland and purchased on our return in case our local branch had sold out! Often the pots have cost less than the pot saucers which are harder to come by, but Wilkinsons’ are reasonable.

I am looking forward to some climbing blooms in spring as well, with pots of Tropaeolum tricolour and Hardenbergia violacea; I am not sure if the former might need a bigger pot so any advice would be helpful.

Still in the house are a number of hippeastrum, planted at intervals, and pots of hyacinths, which will be moved into The Coop at an appropriate time; knowing when to move from dark to light and cool to warm and maybe cool again is always a learning curve and although I intend to keep this greenhouse frost free it will always be a degree or two above Numbers 2 and 4 because of its closeness to the house. As we only installed the greenhouse in April the whole season is a voyage of discovery’ and one thing I have learned is that this side of the house is not as shady as I first thought, with the morning sun in summer peering over the top of the adjacent houses for a number of hours (less so of course in winter).

So that’s what’s happening round the corner in The Coop; like much of the December garden it is a place of anticipation, an important stop on my daily rambles, and I am pleased to have been able to welcome you there. Do come again!

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26 Responses to Round the Corner in the Coop

  1. Beautiful! I love the terracotta pots and I am impressed at how clean and manicured your greenhosue is 😀👍

    • Cathy says:

      Only clean and manicured because (a) it was new in April this year and (b) I wiped the staging and swept the floor the day before I took the photos! My other greenhouse does NOT look like this – and is a ‘working’ greenhouse, currently full of seedlings and cuttings

  2. Lovely! I am (like most northern gardeners, I think) green with envy. But would I be able to keep it as neat and clean as yours? Good job, you!

  3. Heyjude says:

    Looks good. I take it you don’t have any heating in the Coop? I also love terracotta pots and found that Homebase do some reasonably priced ones too.

    • Cathy says:

      Like No 2/4 greenhouse, I will be heating it to about 5 degrees, just enought o keep it frost free. I use thermostatically controlled electric heaters and just accept that our bills will be higher – the garden is my main interest/expenditure in life, so it is worth it

      • Heyjude says:

        I quite agree, gardens and plants are my main interest and I don’t spend much on clothes or jewellery or make-up. Do you use special greenhouse heaters or just normal electric ones? We have an oil-filled heater that has a thermostat and I was thinking of using that in my conservatory.

        • Cathy says:

          They are specific greenhouse heaters, by BioGreen. One has a built in thermostat, the other has a temperature sensor and thermostat. They both have fans to circulate heat around the greenhouse

    • Cathy says:

      ps no Homebase locally now although we do still have their distribution centre!

  4. bcparkison says:

    You are making headway. It is kinda cold here and 3″ of rain yesterday so I m inside

    • Cathy says:

      3″ of rain in one day? It does happen sometimes in parts of the UK, but not where we live. Staying inside sounds a good option – I am sure there are Christmas tasks you could find to do!

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Yes Cynthia, I am also green with envy about this greenhouse. The Coop is aptly named. So much more charming than a number. You just need a hen or rooster of some sort to occupy a spot here to give it more panache. I like your collection of terracotta pots. Terracotta ages so well to my eyes. It will be fun to watch your pots of bulbs start popping up closer to spring.

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, it is so fancy and clean. I do not know that particular nasturtium, so do not now how big of a pot it needs. I have been wanting to grow it, but have never come up with an excuse to do so.

  7. Annette says:

    We’ll have to replace our greenhouse this winter or next spring as the plastic panes are virtually dissolving, they’re such poor quality. It’s quite a challenge to find a suitable replacement when you can only see pictures. Our last one in Switzerland was bought at a trade fair and we knew it was excellent quality. I’d love to have glass but with the heat in summer it’s not a wise choice. Something will come our way, I hope!

    • Cathy says:

      You can buy coated glass (or add a film to it) to keep spaces cooler in summer and warmer in winter – not with a greenhouse in mind, but why not? Worth investigating?

  8. Chloris says:

    Thank you for inviting us into the coop. It is always such fun to see what other people are growing, yours is going to give you so much pleasure this winter with all those bulbs. Tecophilaea is such a glorious colour. I foolishly planted it outside a few years ago but it is not really hardy. Tropaeolum tricolor is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think it needs a bigger pot. I agree about terracotta pots, they make the greenhouse look so much nicer.
    My greenhouse is a year old now and already stuffed with too many plants, I don’t seem to have a stop button when it comes to acquiring more and more plants that I haven’t any room for. And then I keep propagating them just because I can, not because I need more.

    • Cathy says:

      You have done well with your stuffing – I am still hampered by lack of knowledge of appropriate plants. I look forward to some more wonderful photos of yours when blooming is in full swing – or before then, even!

  9. Cathy your Greenhouse will be magnificent when bulbs start to bloom before they are planned. The Tecophilaea has a divine mauve color and a lot of flowers, I saw it to an acquaintance who showed it to me as a jewel. I love the Cyclamen with white flowers. The terracotta pots are wonderful: they are my favorite. It is a very beautiful greenhouse. Thanks for showing it. Greetings from Margarita.

  10. Christina says:

    I fell much like you about what would work in the orangery I’ve started call the new room that (along with several other names) because it now houses all my citrus plants for winter. I love terra-cotta pots.

    • Cathy says:

      Do you recall that the Sitooterie started out as the ‘orangery’, because I wanted to grow a couple of oranges in it? They didn’t last the fisrt winter, but by then I liked its alternative name better 😉 Do pass on details of any plants you thnk might work for me, although conditions of course won’t be the same as in yours. I hope none of your other names are derogatory!

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