I thought you might like to join me in the Coop today, to enjoy both the flowers and the fragrance that delight the senses at this time of year. The Coop is a 5 x 14 foot lean-to greenhouse, attached to the northeast facing wall of the extension to our house – not the sunniest aspect, but at least it is unlikely ever to overheat, and we installed it just about two years ago on the part of the garden previously occupied for many years by our chickens. It has been particularly useful for early spring flowers and tender perennials but I am still learning what can successfully be grown in it.
Pots of crocus and dwarf iris are now finished, but many other bulbs are coming into their own, like these narcissi (left to right, ‘Avalanche’, ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’, ‘Erlicheer’) :
Miniature narcissi (‘Canaliculatus’, bulbocodium ‘Conspicuous’, ‘Rip Van Winkle’):
Muscari (‘Valerie Finnis’, ‘Latifolium’, ‘Blue Magic’):
Hyacinths (‘Blue Star’ and ‘Carnegie’, ‘Miss Saigon’ is yet to bloom):
Some cyclamen given as a gift in September and still flowering:
A pot of Hepatica nobilis:
Brilliant blue Tecophilaea cyanocrocus violacea:
The first few flowers of Tropaeolum, still fairly insignificant at this stage:
Equally tiny blooms of Hardenbergia violacea:
Several Hippeastrum/amaryllis, taking their time in the relative coolness of the Coop:
Pretty primroses provide a further splash of colour, but are unlikely to survive for another year, and I don’t bother trying:
Most of the bulbs were planted in October but the hippeastrum were planted later, in early December; a little adjustment in planting times might be needed if I wanted to ensure more were flowering for our open day in mid February – but a colder winter could bring very different results anyway.
Also in the Coop are a number of fragrant leaved pelargonium which I shall start watering more regularly now, and feeding too. They were cut back by half in the autumn and defoliated but will soon freshen up with renewed attention. Under the staging are several more over wintering pots – eucomis, calla, aeonium, nerines and true amaryllis amongst them, most of which will respond quickly to watering when the time is right:
Even without the fragrant blooms the Coop has a distinct ‘glasshouse’ smell, unlike the working greenhouse at the other end of the garden, and the sound of the door as it slides open heralds a promising invitation: I hope you enjoyed your visit, a welcome diversion from the usual ramble round the garden.