True to my word, after the posting of my February “Greenhouse Year”, I ordered a new cover for the mini-greenhouse and it arrived the next morning, thanks to Amazon. I took the opportunity of tidying up the “dump” area at the back of the house, and decided to re-position the greenhouse so that it was facing south rather than east – that way it will get more light and sun.
This has backfired slightly, because we have been lucky enough to have a number of sunny days, and being made of plastic, the heat it generated inside was tremendous. I have had to remember to roll up the front before going to work and zip it up at night, small fry really as it means the greenhouse is back in business and being used for what it should be used for.
Without the luxury of a car these days, I am limited as to where I can buy my garden goodies. This is does have an upside because I spend a lot less than I would if I was let loose in the local garden centre. I take my pink shopping trolley on the bus and make my way to Wilkinsons – or Wilko as it seems to be called in some towns, depending on the size of the store (strange that!). The last week in February I bought a bag of seed compost, seed trays and a selection of seed packets. I have already sowed some Wilkinsons seeds: Larkspur “Giant Imperial Mix” and “10-week” Stock, the fat highly scented variety, which are slowly coming through.
As it is such a small greenhouse, I have to be very clever in jigsawing seed trays and pots so there is enough light for them all. I have fought a battle with slugs and snails regarding my Centaurea Dealbata, so last year I dug up the weedy remains, potted it up and stored it in the greenhouse over the winter. It has been carefully nurtured and wrapped in bubble wrap to keep the roots warm and the care has paid dividends. I am pleased to say that it is looking very healthy and when the weather is guaranteed to be frost free, I will put it in the garden. It should be strong and large enough to fight off marauding molluscs.
Another plant over-wintering is the Geranium Kashmir White. Having hunted with no luck for this plant last year, it was given to me as a present. I was so disappointed when I thought I had lost it but no, it just dies down over the winter and now there are a few lovely little shoots coming through. My intention was to plant it in the terracotta urn containing the white Hydrangea but I may just leave it in a pot, not sure at the moment.
I went to Wilkinsons again this morning and bought three small plants – 3 for £5 seemed like an excellent deal. The bulbs were tucked away in bags of soil, as with anything bought cheap from a shop, they had some spindly pale shoots but with a little bit of nurture I knew they will probably be ok. In accordance with the instructions, I soaked the bulbs in water for a while, potted them up and put them in the greenhouse: Dicentra “Spectabilis” Echinops “Ritro” and blue and white Veronica. Once established and large enough I will plant them out.
I also bought some more seeds (Johnsons, this time) and sown Aquilegia Nora Barlow hoping it wont be too late for this year and Cosmos Sea Shells Red, they look so pretty with fluted edges so fingers crossed they are successful.
There are two shelves left, one being on the bottom of the greenhouse, so I am not sure if I will place anything that might attract snails and slugs down there. By next month I hope to have some vegetable seedling to show off and I can keep you up to date with the progress of the spindly Wilkinsons bulbs.
Other garden bloggers have also written about their Greenhouse Year and if you pop across to The Patient Gardener, after reading her interesting post about her busy greenhouse, take a look at how others are doing this March.