Diary of an Expectant Greenhouse Gardener: Part 1

My name is Sian Napier a professional gardener who at last is becoming the custodian of a much longed for Greenhouse. I'm the new blogger for the Greenhouse Forum and I want to share my journey with you in this blog.

When my youngest turned four and started school, I returned to education myself and began training in horticulture. Three years later after receiving my diploma I started work as a freelance gardener and garden designer. Fifteen years have passed, and my business has gone from strength to strength.

For years I have been growing vegetables for the family, as well as raising a few chickens, [even pigs once, but that’s another story], but there has always been something missing and I have been longing for a greenhouse for a very, very long time. Not just to grow tomatoes and cucumbers, plus chilies, peppers, aubergines, to name but a few. I would like somewhere for me to relax and unwind. You see for my husband that’s a round of golf or a razz on his motorbike but for me it’s propagating plants and sowing seeds. I love watching courgette seeds germinate and waiting impatiently for the first white arch to appear through the soil, followed by the seed leaves. I love pinching out the sucker leaves that grow between the main stems and branches of tomato plants, [and the smell]. I have done these things, I have watched my courgettes thrive, whilst on my knees, over my cold frame and with much success too I may add. Frustratingly I have also watched every outdoor tomato go brown due to an unkind British summer and never get to enjoy the fruit.

So, after a very long wait, my greenhouse is coming and she is beautiful, she will sit elegantly and in pride of place amongst my raised vegetable beds. She is an RHS Wisley Planthouse made by Gabriel Ash.

I’ve chosen this greenhouse for its traditional design, made from sustainable Canadian cedar which mellows with age. It also boasts over 2 meters in height which should allow me to train a grape vine along its roof space and accommodate a lemon tree at one end. You see, I have visions of myself relaxing at the end of the day with a gin and tonic made with a lemon from my own tree.

Surprisingly my husband has now shown an interest and would like a small woodburning stove in one corner, just warm enough to take the edge off, so we can sit out on chilly evenings or stay dry and cosy during rainstorms [or for him to escape from the chaos at family gatherings for a cheeky cigar]. The greenhouse can become an extension of the house, where we can chill out, relax and even entertain on a small scale. I have visions of fairy lights and candles as we sip wine under the vine and enjoy a tomato salad that’s freshly picked and made with home grown basil.

If I sound a little enthusiastic, it’s because I am genuinely excited by this greenhouse and the prospects of home grown produce and plant propagation. I’m looking forward to creating a sanctuary in which to potter and nurture plants and myself at the end of a busy day. Maybe a little space for my yoga mat.

There is one small stumbling block however…in that, the spot in the garden where I plan to site this haven of tranquility is currently an overgrown dilapidated old chicken run, including a rusty old trailer, a ton of rubble, loads of nettles and brambles along with a rather large bay tree. Not to mention, a rotting garden fence that needs replacing.

Looks like we’re going to be very busy.

This blog is for me to share my journey as the dream slowly turns into a reality. Here I want to invite you to join me in this greenhouse gardening adventure from knocking down the old chicken coop to my first tomato or even the gin & tonic with my own lemon.

To be continued…..


Text & photos: Sian Napier