Traditional Orangeries

Orangery Greenhouses

Traditional orangeries
Traditional orangeries

Traditional orangeries make a statement in any garden and provide the perfect growing environment for your plants and vegetables. Taking inspiration from the classic features of a Victorian Greenhouse, orangeries are a versatile structure and attractive choice for any keen gardener.

What is an orangery?

An orangery in Brazil
An offset Winterhouse at the botanical garden, Curitiba, Brazil.

An orangery Greenhouse is typically classified as a brick or stone structure that is an extension of the home. It usually has a glass roof that covers less than 75% of the overall roof area, and glass walls covering less than 50% of the total wall area.

The windows of a traditional orangery are large, normally south-facing, and it usually has a flat roof with a glass lantern. 

Some traditional orangeries may have wooden shutters to retain heat during the nighttime or a heating source such as a stove.

History of the Victorian orangery Greenhouse

Traditional orangeries were popular with major landowners between the 17th and 19th centuries as a place to grow citrus trees, safe from the harsh weather conditions of the UK.

As well as protecting trees from winter frosts, an orangery Greenhouse also extended the growing season. The sunlight passing through the glass orangery Greenhouse roof would keep fruits and vegetables warm throughout the cooler months.

Over the decades, times and tastes changed, and the need for a Victorian style orangery evolved. These evolving fashions were partly due to the UK importing more citrus fruit than locally grown. 

But, while traditional orangeries found a broader role as a growing space for any tender and exotic plant, the name stuck. The Victorian orangery Greenhouse survives for a broad category of conservatories and large Greenhouses.

Now, a growing 21st-century fan base of budding gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts are ‘switching on’ to the benefits of an orangery Greenhouse for a whole range of everyday activities.

From a glass orangery Greenhouse where you can relax and take afternoon tea to a practical freestanding orangery that enables you to grow the tenderest of plants, the classic orangery is as popular and useful now as it has ever been.

What is the difference between an orangery and a Greenhouse?

Although many orangeries look like larger Greenhouses, there are certain features that originated due to their very specific purpose.

Some traditional orangeries are similar in appearance to lean-to Greenhouses, but this isn’t a space-saving measure. This design was initially because a masonry wall can be a valuable store of heat, helping to keep the interior temperature of an orangery style Greenhouse steady overnight and during periods of bad weather.

Modern Greenhouses and lean-to Greenhouses work similarly, adding a walled garden to even a modestly sized 21st-century garden in the classic orangery manner. The result is a small orangery Greenhouse that has utilised the space available.

A freestanding orangery Greenhouse often has several rows of brickwork to stand on, adding a warming masonry element to the structure. This design means it takes the form of a lean-to Greenhouse, without being built against an existing wall.

What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

Compared to traditional orangeries, most conservatories have a more extensive glass roof and a low brick base. 

Conservatory walls are usually at least 50% glass, and the structure is typically built against the wall of the house with a closing door or window. Conservatories also have a standalone heat source, separate from the main house.

 Is an orangery better than a conservatory?

When choosing between an orangery Greenhouse or Greenhouse conservatories, there are several factors to consider. A classic orangery is generally bigger than a Greenhouse and is best if you plan to house many plants. An orangery style Greenhouse also provides a more consistent temperature, ensuring your plants are kept cool in summer and warm and sheltered over the winter.

Traditional orangeries can be a more stylish addition to your garden than classic Greenhouse conservatories due to the appealing classical design. They are also considered better in terms of adding value to your home.

Deciding whether an orangery Greenhouse or conservatory is better depends on how you intend to use the structure, your space, and your budget. The Hartley Botanic range of traditional orangeries adapts to your specific style needs and garden restrictions.

Choosing an orangery style Greenhouse

The Davies House at Kew Gardens. A modern Alpine House, by Jack at Wikipedia.
The Davies House at Kew Gardens. A modern Alpine House, by Jack at Wikipedia.

A large orangery Greenhouse works well for growing tender and exotic plants. Hartley Botanic’s experts can construct custom-made models on a masonry base if you want the warming effects of a citrus wall in a freestanding orangery

Alternatively, you can have one exterior wall of your house act as a citrus wall, combining it with a lean-to Greenhouse to trap the heat and provide some vertical growing space.

Victorian orangery Greenhouse range provides the appearance of a classic orangery, perfect for an elegant and timeless garden. 

A large orangery Greenhouse can also be partitioned to provide both growing space and a separate relaxation area, which you can furnish with a table and chairs.

Building an orangery depends on the type of structure. You must place a lean-to orangery Greenhouse against a wall, and you may need to build a masonry base before placing the glazed elements on top.

A good-quality orangery Greenhouse by Hartley Botanic should serve your needs for several decades or more with a properly laid base and well-constructed masonry elements.