Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Getting a Greenhouse

In The Greenhouse with Lila Das GuptaI am not normally an indecisive person when it comes to shopping, nor, come to it, was my mother. Whenever we deliberated too much over a purchase, she used to say to us in her native Spanish ‘No es para casarse!’ – ‘It’s not as if you’re getting married over it!’I wonder if she would be surprised to know that I spent more time deciding on which greenhouse to buy than I did over deciding whether to marry my husband. Neither is to be undertaken lightly: a greenhouse, like a husband, is for life.

Fortunately I realised on my first date that my man was for keeps, leaving only the troublesome question of which greenhouse to buy?

The thought of purchasing something I wouldn’t be happy with led to uncharacteristic dithering. When a gardening friend said to me “I love Hartley greenhouses, they are over-engineered. My greenhouse is going to outlast me”, I realised that this was the solid, dependable sort I was after. So, readers, I took the plunge and said yes to a 10x6ft ‘Cottage 6 Greenhouse’ in Forest Green.

Wood or Aluminium? I chose a Green Aluminium Greenhouse as at this busy point in my life I wanted something as low maintenance as possible.

Originally I was going to keep the greenhouse unheated but since the Christmas week when the greenhouse went up brought with it frosts (see picture to the left), I realised that some form of heating would greatly lengthen the season. I’ve since invested in a 2KW greenhouse fan heater, which now requires the fitting of an electrical supply by an electrician.

The additional benefits of having electricity are that you can then put in heated cables if you wish, or go for a heated propagator. You can also install an overhead light for working in the evening and last, but not least, plug in your favourite music.

Greenhouses, like sheds, of course, are the perfect place to loiter and potter about while still appearing to be purposeful to your family.

This year Father Christmas brought MP3 players for everyone in the family, so I firmly intend to have a docking station on the potting bench. If you are looking for inspiration for music to play in the greenhouse, try this ‘quiet and subtle’ best of 2008 selection from National Public Radio’s softly spoken and talented producer, Bob Boilen (All Songs Considered).

See you In The Greenhouse next week.