Hartley Magazine

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

Heaven Is a Hothouse – RHS Chelsea Review

Owning a glasshouse is likely to feature at the top of any gardener’s wish list. Whatever the structure, from simple aluminium frame to the most luxuriously crafted designs, most of us would love the opportunity to garden under glass. It promises a world of new and exciting horticultural opportunties, where you can try out new techniques and flex your greenfingers. Working with Hartley Botanic’s latest designs, including the Grange, the Victorian and the Vista, we created three different interiors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. They were filled with tools, products and furniture to inspire you, and show how easy it is to create the perfect space to grow in. Hartley Botanic’s glasshouses inspired the crowds, as each offered a very different growing environment – one to suit every gardener, from the beginner who wants to try their hand sowing seeds and growing veg; to a more experienced gardener, cultivating rare orchids and other tender species in need of tropical conditions; as well as the leisure gardener who regards a glasshouse as both a practical and recreational space.

The Victorian Terrace

The Victorian Terrace, a new addition to the Hartley Victorian range (right), is an elegantly proportioned glasshouse, designed to suit both small and medium-sized gardens, or for those who might just prefer its particular dimensions. It is the perfect solution for the leisure gardener, and offers a very flexible growing space, with plenty of room for a comfy chair to allow you to relax in the warmth of the house. With solid cast aluminium ball finials as an interesting design feature, plus many optional accessories and a range of colour options to suit your specific taste, it could easily be your very own pied-à-terre in the garden. The highly durable polyester powder-coated finish that is applied to the glasshouses is available in a range of nine natural heritage colours to complement the aspects and character of its surroundings. As designer Roger Platt demonstrated in his planting at the show, you can have great fun co-ordinating the glasshouse to the planting. With such an attractive feature, it’s no longer necessary to tuck the greenhouse in the far corner of the garden: now you can use it as a focal point.

The Hartley Vista

Hartley VistaYou know you’ve reached giddy heights as a gardener when you can find the space for a
glasshouse. While gardening without this luxury item is not to be sniffed at, you simply can’t beat having all the benefits that this structure provides. Just think what you could grow! For your first forray into greenhouse gardening, you can’t go wrong with Hartley’s new Vista Greenhouse (left). A more robust alternative to standard aluminium designs, the distinctive lean-too shape provides maximum height and internal space for the size of footprint too. This contemporary greenhouse with its distinctive modern curved roofline will fit any size garden – large or small, urban rooftop or country plot. It offers a contemporary look that will appeal to those that want the option to propagate plants in a modern space.

The Grange

The GrangeWhile square glasshouses, like their octagonal and rectangular cousins, are an attractive feature in a garden, they are also exceptionally practical when it come to siting staging. Not just because they allow for generous lengths to run along three edges, but also because they offer the opportunity to have a central ‘island’ bench – the same sort of thing you might see in a well-designed kitchen. If the staging is placed in the middle of the building, plants can be seen from all angles, which makes it the ideal spot for creating impressive displays of tender specimens. For more hands-on endeavours – propagating, sowing seeds, potting-on – you can access tools, compost and pots from both sides. Hartley Botanic’s latest design, The Grange, features a high pyramid roof, which has an integral apex vent that sets the temperature and allows air to circulate. It is also excellent news for tall gardeners, as well as offering a solution to the problem of overwintering precious – and large – specimens like tree ferns, olives and banana plants. It provides ample room for furniture too, so you can sit and relax among your tropical plants. This would make a stunning addition to any garden, and offers an ingenious design for experienced greenhouse gardeners.

Fabulous features & top tips

Hartley Botanic was delighted to be awarded the crystal trophy for ‘Excellence of Presentation’ from the RHS for their exhibit at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.We’ve picked out some features that made them stand out from the rest.


Keeping the air circulating in a glasshouse, whatever the size, is vital to the success of growing in this type of environment.While you can buy an automatic vent system to
add as an accessory, they come as an integral fixture with Hartley Botanic’s glasshouses. Fitted on the roof or on the sides, they allow the internal atmosphere to remain cool when needed, as well as help reduce the risk of pests and diseases.


Containers are a flexible idea when it comes to growing fruit and veg in a glasshouse. Starting them off under glass will encourage early crops as well as
offering protection from wet and cold weather. You can then take them outdoors on hot sunny days. This strawberry planter from Crocus – see panel for details – can also be used for herbs.


Experienced gardeners’ will tell you that a tidy and ordered glasshouse will result in a more successful growing space. Though it can be hard to keep everything
looking ship-shape if space is an issue. Hartley Botanic suggest aiming high if this is an issue for you, with a range of shelves that come in varying widths and lengths – just the place to get seedlings off to a great start.


Soil beds are a useful feature in a glasshouse, though can be untidy if soil spills out onto the floor. Hartley Botanic solve this issue with woven hazel hurdlesfrom Burgon & Ball. Other practical, as well as tidy, solutions for creating veg beds are these clever potato bags that can be packed away after use.


Choose the right location for your glasshouse. Don’t pick a shady spot – you’ll want to benefit from plenty of sunshine. Also, overhanging trees will result in debris blocking the guttering. Use blinds to add any shade you need during summer months.

  • Think about your glasshouse as an integral part of your garden design, and create borders and beds around the structure.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Grow more exotic, unusual plants or propagate favourite varieties.
  • Make the most of your glasshouse as a growing space.You’d be suprised how often gardeners start to see them as an additional store for tools!