Hartley Magazine

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



A Hartley Botanic Victorian Lodge Greenhouse, Oxfordshire.

Historic Greenhouse and Glasshouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic has been helping its customers make the most out of their beautiful, handmade structures for over 80 years. Founded in 1938, the company is one of Britain’s oldest and most trusted Greenhouse manufacturers and its entire product range is endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Here, the Lancashire-based company has worked with gardening writer Matthew Biggs to share some ways Greenhouse owners can get ready for spring.


Even with the lure of spring just a few weeks away, don’t be tempted to discard all your winter insulation. Any time from February to April (and up until early June, further north) can still bring low temperatures and frost, which means tender plants will be at risk. If you’ve already insulated your Greenhouse with bubble wrap polythene over winter, you can remove some, if it is practical, on warmer days and reinstate it in the evenings. Removing some insulation will also allow more light in to the plants below.


Make use of the warmer, sunnier days to give your Greenhouse a much-needed tidy up. Continue to remove weeds and debris and make sure you’ve got enough clean seed trays and pots in a range of sizes ready for lots of sowing by washing them in water with a drop of eco-friendly disinfectant, then rinse thoroughly. Choose warmer days to ventilate your Greenhouse to reduce the risk of botrytis, or grey mould, closing the vents by mid-afternoon, before temperatures drop.


Before you get stuck in with your sowing, it’s worth spending a bit of time getting your compost ready. Larger seeds, like peas, can be grown in a peat free multipurpose compost, while smaller seeds like lettuce and tomatoes can be grown in similar seed compost. Put your bags of peat-free compost in your Greenhouse for 24 hours to warm up, or fill your pots and trays and then warm them up in a propagator. It’s also worth warming up a watering can of tap water in the Greenhouse too. Tap water is preferable as the chlorine acts as a fungicide.



Chillies, peppers and aubergines can take a long time to grow in the UK from seed to fruiting. If yours haven’t ripened by early to mid-autumn, then you’ve probably sown them too late. Ideally aim to sow them in the third week of February. Failing that, mid-March is fine but the first week of April is your absolute deadline. They’ll need to be kept light, warm and at a constant temperature of 18-21C to germinate. If this is going to be a struggle, then you can always buy younger ‘plug’ plants later in the year.


Raw in salads or cooked in stews, celeriac is a tasty root that’s making a bit of a comeback. February and March are good months to start sowing in trays under glass at temperatures between 16º and 18ºC degrees. As soon as they are large enough to handle, transplant into trays 5cm apart and ‘harden off’ once the danger of frost has passed. Grow bolting resistant varieties like ‘Prinz’ or ‘Alabaster’ which cope better with erratic growing conditions.


Late February and early March is a good time to move dormant plants like heliotrope and fuchsias up onto the benches in a warm area in your Greenhouse. Think about a nice spot in your Greenhouse, where the temperature is around a constant 10ºC, or put them in a heated propagator. Increase the amount of water as soon as growth starts to show.


Having spent winter safely stored and dry, mid to late February is the ideal time to start off beautiful tuberous begonias. Put them into a tray of multipurpose compost, moisten with tepid water and place them into a heated propagator at around 20ºC. Once the shoots are around 2cm in length, pot them into 15cm pots and, as the roots reach the sides, transfer them into larger containers. Remember to plant begonia corms the concave side up – depression on top, slightly above or level with the surface of the compost. Water around the corm, with tepid water; be careful not to let water sit in the corm as this could lead to rotting.


February is also a good time to think about planting some very early potatoes. Re-use some large compost bags, turn them inside out, roll down the sides and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the bags with a good peat free compost and sow Swift, International Kidney (or Jersey Royals), Rocket or Belle de Fontenay, topped up by another 15cm. Keep them warm, in a bright, sunny spot and frost free. With regular watering, shoots will start to appear. Once they’re around 15cm in length, roll the sleeves of the compost bag back up and fill with the same peat free compost.

For more Greenhouse growing help and advice from Matthew Biggs and a host of other gardening writers, Hartley Botanic’s online magazine offers a wealth of information, and the manufacturer’s ‘Hartley’s Owner’s Guide to Greenhouse Gardening’ can be downloaded free of charge here:  https://hartley-botanic.co.uk/guides/hartley-owners-guide-Greenhouse-gardening/


Why Hartley Botanic?

What makes Hartley Botanic Glasshouses the finest money can buy?

1/ Beauty and elegance

The incomparable range of simply beautiful and elegant structures means Hartley Botanic can create designs that are distinctive and unique. The Victorian, Heritage and Modern Glasshouse ranges mean customers don’t have to go anywhere else to find the widest range of beautifully crafted, high-quality Glasshouses.

2/ Structurally superior

Every Hartley Botanic Glasshouse is handmade in the North of England to customers’ exact requirements. They are made of the finest materials with unparalleled durability, safety and beauty. All of their sections have a structural purpose. They never take short cuts by ‘sticking’ aluminium to glass for aesthetic reasons. They are so confident of the structural integrity of their Greenhouses; they offer a Lifetime Guarantee.

3/ A reputation beyond compare

Hartley Botanic’s brand heritage and reputation has been built on trust for over 80 years. Hartley Botanic has earned an unrivalled reputation for crafting the finest Glasshouses and Greenhouses money can buy through the very highest standards of hard-won experience, craftsmanship and service.

4/ Unrivalled knowledge and expertise

With a wealth of knowledge and expertise built into every Hartley Botanic Glasshouse, generations of customers have put their trust in the hands of the manufacturer’s expert, time served, highly skilled craftsmen. Hartley Botanic creates Glasshouses of distinction from decades of knowledge and care.

5/ Exceptional delivery of service

Once an order has been handmade to customers’ personal requirements, and to Hartley Botanic’s exacting standards, the delivery and installation will be exceptional. The proud team at Hartley Botanic are there to ensure the process runs smoothly, providing customers with the information they need and keeping them up to date throughout.

All Hartley Botanic’s Greenhouses and Glasshouses are handmade, bespoke and made to order. Customers interested in purchasing a Hartley Botanic Greenhouse should visit: http://www.hartley-botanic.co.uk or call 01457 819 155 for more information.

– Ends –


Notes to Editors:

For press enquiries please contact:

The Hartley Botanic team at WADE PR

on: [email protected]

or call: 0797 067 9437 (Caroline)

About Hartley Botanic


Hartley Botanic is an English Greenhouse and Glasshouse manufacturer based in Greenfield, Lancashire. The company was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley following their groundbreaking aluminium Greenhouse design, the first time (to our knowledge) aluminium had been used in Greenhouse construction and marking a huge improvement on its wood and wrought iron Victorian forerunners. Today, Hartley Botanic’s reputation has been built on over 80 years of English craftsmanship, creating Greenhouse and Glasshouse structures known for their enduring strength, quality and performance. It is the Greenhouse manufacturer of choice for leading horticulture organisations, institutions and designers in the UK and worldwide with Hartley Botanic commissioned by the RHS, the National Trust, Kew Gardens, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Oxford Botanical Gardens, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Blenheim Palace, The Lingholm Estate and Hampton Court Palace…to name a few. In February 2017 Hartley Botanic became the only aluminium Greenhouse and Glasshouse manufacturer to be endorsed by the RHS.

Company approach

Hartley Botanic combines modern advances in design, engineering and technology with old fashioned values and techniques which enhance its products and customer experience. Despite using cutting-edge machinery in its Greenfield factory all Hartley Botanic Greenhouses are still ‘handmade,’ being assembled entirely by hand with precision parts still being made using traditional, hand-operated equipment. The customer service experience is also both hands-on and highly personal with Hartley Botanic providing 360 degree support, from the Greenhouse design phase through to installation. Vincent and Norman Hartley’s vision in 1938 of lasting quality and ambition in making the finest Greenhouses money can buy remain key pillars for the company. Customers purchasing a Hartley Botanic Greenhouse or Glasshouse are making an investment which will stand the test of time, span generations and be robust enough to travel well.

Greenhouse products

Hartley Botanic’s Greenhouses and Glasshouses are all made to order and range from small patio models to imposing Glasshouses. Designs are available from 3 product ranges (Victorian, Heritage and Modern) with all models available in a variety of colours and sizes, along with options for ‘glass to ground’ installation, free-standing or lean-to and internal glazed partitions. Standard for every Hartley Botanic Greenhouse and Glasshouse are:

– 30 year ‘lifetime’ guarantee which covers both the structure and installation

– Bespoke solutions to suit particular horticultural requirements

– Full installation service or choice of self-assembly for select designs

– Polyester powder coated paint finish

– Top hung opening lights for advanced, efficient ventilation*

– Single glazing in BS6206 tempered safety glass

– Glazing in individual frames

– No glass to glass or glass to metal contact in glazing

– Unique clear span roof design (no internal support to impede space)*

*not relevant to the Patio Greenhouse

Accolades and awards

In 2017 Hartley Botanic’s entire product range was endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS.)

The manufacturer’s RHS Flower Show tradestands are award winning, year after year:

  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Awarded the Director General’s Tradestand for the last two years, awarded 5 Stars or the Silver Gilt Show Garden award every year since 2014, awarded Best Tradestand in 2014
  • RHS Hampton Court Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars in 2018
  • RHS Chatsworth Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars since the show’s inauguration in 2017
  • RHS Tatton Park Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars in 2018