It’s been more than five months since the last episode of this particular saga. I had taken down our polytunnel and was contemplating how to extend the greenhouse. It turned out that Elite, who made the original glasshouse, still make an almost unchanged model and that they would supply an extension kit. I placed the order and began the long wait, 20-22 weeks, for delivery.
It was a wet winter, back in the autumn I dug the Dahlias that were in the ground where the extension was to go and planted them in my relocated tunnel up on my allotment. I dug out the soil to a depth of about a foot and then pretty much went into hibernation for the winter. With the delivery looming a few weeks ago, I ordered concrete blocks, aggregate, cement and the rest. I cleaned up 15 old paving slabs that I already had, ready for the floor and bought a few new ones for a revised path layout.
Once I had a delivery date there was no putting off cracking on with the works and I hadn’t quite completed it when the glasshouse arrived. Between my Saturday posts of the 17th and 24th of April it was started and finished.
The weather being fine, we parked a couple of chairs on the path about where they are in the picture, then because it was a nice sheltered spot I rearranged the slabs so we could sit facing down the garden. After a few days we had learned that this is a very favoured spot so I moved our garden bench up instead. It still needs a bit of straightening out but will definitely be a fixture. As you can see in this picture taken from a high viewpoint in the top corner, the glasshouse somewhat obscures the view back toward the house.
The strip of bulbs along the path are Nerines which were on both sides of the earlier path. Now they are all on the north side and should do better as they will get more sun. A clump of Agapanthus has been split and planted around Diplarena in the corner. Asphodelus ramosus have been planted between the Skimmia and the corner, with a couple of the trailing Fuchsia colensoi in the corner (under my feet in the picture)
We have opted to go for maximum colour, so some of the Dahlias from where the glasshouse now is have come back and a few more will be added. Canna, Eucomis, Ensete and assorted annuals will fill the rest of the space and hopefully give us a good show quickly.
The strip of ground along the top of the wall is shaded from late morning and we are undecided what to plant in it. There are two small and low growing Camellias in there which will hopefully enjoy the conditions and thrive once they are established.
Here is the view from the bench, taken just after noon. You can see that the face of both wall and face are now in shade, the previous picture was taken at 3:45 pm and the shadow has just reached the new planting area.
The glasshouse has a large roof area and there are two water butts to collect rainwater, the one you can see here at the back of the greenhouse and another at the other end. The water from both gutters is fed into the butt you can see, via the sloping length of aluminium profile across the end of the greenhouse from the front gutter. There is a 20mm pipe under the paving along the left side of the glasshouse linking the two butts together. As the butt at this end fills, water feeds through the pipe to the other butt, which fills from the bottom. It means it doesn’t have to be against the glasshouse wall or have a pipe from the gutter at head height going to it. Sue dips her watering can in the butt at the door end of the glasshouse. It would be a simple matter to connect more barrels by teeing into the connecting pipe; so long as they are all at the same level they could go anywhere.
It just remains for everything to grow up and perform. The original motivation for starting this project was to remove the polytunnel from the garden because it was not aesthetically pleasing and was too big to satisfactorily screen. Here are two shots taken from an elevated position (camera held aloft on monopod, 10 second self timer) looking towards the tunnel. The first is from early August 2020, the other from 24th April this year. Admittedly it’s not a viewpoint anyone ever gets but it does give you an idea of how difficult it was not to have the tunnel in shot unless you took pictures facing in the opposite direction towards the house. As far as I’m concerned, mission accomplished.