A Year In My Greenhouse

Paperwhite narcissi - Julie King

I am very pleased to be here today in The Green Room talking about a year in my lovely Alitex greenhouse. My name is Julie King and I write about all things to do with my garden on my blog Peonies & Posies. Last year I posted monthly about the goings on in my greenhouse and today I am pulling it all together so that you can see how I make the most of my very beautiful indoor growing space throughout the year.

My greenhouse year really kicks off in January with the emergence of all the spring bulbs that I planted in pots back in the autumn. Every year I add more spring flowering bulbs to my garden and I always plant a few of each variety into pots that I bring into the greenhouse just before Christmas. In no time at all they are poking through the soil and I know that I do not have long to wait for my flowers. I will also have trays of sweet pea seedlings ready to plant into my greenhouse bed in January and it is time to sow the sweet peas that will grow outside in the summer.

By February the greenhouse is starting to fill with flowers. I grow a lot of camellias in pots in my garden and I will bring one or two into the greenhouse in the late autumn to spend the winter under cover. In March I will start to pot up the many dahlia tubers that arrive in February. I keep the tubers under cover until the shoots are sprouting and then move the pots into my cold frames so that the plants can grow on until it is safe to plant them outside. Also in early March the potted hyacinths will start to flower – just imagine the delicious scent that greets me when I open the greenhouse door on a sunny day!

By early April I will be cutting tulips – these were in flower before any of the outdoor tulips this year. April is also the month when I sow my tender crops for the vegetable garden – my propagator is always full! My first sweet peas will flower in April. These are a winter variety of sweet pea that I sow in the autumn. They are designed to grow in low light levels, so are ready to flower under cover very early in the year.

Throughout the summer months of June, July and August I take a bit of a rest in the greenhouse. The blinds come down to keep it cool and it is a lovely oasis for a morning cup of tea. During these months I enjoy fuchsia, lilies and scented geraniums in the greenhouse, as well as picking lovely fresh tomatoes that I grow in the greenhouse bed. I also use my greenhouse as a workspace when I am arranging flowers for events. These arrangements were for a September wedding – I cleared all my plants out of the greenhouse and used the staging to prepare for arrangements.

In October my favourite chrysanthemums start to bloom. I buy young cuttings every May and grow them on outside, until mid-October when I bring the plants inside and transfer them to the greenhouse bed. These stunning flowers bring such a great finale to the summer season.

November is the month for chrysanthemums and in a good year I will cut the last of them in December, when the plants can then be cleared out to make space for both my sweet pea frame and Paperwhite narcissi bulbs – the first batch of which I plant in November. I then plant another batch every three weeks until I run out of bulbs. In December the first of the Paperwhites will be in flower in time for Christmas, rounding off my greenhouse year with their beautiful scented white flowers!

I hope you enjoyed this look at my greenhouse year and that perhaps I have inspired you to grow a few more flowers in your own indoor garden.

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