Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Peek Inside the Greenhouse

It's been a couple of months since I've shown what's inside the greenhouse. For most of the summer, it was just chock-full of tomato plants getting bigger and bigger. They gave me lots of yummy Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes for salads, and loads of lovely Romas, which I recently made into soup and sauce for the freezer.

A week after the swap, I started sorting out the inside of the greenhouse, cutting the tomatoes down and saving as many large green ones as possible, and moving the pots of soil they were growing in out. Last year I reused the soil for seed starting, but I may not do that this year. I think it may be one reason some of my seedlings didn't thrive as well as they should have. It may just end up in the compost bins.

I've moved my metal shelving unit, which was the summer home for my Bromelaids and some of my seedlings, located on the somewhat shady north side of the greenhouse, back inside, and bought a second one. Then I moved many of my drought tolerant plants in pots, Agaves, Aloes, tender succulents, etc., inside and onto the shelves. I've made a good amount of progress, but I still have a long way to go. And already real estate inside is getting precious.

The greenhouse in afternoon sun, seen from the front door

On the north side of the greenhouse, a collection of plant stands, seedlings, and perennials destined for the front garden.

Seedlings still unplanted in the garden, from last winter's sowing.

Just inside the greenhouse door, on the left hand side. The small white metal box on the wooden stand in the right lower corner of the picture is the heater, not really in use quite yet, but it has to have a spot.

The second metal shelving unit, not quite full yet, and several potted plants to the right of it, including a lime tree given to me at the swap.

My Manfreda (probably Macho Mocha, but untagged when bought), is producing pups galore.

The bottom shelf of one of the shelving units

There's still room for a few more plants on the wire table, but I'd like to leave room for me to work there too.

Bromeliads and a couple of Begonia boliviensis tucked underneath the table. When I water the plants on the table, they will get dripped on, which should be just the right amount of water.

This stripey Vriesea started to produce a flower earlier this summer, but then fell off the shelf it was on and the stalk was snapped off. Now it looks like it might be making pups.

And there are four nice-size pups in the pot with this bloomed-out Aechmea. I'm not sure at what point I should separate them from the mother plant and pot them up.

There's still plenty of room here to the right of the wire table, but there are still many large pots that need to find a home.

For example, four enormous Brugmansias.





And three pots full of assorted succulents that spend the summer on top of the gabions in the gravel garden.




And two huge pots of Cannas.



And one Echium

A banana and an Astelia

An Abutilon, that I need to somehow clean the aphids off.

A restio

I'd also like to take apart these pots and pot up many of the inhabitants separately for over-wintering.

'Miss Andrea' Cordyline, looking a bit under the weather

Two Pelargonum sidoides, which over-wintered last year and thrived once they were brought back outside.

Each of those stalks bore many, many pretty flowers over the summer

I have two 'Cha Cha' Cordylines that I want to save

And a small Loropetalum called 'Carolina Midnight'

And this Begonia luxurians
What am I going to do with that Muppet-headed thing?


  1. What an interesting post (for one who has no greenhouse experience)! I see that it will be quite crowded in there in just a few weeks! I'll look forward to seeing the winter view. Clearly some work ahead for you :) You will know those plants quite intimately with all the up-close-and-personal attention you'll be giving them.

  2. Oh, Fun! I looked at every photo. Twice. Everything is so neat and organized and wonderful.

    As to when to take off pups, I've taken tiny pups off bromeliads and potted up, I've left them until they were almost as big as the mother plant, and I've let the pups take the pot in a group, pulling out the dead mother later. You could leave those in a group until spring for the sake of room, or put up the babies and perhaps the old plant will throw another couple of them.

    Aphids! Don't bring them inside. Spray with oil soap until they're gone. Check the Brugs for white fly. Check anything that tends to get caterpillars for moth eggs.

    The Muppet Head -- just crowd it in somewhere, or cut it back the three tallest and root the Muppets. Leave canes long enough to grow more leaves at the nodes on the one you cut. I just stick Begonia cuttings in with the original plant.

    The burro tails in the mixed plantings outside -- I would take those with long naked stems and root the ends. The stems may grow new leaves, cut back a bit. You don't have to save every little bean that falls off, but you know I would.

    I know, I know. I'm compulsive about rooting and cutting back. Don't pay attention to me.

  3. You just reminded me that I must get some of those metal shelvings very similar to what you have. Your greenhouse looks so neat and organised as usual, and you have a fab collection of plants that will go in it for the winter. With the heater they will be snug and comfy there during the colder months :)

  4. This is when we realise just HOW MANY plants we bought over the summer. I've just spent the afternoon shoving in as much as I could ahead of ex-hurricane Gonzalo which hits our shores tonight. Hmmmm...

  5. I envy your greenhouse space--so nice! I did something different about aphids this year--I brushed them off using one of those cheap, blonde-wood, disposable paintbrushes. I used one that was about an inch and a half wide. It worked really well! It did a great job of getting the aphids out from around tender new foliage without causing damage.

  6. Your greenhouse looks so nice and tidy with a great variety of plants on the shelves. But one of these days all the outside pots have to go inside and it will be crowded, the same as in my greenhouse. I have already been carrying the Agapanthuses inside, the rest will follow.....

  7. What a job! After watching what you and others up your way go through moving plants in for winter (and out again in the spring), I began to wonder if there's a garden service idea in there somewhere (Like the guys here who put up holiday lights and take them down). Maybe I'll move to the NW and open up a winter/spring adjustment service! It would leave plenty of time off during other periods of the year, but then I'd need to haul my own plants in and out too - not such a good idea, I guess. You're doing a great job on the big migration, Alison, and I'm sure you'll see the payoff next spring.

  8. I didn't think you were in too bad of shape until I scrolled down through the plants you have yet to move into the greenhouse. Isn't it amazing how quickly that space fills up? That's why it's always recommended to go bigger than what you think you need.

    For the aphid-covered abutilon, you can spray with insecticidal soap. It would be even better if you cut it back first and then sprayed what's left. Less places for the aphids to hide from the spray. The bromeliad pups can be left together, as Jean said, or you can split them up. A general rule for all bromeliads is that the pups can be separated when they reach about a third the size of the parent plant.

    I'm sure you'll be able to neatly shoe-horn everything into the greenhouse in an orderly fashion.

  9. Wow, you have a lot to get into the space you have left but I'm sure you'll do it beautifully as always. I'm with Jean on the begonia, root the tops. You can also cut the canes into pieces and they'll root too but it's best if there's a node on each piece. Let the bottom produce more growth.

  10. Your greenhouse is a thing of beauty outside as well as in. I love the way it reflects the light. I think it is a rule of gardening that we buy several more plants than we have room for, regardless of how ample that room might be.

  11. I love seeing inside peoples' greenhouses. It's as much fun as looking at their bookcases. I have the same problem with my bookcases and my greenhouse. They don' t get any bigger but every year I try to cram ever more and more into them. It looks as if you are like me when you are buying tender plants you never pause to wonder how you will shoehorn them into the greenhouse. You have such a great selection of succulents.

  12. Oh my goodness do you have plants to move! One thing I can say about drought, it's less work than frost. Brugs come back fine from roots, so if you have to wack them short, they won't mind.


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