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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Beauty and the Beast of Burden -- A Peek Inside the Greenhouse

A couple of weekends ago I corralled Nigel, my beast of burden, into helping me move many of the tender plants into the greenhouse for the winter. We don't actually have a frost in the long-term forecast, but I wanted to get it done in plenty of time, so that I could be methodical and not just frantically cramming plants in wherever I could on a deadline. At this moment, as I write, we are having a remarkably blustery day. However, for the most part, our weather has remained unseasonably warmer and drier than usual, but I don't think the plants mind being inside. Yes, it means the end of the gardening season, but I'm ready.

The greenhouse from the front door

Alyssum growing by the greenhouse foundation

Various ferns and Pacific Coast Iris potted up for the winter are hardy enough to remain outside to grow on

Minnie Mouse and Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'

Elephant ear from outside

Tree fern (Cyathea australis, I think)

And from inside
There's no room for a table and chair for enjoying morning coffee, but I do use my garden kneeler turned over for seating, with padding from an old green towel (you can see its purple frame in the background of the above photo).

Looking back from inside

In an effort to clear up floor space, I've decided to overwinter my big Brugmansias in the garage instead of the greenhouse. I've done it before, and it will mean they have a slower start next year, but I needed the extra space. I'm also taking a chance on the weather gurus, who claim we are in for a mild winter, and leaving my big pots of Canna 'Tropicanna' outside for the winter as well. Both of those decisions freed up floor space for two more wire racks for holding plants and for starting seeds in the spring.

Racks of tender plants on the right as you enter

Various Begonias and succulents

Two more racks on the left, with the heater in between

Alstroemeria 'Rock n Roll' may not be hardy enough to stay outside

One last Bougainvillea bud

So far it's holding onto all its leaves -- keep your fingers crossed

Pelargonium sidoides cuttings -- well rooted ones on the left, new ones on the right

Senecio mandraliscae cuttings

Tray full of Sempervivum offsets that spent the summer outside, waiting to be potted individually

I still have quite a few plants outside in the pot ghetto that really need to get in the ground, but I'm running out of energy and enthusiasm.


  1. I love when a garden area ages enough that there are volunteers like alyssum along the edges. I have alyssum, too.

    Energy and enthusiasm drain quickly with the coming of fall. I keep thinking that I could move the potting bench to yet another configuration and make room for that table and chair. It seems like so much trouble and my beast of burden.... Let's just say I hate to burden him with my foibles.

  2. You are amazing, Alison! So many gorgeous goodies and you're propagating more. I love it all. Total eye candy photos.

  3. Looking good, Alison! Thanks for the tour.

  4. I like the bluish sprays in the bed in your first photo, Alison. You really pack the plants in with those wire racks. I'm thinking I must dig my canna this year, which made it through the winter last year but never bloomed. The dark elephant ears from the side look like giant butterflies, and the one spattered with purple is awesome! I have too much to do also, but keep plugging away, ant and rubbertree plant style.

  5. Holy cripes. I'm with you, even with the warm weather, I've pretty much got everything hauled into the house. There are a couple things, like the Brug, that still need to move into the garage, but alas, I can't find the floor.

  6. I was just thinking the same thing as I did more cuttings for the greenhouse today. I dragged in more plants too. I'm thinking of moving my wire rack out there also. Must talk to Bill about that. I'd like to have my dining room back. ;-) I do love my greenhouse. It is a dream come true.

  7. I completed the same exercise today... but I have to say my greenhouse doesn't look nearly as organised as yours! It's more stuffing stuff in where I can find a space :(

  8. Tom had a disaster in his greenhouse yesterday, as an upper shelf failed and came down on his bench of geranium cuttings. It was quite a mess, but he managed to salvage most things. Now to find the time to remount that upper shelf.

  9. It is nice to be able to take a break from gardening even though we're still gardening inside. However, this cold weather feels like winter already! I admire how organized your space is as mine has become a cram fest again this fall. Next year, everything must come off of the shelves before the migration begins. Oh well, there's always next year.

  10. I love how your greenhouse is set up. I may have to take down the bench on one side that came with my greenhouse kit and put in a couple wire shelves like that. I've still got a handful of half-hardy plants outside that can handle a mild frost, but everything else is either in the greenhouse or in the house.

  11. I'm so happy to see you're overwintering Senecio mandraliscae cuttings! Which reminds me, I need to think about getting my cuttings cut.

  12. you are so lucky to have a greenhouse :) I did for about 4 months before a wicked storm took mine out. It was fun while it lasted. I long for the day I get another.

  13. So organised! Your greenhouse looks wonderful with your super selection of plants, I'm sure they will all be happy in there for the winter! I have most of mine in the greenhouse, some are in the conservatory, just a few more to bring in now.

  14. I can't imagine the task of moving all those plants in - and then out. Nigel is very good to help you out there. Your greenhouse looks great and I think you were smart to get an early start on the process rather than risk being caught by a belated frost warning.

  15. That looks just grand! It gets too cold here to overwinter plants in the greenhouses. I did try planting some zone 5 thyme in there. We will see what happens. Thanks for the tour.

  16. The garden around the greenhouse is lovely and oh what joys inside too.....I still want a greenhouse.


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