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

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Visit to the Greenhouse

Perhaps I've focused on the negative enough for now. It's time for a visit to the lush tropical environment of my greenhouse, which has been keeping me sane lately (well, as sane as I ever get, which isn't saying much). On these cold, dark winter days I have been spending a couple of hours each day puttering in the greenhouse, potting up, sorting out, making room for winter's seedlings, grooming plants as they sometimes die back a little in winter's darker light, and listening to the rain as it beats on the roof.

Basically I use the greenhouse to start seeds, to overwinter the plants that spend the spring, summer and part of autumn on the front and back porches, and for a bit of storage. If you want to see how they looked this past year on the front porch, Peter The Outlaw Gardener posted about it, which you can view here.

To the right as you go through the door, there are quite a few potted plants, but the Monstera is covering them all

My favorite motto

Staghorn fern, a recent acquisition that I mounted myself

When I put plants away in here at the end of the growing season I try to group them by care and light needs, but that isn't always possible.

These shelves are a bit inaccessible, so it's a good thing they will probably need the least water over the winter

This Begonia luxurians is finally starting to look lush

Two Dyckias bought over a year ago and still not potted up

Dyckia flower

Piles of stuff crammed under the wire table

There's always a pile of unused ceramic pots that are not winter-proof

Can you see Baby Groot hiding in the asparagus fern?


Six pots of Aloe polyphylla

Five pots of Geranium sidoides

Four pots of Kalanchoe synsepala

Three Agave desmettiana pups

Two pots of Sedum spathulifolium 'Carnea'

And a partridge in a pear tree.... No, actually, a Moby baby -- Agave ovatifolia -- that split into five plants

Aloe starts and four pots of Centranthus ruber that I started from seed last winter and never planted out along with a few other tender plants

More starts of various tender succulents

For most of the winter this electric heater keeps the greenhouse in the low 50s/high 40s at night

On very cold nights, like recently when it was going into the 20s, I augment the electric heater with this propane heater. On its lowest setting it provides just enough heat to keep the greenhouse in the 50s from about 10:30 at night until about 7 a.m. the next morning.

For the first time this year I decided to put a draft excluder along the bottom of the door, because I noticed cold air coming in that way, and I think it has helped a bit

I like to decorate the greenhouse with birdcages with various inhabitants that keep me amused.

If you're wondering where summer went, I'm holding it captive in my greenhouse

The world on a bed of moss with a Harry Potter time-turner

That'll stop the robots from taking over the world

Oops! I must have forgotten to feed them

The following -- Ruby Slippers -- is a work in progress. I might fill them with soil and succulents, and decorate further with scraps of blue gingham and maybe a pair of cut-off braided black pigtails. Who says you can't rewrite the ending of The Wizard of Oz to suit yourself?

That little girl who keeps crying about wanting to go home is so annoying. Don't you think the witch deserves to win?

Be careful, or the witch might turn you into a frog!

And now -- do you have about 7 minutes to waste? I filmed a video tour of the greenhouse with narration. I tried it first with no narration, which was boring, so instead you get to listen to my goofy, overexcited, breathless voice. There's a fair amount of overlap between the video and the picture tour above, so proceed at your own risk.

A Greenhouse Tour


  1. No wonder you are overwhelmed by the gravel garden!!!

  2. Now that looks a cozy place to spend winter in !

  3. Loved the tour & especially the cages. Thanks for the video, it was like being in there with you. I'm impressed that you started Aloe polyphylla from seed. Was it difficult? What was your germination rate?

    1. I got the Aloe polyphylla seeds from Chiltern last winter. Here's a link:

      They're out right now, but it looks like they're getting more after the New Year. It wasn't difficult, but it wasn't as simple as with most seeds, with just sprinkling them on soil. The website includes instructions. They need to be soaked until they sprout, and they might need to be soaked for quite a long time, I think some of mine spent a month or a bit longer in water that needed to be changed occasionally. They produce one tiny leaf and some itty bitty roots, and then you pot them up. I had about a 50% germination rate.

  4. Fun visit in the greenhouse. You've amassed quite a collection of thorny tender plants. I'm impressed with the Staghorn fern mount, it looks great. I'll be keeping an eye out for a Baby Groot, it's adorable. Also salivating over the caged garden fairy and all those bird cages!

  5. You've got a great video voice! And your greenhouse has so much space in it. How old are the Aloe polyphylla seedlings?

    1. They're almost a year old, I started them last winter. They languished outside over the summer, but they've perked up and grown bigger since I moved them into the greenhouse a couple of months ago, which has me wondering if they're winter growers like Aeoniums.

  6. What a fun tour - thank you! You have such a great collection of exactly the kind of plants that I would kill in a matter of weeks. I've had success with Sanseverias, Monsteras, and Begonia luxurians, but the rest - not much of a chance. Love your bird cages and head planters, too!

  7. You did a great job with your video tour! My tours with real live human children aren't that smooth and clear. Your greenhouse is a lot of fun and expresses your personality well. I'm impressed by all your baby plants too - Aloe polyphylla, wow!

  8. I think maybe you should just put black plastic and bark over the gravel garden. Your attentions are elsewhere. Propagating, potting and puttering in your greenhouse is what you love.

  9. Aloe polyphylla from seed ! I am completely impressed. I love all your birdcages- what a nice collection.

  10. Your greenhouse is the stuff dreams are made of! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  11. Lots going on in your greenhouse! I like the cactus sporting shades with pink frames.

  12. I'll have to save the video as a treat for later -- don't have audio on the replacement puter. So nice to see you in your element! And even without audio, I can imagine the rain tapping on the roof and what a cozy place it must be for you and the plants. And that Begonia luxurians looks so happy. Do you take seed assignments? How about Oxalis palmifrons? ;)

    1. I've never seen Oxalis palmifrons seeds for sale, only bulbs. But if I ever did see them, I'd certainly give them a try. I've seen it all over Instagram, such a cool-looking plant.

  13. This is so inspiring! There's hope for future winter months after all! You're right about the shelving, I definitely need to go vertical. The wheels are a turnin'....


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.