When our greenhouse lost multiple panels over last winter a choice had to be made about whether to try to extend its life, whether to buy a new one or whether to take a different approach to our growing. After careful thought and an assessment of our resources, we decided that we wanted a more permanent structure to house our crops and so we settled on having a conservatory built. Now, when I say conservatory to most people, they envisage a glass sitting room with a laminate floor and wicker sofas. Not me – when I hear “conservatory” it conjures images of grand Victorian wrought iron glasshouses full of rainforests (think of the Palm House at Kew). Of course, living in a bungalow built in the 1980s does not lend itself to having a grand glasshouse attached, so ideas had to be adapted. We were limited to an area about 3m x 3m for a start off!
The first challenge with our plan, was to find a builder who would understand what we wanted. We dismissed the idea of contacting anyone specialising in off-the-shelf conservatories and, instead, approached a local builder with a range on skills who we know is also a keen gardener. And so discussions started, plans were drawn and we moved ahead. Aspirations for a wooden structure were, for one reason and another, not practical and we came to the conclusion that, for our purposes, the answer was double-glazed UPVC units – constructed specially for our project.
The second challenge was the name – our lovely builder refers to it as an orangery, but discussion elsewhere yielded a number of alternative suggestions: a place to grow peppers would, surely be a peppery, and if we wanted something quirky, what about a kumquatery? However, Mr Snail – lover of limes and owner of a small unhappy lime tree (which we are hoping will thrive in the new structure) – has settled on the name ‘limery’. If this is the case I am considering whether I might be able to construct a still because, in my opinion, the best use for limes is in a G&T.
As well as having this indoor growing space constructed, we also decided to go ahead and have the area around it revamped, replacing the bed constructed using up-ended paving slabs with a new block-built raised bed and returning the paving slabs back to their original use, having the patio reconstructed, this time with good drainage.
And now work has been proceeding for a couple of weeks (although they are not here every day), progress is being made. Originally the glass and glaziers were due to arrive on Monday, but they have now rescheduled for Wednesday. Those of you who are friends on Facebook have already seen progress, but for everyone else, here are some pictures of how it’s been going:
There has been some head scratching:
Sam and Max have been on the case:
There has been some invasion of the concrete by the local wildlife:
Do you think that I might be over-enthusiastic?!