The Forest Log and Tool Store is a handsome garden structure and, now that winter is approaching, a very useful acquisition. Martyn Loach purchased one recently and here he explains how it is assembled.
Buying a greenhouse will extend your gardening horizons, allowing you to grow a much greater variety of plants throughout the year. Here, Nathan James Dodd answers some of the questions he is frequently asked.
There's such a large range of greenhouses the choice can be bewildering. Our customers already know how much they have in their budget and how much space there is available in their garden, but need guidence on many other deciding factors. We are always happy to oblige, advising on a raft of considerations including:
These let light in from all sides, there's plenty of room for staging and they are very practical. This style offers the most growing area. Modern styling has seen elegantly curved glazing introduced and a 'barn' style offers extra height for tall plants. 'Orangery' type constructions are as much about outside leisure as gardening.
These are attractive designs but space is limited. They are most suited to the smaller garden.
Good if you have restricted space but unsuitable for north facing walls and can overheat if south facing. Light levels are reduced and traditionally the back wall has been painted white to return any available light to the plants. The back wall retains heat and can also be used to train and support climbing plants. If there is an internal door, lean-tos are very convenient as essentially you don't need to leave the house but, like any conservatory, they can become very hot during the summer.
Fixed against a wall with a series of shelves, attractively styled these are perfect when space is at a premium.
Whatever the style, the general rule is to go for the biggest you can afford and can accommodate. From 4ft x 6ft to the cavernous 20ft x 10ft, your greenhouse will soon be full to capacity. Think about how much use it will get, what types of plants are to be grown, how much storage is required, also consider aesthetics and whether or not you want the greenhouse to dominate your garden.
A pre-formed base is not essential, after obtaining the base dimensions you can construct one with bricks and mortar, however metal bases come as standard with many greenhouses and can be bought to save you a lot of time and trouble. The base should be securely attached to a foundation that may be slabs or concrete, overlapping the edge of the greenhouse by about 6 inches.
Concrete slabs are ideal but at the same level as the entrance door or else they'll be a dangerous little step. Also think about wooden decking, bricks or gravel.
Greenhouses normally come with two or three glazing options:
It is really useful to have staging along least one side of the greenhouse, offering space to perform a number of tasks and also on which you can place plants and seedlings nearer the light. Pots and other equipment may be stored underneath.
You must control the temperature in a greenhouse and during the summer this is achieved mainly through ventilation. Always check that there is sufficient ventilation at all levels as, during hot weather louvres near ground level are used to allow in cool air that will then heat up and rise, exiting through top ventilators, thus providing an effective throughput of air. Check out the different types of manual and automatic ventilators that open and close according to temperature.
Heating will be a deciding factor on the variety of plants you are able to grow and the number of plants that can be kept over winter. Temperature during the winter shouldn't dip much below 10C and throughout the year the daily variation shouldn't be more than 10C, this can be controlled by a combination of heating, ventilation and insulation. The main types of heating used in a domestic greenhouse are:
Solar energy or wind turbines may become a consideration in the future but at the moment they are far too expensive due in part to the poor heat retention qualities of a greenhouse. Spent cooking oil is used occasionally commercially but is messy, smelly and not really suited to small scale production.
If you need advice on buying a greenhouse, don't hesitate to contact our sales team on 0121 355 7701.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.