Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.
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.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.