Breaking Glass

One of the few remaining, just about worth saving items in the garden, was the small greenhouse (6×4 ft). I’d always wanted one and why buy new when there was this one to restore. But that was easier said than done!

Fortunately, I had the expertise and muscle of a friend to help every step of the way as I had underestimated what would be involved with this renovation, until closer inspection revealed several major problems:-
– the ground on which the greenhouse leaned(!) was undulating layers of soil impregnated with old weed suppressant and topped with 20cm faded white stones
– the far end corner where the new platform was to be located, had a soil erosion level of about 2 feet
– ivy and an old tree had penetrated the roof and broken and cracked all the glass there
– thick and thin stems of ivy had woven through back panels and frame so that these had to be cut/chiselled out, stem by stem.

“Oh, a dainty plant is the ivy green,
That creepeth o’er ruins old! ”

~ Charles Dickens

That is the poet’s eye view but this was going to be a hard task to achieve or in English idiom “A Dickens of a job”!

All glass panes were removed so that the frame could be easily lifted off and put to one side. (the salvageable glass was jet washed and later hand washed prior to being put back). Then it was literally a case of doing the groundwork.

The eroded far end had to be banked up by cemented concrete blocks and the whole area, after clearing, required much filling in. Fortunately the garden’s overgrown ‘rockery’ slope turned out to be a veritable brick and rubble mine and with mattock in hand, I salvaged all we needed. After endless measurements, and topped with ballast, the slabs were mortared in. (I combined mortar ingredients 5:1 by hand and would have given the earth for a cement mixer!)

With the paved platform finally completed and the greenhouse in situ, screwed down and most of the glass back in, it’s just a case of needing more roof panels. Luckily, a friend of a friend is dismantling their old greenhouse (same model), so I shall have plenty. Much better than purchasing new since there would be too much contrast between these and the original panes.

This glasshouse (I use the term interchangeably) will be more akin to a potting shed for seed sowing, cuttings, and growing seedlings on. Overwintering tender plants too given that it can get cold here in Derbyshire

Given its locale in the Japanesque garden, a glasshouse is not very thematic so will need to be obscured in some way. I’ve not been able to determine what equivalent they use(d) in Japan – perhaps making space within the house. One modern Japanese design I’ve seen is to build a house within a glasshouse! I’ve only room in mine for table and chair and some shelving. Still, it feels like home!

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