Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 914 - the greenhouse

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I haven't written a post for a very long time – 189 days to be precise. I've usually got a whole load of excuses for an absence (too much work, managing Ida's glittering social calendar etc), although this time I'd planned for a period of silence. You see life's in a bit of limbo right now, what with living with the in-laws while we renovate our new house, and I fear all blog posts would have related to multiple generations living under one roof and boring updates connected to building work – not riveting stuff.

What's made me break my silence? It's simple, something so exciting happened last week that I just couldn't help but write about it – my beautiful new greenhouse was installed (as if the title of this post didn't give that away).

So, to get you up to speed, the garden has been developing just as quickly as the house renovation (if not quicker, much to my Gemma's dismay). I used it for a photo shoot for Gardeners' World Magazine almost as soon as we owned the place, and it's been earning it's keep ever since. I won't go into detail about what's changed, as much of it will be appearing on the pages of the gardening press over the coming months.

There was always one thing missing though – I really needed a large, photogenic greenhouse. It would provide so many opportunities for the magazines I contribute to, along with being vital for the editorial images that photographer, Neil Hepworth, and I plan to produce this year. Not to mention, I've wanted a lovely greenhouse since I was a teenager and the opportunity was finally here.

I looked long and hard for the right model, considering all sorts of materials, shapes and sizes. In the end, I plumped for an aluminium Rhino greenhouse as I was impressed with the service I got from Greenhouses Direct, loved the versatility of all the extras on offer and adored the option for an ivory finish. I went for a 8ft x 12ft, which might seem enormous, although the size provides the room a photographer needs for all their kit. And of course, I'll be able to grow all sorts of loveliness in such a generous space. I chose a length of free-standing staging, integral eye-height shelves, no end of ventilation, two grow beds – the list goes on and on.

I was beside myself by the time the installation day arrived. I was excited (at last, my beautiful greenhouse is coming), nervous (will the brick foundations be the right size?) and apprehensive (will the weather hold?). Fortunately I had nothing to worry about, and from the moment Bill and Simon from Rhino arrived everything went to plan. The day was flippin freezing (especially when the guys started at 7.30am), but nothing stopped progress until everything was complete before 3pm – what an incredible day. Bill and Simon were amazing, asking me questions at every step of the way about where I wanted all the gadgets and specially ordered extras. They were also full of advice about how to care for the greenhouse and get the best from it. I couldn't have asked for more. Admittedly I was standing around like a spare part for most of the day, although someone had to make the coffee. Here are the guys in action:

The greenhouse itself is far lovelier than I ever could have imagined. The quality is exceptionally high (the structure is absolutely solid) and the ivory colour is much deeper and richer than I was expecting. It's got all the function and practicality of a quality growing environment, while looking beautiful too.

So, here it is in all its glory. I still need to sort out a bit of paving near the door, and put down some kind of path inside, but I think you'll agree it's pretty special. And just wait until I start growing things – I'll be posting every five minutes then.

Until next time...

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...