Tonight’s episode of ITV’s Love Your Garden takes a look at gardening under glass, so we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the options available to you and the history behind glass houses.
Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, the glasshouse was an object reserved for the mega-rich. The window tax and the glass tax meant that even the smallest greenhouse or glasshouse could only really be commissioned by aristocracy or the extremely wealthy.
The repeal of the glass and window taxes (in 1845 and 1851 respectively) dramatically reduced the cost of glasshouses, as did manufacturing innovations of the industrial revolution. These factors, combined with the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park which saw the unveiling of Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace and the desire to grow exotic plants imported from Europe and beyond saw the popularity of the glasshouse rise.
The products which were popular back in Victorian and Edwardian Britain are still very much around today, from a large bespoke glasshouse to a small individual cloche, gardening under glass hasn’t changed very much in 150 years.
Alitex is UK company which grew from humble beginnings in the 1950’s, spearheading the wood look Victorian greenhouse. The company’s focus has remained to create truly stunning structures that are functional spaces for plants and people.
Alitex have a range of “off the peg” greenhouses, but it’s bespoke glasshouse commissions are where the company really excel, like this glasshouse constructed in Hertfordshire in 2013.
Every area of the garden where this bespoke glasshouse was installed has been revised to accommodate the busy life of the resident family without compromising the look of the garden.
The Alitex glasshouse pictured is used to raise all the fruit and veg for the garden from seed. For a bespoke glasshouse to this specification, prices would be in the region of £1,500 – £3,000 per square metre
For more information please visit www.alitex.co.uk
Familiar to most of us who have read Beatrix Potter as a feature in Mr McGregor’s garden, the coldframe is invaluable to many gardeners.
Historically, cold frames were built to be used in addition to a heated greenhouse (ie a hothouse). The name itself exemplifies the distinction between the warm greenhouse and the unheated cold frame. They were frequently built as part of the greenhouse’s foundation brickwork along the southern wall (in northern latitudes). This allowed seeds to be germinated in the greenhouse and then easily moved to the attached cold frame to be “hardened-off” before final planting outside.
This particular product, supplied by www.thegreenhousepeople.co.uk is hand crafted to a high specification by joiners in Staffordshire. Cedar is well known for its natural resistance to both rot and greenhouse pests and diseases, because of the natural oils within the wood..
Price £429.99, to order or for more information please contact www.thegreenhousepeople.co.uk
Mini Greenhouse Cloche
When space is an issue and you don’t want to compromise on design, a mini greenhouse cloche could be the answer. This version, produced by www.blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk is ideal for protecting young or tender plants from frost and the slug/snail menace.
They are also great for bringing on lettuce or other fragile crops or protecting your favourite blooms during inclement weather.
Square copper and glass mini greenhouse cloche, £132.99 available from www.blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk
The Victorians were the first to discover how a glass bell jar cloche can add beauty to a vegetable garden, but sadly traditional bell cloches are now all too rare.
Glass cloches are a traditional way to protect tender plants from frost, pests and strong winds. Cloches are also popular in the home to display cakes and flowers, particularly at weddings.
Sustainable garden product website http://www.henandhammock.co.uk are keen to bring back the cloche.
The company is a small independent business which sells products to help make your garden and home a more beautiful place, and they stock two styles of cloche, flared and straight.
The flared cloches flare out slightly at ground level and have a lower dome (ideal for small plants, cakes and cheese). The straight sided cloches stand taller, making them better suited to taller flower arrangements and plants.
Both styles are beautiful hand blown bell jar glass cloches.
Price £30 each, available from www.henandhammock.co.uk