The Greenhouses

Abutting up to a glazed walkway leading to what was once the Billiard Room of the Castle, are a pair of 30ft greenhouses that served the Kitchen Garden. The floor  is strewn with Cymbalaria muralis, (ivy-leaved toadflax) and Asplenium scolopendrum (harts tongue fern) grows within the damp brickwork. The place is only lacking Professor Sprout. No mandrake, Mandragora officinarum is growing here yet, and while the root has the thrilling form of a human being, the plant is not interesting above ground , so perhaps we will go for something more inspiring. I have had some thoughts about growing some of the more tender and delicate Nerine in here. More of that later. At the moment all we can do sow a few sweet peas for next spring. A leap of faith if you look at the kitchen garden now.

There are some original details in the building: locks, handles and a pipework system that brings water from the external guttering into the greenhouse and fills a series of galvanised tanks to provide  water at an ambient temperature. Otherwise the greenhouse is solid but uninspiring in its details, probably made by a local joiner with repairs and staging which are very Heath Robinson. Cleared out, as you see below, we have lost the toadflax for now, which revealed the new concrete floor, a depressing discovery until the original black and terracotta tiles were found stacked in the potting shed. Huge slabs of slate, corners rounded by use, form an unusual border edging on the right, whilst on the opposite side the staging above the tanks rests on railway sleepers from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.


After clearing: galvanised tanks hold water at an ambient temperature
The same elevation before clearing began


A view through the greenhouse to Nerine bowdenii, removed from the kitchen garden





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