Slow painting

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Wish list - a greenhouse

With thoughts turning towards the new growing season, a certain amount of wishful thinking creeps in. My wish list isn't huge. More time is an intangible that I struggled to find a photo to fit. A summer without constant rain is outwith my control, but I'm aware that some parts of the world would gladly have our downpours: Arija, for example, in Australia, has just seen her garden die after 6 consecutive years of drought.

Top of my realistic wish list would be a greenhouse. I grew up taking the existence of a greenhouse for granted. Until I was five I lived in a big house in the country, that not only had a greenhouse but also a workshop and woodstore, a wash house with copper kettle for boiling linen in and a ferocious hand-cranked mangle, stables that had become garages, and a hen house. The greenhouse I remember as a tropical world apart, complete with a rampant grape vine. When we moved to a house in a nearby village the greenhouse was a place of warmth in chill spring days, as I watched my father sow seeds into trays of fragrant compost. When my parents moved to a new house just as I left home for university my mother very swiftly bought my father a greenhouse, as he was suffering severe withdrawal from his greenhouse habit.

Now with a pocket handkerchief city front-and-back garden I have little room for a greenhouse without unbalancing things. A greenhouse at the allotment is perhaps a better option, but as will be obvious I don't manage to get along to the plot every day, and greater heat also means greater need for watering. So I'm still working out what to do, but meantime I long for more room for seeds, indoor tomatoes, perhaps peppers and cucumbers which don't tolerate the Scottish climate. And most of all that unique smell of a warm greenhouse on a cold, bright spring day.

The photo is my father's current greenhouse, all whitened with frost last Christmas Day. I think my daughter took this photo - I'm not sure why. Perhaps so that the greenhouse didn't feel left out of the festivities. Perhaps it was the russet glow of the larches on the hillside as the Christmas Day sun rose. Anyway - Happy Christmas, greenhouse.


Darla said...

I too, dream of a greenhouse all my own. Don't have fond memories of one like you do though. They have those portable ones for inside your house.

Frankie / Nick said...

What a heart touching story. I grew up on a farm with ample room and a large garden. Life changes and moves take place, but I can not imagine a summer without my own garden. My heart goes out to you.

Lindab said...

Darla, our house is a compact Scottish city house - unfortunately no room for an inside greenhouse!

Frankie/Nick, we do have a garden, but it is on a very small scale. I try to cram as many flowers in as possible, but it definitely has its limits.

Sue said...

I want to build a hoophouse or cold frame.

Lindab said...

That's a lovely name - hoophouse. We'd call it a polytunnel. A cold frame is on my list too.