From the inside, a dome of my own
Memories from Bruce Cowan, Chairman and founder of Solardome Industries
Bruce continues reminiscing with us, sharing his thoughts on why the geodesic structure is best for growing and why having his own Solardome® glass house dome was one of his best decisions.
A lot of your early customers were to domestic gardeners. Is the geodesic structure really the best shape for growing?
In the early days, I asked myself the same thing and actually posed this question to one of our customers – why buy a Solardome® glass house as a geodesic greenhouse? Surely the space is less efficient than a square one for setting out plants? His reply was that he wanted to produce the best and earliest plants for hanging baskets in his area. He could plant them out and hang them from the nodes of his dome and guess what? His hanging baskets were always ready about a month before his neighbours.
So now for the science bit – the answer is in the shape. The multifaceted glass of the geodesic structure ensures maximum solar gain, leading to an extended growing season. Plants can also be grown at ground level due to the low level glass and 97% light transmission. Better airflow, ventilation and air distribution all help ensure stronger and healthier plants.
As for space allocation, layout in a Solardome® geodesic greenhouse can be arranged to nurture larger plants and small trees much more efficiently with the taller plants nearer the centre and smaller plants around the sides. I have seen our Solardome® geodesic greenhouses bursting with palm trees, citrus trees, vines, bougainvillea and filled with all varieties of vegetables.
You went on to own a SOLARDOME® Retreat. Can you share some of your favourite memories with us?
Can you imagine going to the beach on a blustery day with the temperature barely reaching 65F/180C? We remember a few years ago organising a day trip in July with a group of our friends. Although usually an idyllic spot, the clouds came over, the sun left and the wind got up. We braved it for half an hour or so, and then decided enough was enough. We drove home, all headed out into our SOLARDOME® Retreat, complete with picnic and swimmers. The glass house dome had an in-ground hot tub, so we could laze around and have our beach party…but just without the beach.
Planning outdoor events for us British is a lottery at best. When you get 20 or so people planning to come for the day and the weather turns nasty, what would you do? Another day abandoned unless you can offer a venue that is weather and storm proof like our Solardome® glass house dome.
I have lots of lovely memories of great evenings in our glass house dome. Often on late autumn or early spring evenings, where we would set out candles around the dome and the lights reflected in many of the panes of glass, making a kaleidoscope effect. Just sitting in the hot tub, relaxing without the buffeting of the elements added the magic. We could see the clouds overhead if there was a moon to light them and have even watched freezing snow falling on the glass panes without lowering the temperature inside.
The glass house dome created a magical place, somewhere protected from the elements and where you could truly relax – choosing to have one was definitely one of my best decisions and gives me real insight into why I believe they are the best freestanding conservatory or glasshouse available.
Look out for our next installment from our ‘From the inside’ series in a few weeks time…