What benefits can come from within a glasshouse?
From Kew Gardens to the Eden Project, a DIY lean-to or a Solardome ‘Haven’ the use of protected growing structures has transformed the range of plants we are able to grow in our northern climate.
What these structures offer is not only an environment where plants can thrive but also somewhere special for humans to enjoy. The warm moist atmosphere and smell of damp soil and vegetation is an intoxicating mix for any gardener and horticulturist along with the opportunity to get up close and personal with living plants throughout the year.
Whatever the size or scale of these growing spaces it is what they are being used for that will dictate how the interior is designed and laid out; space could be used for a particular interest in a certain plant species collection that requires a specific environment, such as high tropical temperatures and humidity for orchids, or warm temperatures for sub tropical species such a palms. A cacti and succulent collection will require a warm dry environment compared to cool dry, well ventilated conditions for alpine plants.
There is no doubt that many people gain a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from being actively engaged with growing plants through all four seasons, for example the delight of seeing blooms of tropical species out of season or the pleasure of growing and harvesting an early crop of edible produce for a meal.
Gardening as a therapeutic medium, and the healing power of nature should not be underestimated. It has been well researched and documented that being in close contact and working with living plants and the natural world can improve physical fitness, increase mental alertness by reducing stress and tension while promoting a feeling of spiritual well-being.
Using a glasshouse or protected growing space of any shape or size is not just a luxury, for many it is an important part of life; where only limited space is available the higher planting density enables more plants to be grown and therefore more interaction will be required throughout the longer growing seasons allowing people to carry on their interests all year round.
If I were to be asked what my ideal dream planting structure would be… possibly a Solardome ‘Sanctuary’ planted with palms, climbers and evergreen species with their myriad shades of beautiful green foliage and differing shapes and forms; the dense foliage would encircle a seating area accessed only by winding paths under the trailing canopies. This space would provide me with an inspirational writing, eating and relaxation area all year round. That reminds me, I must remember to pick up a Solardome catalogue [and price list] next time I visit the office!