Forest Garden
Naomi Slade’s Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse

4th August 2020

“This opens up a world of potential”

Committing to a new garden is a little bit like getting married. You may flirt with other plots occasionally, but you are really in a serious long-term relationship that needs working on and supporting. And you have to come to terms with the fact that, despite charm and potential, there are inevitably elements of character that you will never change.

Decorative greenhouse shading

So, when I settled on my garden, I took the view that I should embrace challenges and opportunities, both. Get on with it and not moan too much. And I accepted that I’d never have a greenhouse here.

Yet, it seems that miracles do happen! At the Garden Press Event earlier in the year I discovered that Forest have designed a teeny-weeny Victorian-style walkaround greenhouse, for people with teeny-weeny gardens. And, I confess, I am beside myself with excitement.

This opens up a world of potential. Things that I thought I’d have to work around or do without are now possible: those beef tomatoes and chillies that require indoor growing; starting seeds off early, with plenty of natural light; overwintering semi-tender things without bringing them into the house. Ok, at 126cm x 96cm it really is small, but the brilliant thing about it is that it has opening doors that you can hang where you need them, so you never have to go into it (although I probably will, at least occasionally).

Sure, it has been a project, but the fact that it requires assembly meant that each section was light enough to lift easily and it was no problem to get through the house. The panes are protected, too, so you can give yourself extra lifestyle points by painting it before putting it together – in my case using the same blend of 90% Reed Green and 10% Peregrine Blue from Thorndown Paints as I did on my shed.

The classic-yet-petite lines mean that it is also a really handsome feature – far better than one of those semi-disposable plastic plant wardrobe things you can get. And it contributes a lot of height for a minimal footprint, ideal in a downhill-sloping garden which needs tall things.

So, against all probability, I find myself in a new flush of love and excitement. New hopes, dreams and opportunities on the horizon. And, who knows? Maybe me and my little garden will be a marriage made in heaven after all.

Naomi Slade assembles Forest Greenhouse

Making a Mini Kitchen Garden

The garden is not ready to enter a newly zoned existence. And, since greenhouses speak of productivity, the idea is to riff off this, creating an area that is packed with edibles – or mostly edibles – around it.

The strip of soil by the fence is now planted up with herbs such as fennel and hyssop, chives and thyme, which will prettily mingle with lavender poppies and nasturtiums. Containerised plants will have to prove themselves in this hot-spot, and regarding the dwarf peaches we’ll have to see. But sun lovers like oregano and rosemary should thrive!

First published in Garden News Magazine, July 2019

Naomi Slade is a garden writer, author and designer, her new book ‘Hydrangeas’, published by Pavilion