Sian Napier

07 Feb 2023 08:24

Staging and shelving - Diary of a Greenhouse Gardener: Part 7


The floor is down, the raised bed is built, and the tomatoes are growing like crazy triffids. My chilies and peppers, however, are sitting in pots on the floor and not enjoying the abundant sunshine that this summer has provided us with.

A workstation

To remedy this, we have bought some staging and shelving to provide somewhere to care for the plants and to act as a workstation. The staging is 62cm deep and approximately 90 cm high, very much the same dimensions as the average kitchen work counter. This height is ideal, as it provides a good level from which to work, without causing back strain. This area is going to be very useful for jobs such as sowing seeds, re-potting plants and propagation.


The shelves and staging are made of sustainable red cedar

The staging has adjustable legs that are very useful in providing a level surface, especially if like me you have a slightly uneven floor. The shelves and staging are made from the same materials as the greenhouse, which is sustainable red cedar. The natural oils in the timber protect the wood from water damage and rot. The wooden surface is built from slats, which allow water to drain through to the gravel below and encourages air circulation, this is good for the prevention of disease and promoting general plant health.


Making the most of the vertical space

The shelves provide another layer of storage, making the most of the vertical space. Here I have a small collection of house plants, including a spider plant, given to me by one of my clients as soon as she heard that I’d acquired a greenhouse.  There are also some lanterns a box containing tea lights and glasses, and an ice bucket. (There might be a small bottle of Jameson in the box too).


A very useful space

The shelves are also perfect for hanging solar lighting, so we can enjoy the greenhouse in the evening.

These shelves will be a very useful space for overwintering tender perennials that wouldn’t survive winter frosts. I intend to house my pelargoniums in here and hopefully take some cuttings which will provide me with new plants, ready for next year.

The shelves and staging are all screwed to the frame of the greenhouse, to provide stability and strength. All the structures are strong enough to take the weight of pots filled with soil and plants.

I have tried to use either natural or reclaimed materials where I can. The floor is made from reclaimed bricks, and I like to use reclaimed terracotta pots as much as possible. My husband bought some seed trays from work, which are made from greenhouse off cuts. These I have lined with plastic trays, mostly to protect them from staining because they are so nice, but these plastic trays will also hold some water to keep the plants hydrated on hot days.


Finding inspiration in the greenhouse

When it came to writing this blog today, I have to admit that I had a complete mental block and had no idea where to start. Where would be the best place to find inspiration, but in the greenhouse. So armed with a note book and pen, I took my breakfast and a cup of coffee outside and into the greenhouse.

The sun was shining and as soon as I opened the greenhouse door, I was greeted by a waft of warm air scented strongly of cedar. Immediately I smiled and felt uplifted. I probably go on a bit about how much I love the smell of the cedar and I believe that psychologically I now associate that smell with being in my happy place.

Sometimes, we all experience days when we just don’t feel our best, and its really nice to have somewhere to go, where we can relax and unwind.

Activities such as gardening have been shown to promote good mental health and relieve stress and anxiety. Focusing on simple tasks such as potting on seedlings and taking cuttings can be a therapeutic distraction from life’s ups and downs.

There can be a sense of achievement in nurturing plants and producing your own food that provides a sense of well being. I enjoy the gentle quietness I find in my greenhouse, far away from technology, bad news and social media. I could hear the wind blowing outside but I couldn’t feel its force and I do enjoy watching the rain pelting down whilst I stay dry.

I’m really beginning to appreciate how much I’m enjoying owning a greenhouse, I’m also aware of how lucky I am and I am very grateful for the privilege. If you're reading this then you may be another greenhouse owner or have use of one. I do hope you're getting as much pleasure from yours, as I do from mine.


Read Sian's previous diary entry here or find Sian's complete diary here

Om Sian Napier

Sian Napier is a freelance garden designer and gardener with over 15 years professional horticultural experience to build beautiful garden spaces for her clients using plants to create movement, texture and all year season colour and interest.

Follow her journey of living with a Gabriel Ash Greenhouse and learn about different aspects of growing through the seasons.

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