One of the main features which caused me to have child like excitement in the garden at Little Acre, was the presence of the large, yet slightly tired, greenhouse. It takes pride of place at the front of the veg area yet like most of the garden it has certainly seen better days.
Being 8ft by 10ft and of wood construction it must have once been a beautiful structure, but these days, nature has started to reclaim it. The wood has been taken over by moss and lichens, with some of the panels succumbing to damp. The thick layer of established grime lays on the glass and the venting mechanisms have become rusted, fixed in the open position on some and completely absent on others.
When I was younger, one of my overriding memories of visiting with my Gran was that of the powerful, fully encompassing smell of her tomato plants, accompanied by the wall of warm air which hit you upon entering her greenhouse. Over the years I have strived to recreate this cherished childhood memory, however the previously limited room meant having to settle for flimsy plastic constructions or small lean to glass structures, none of which delivered. So when we looked around Little Acre and saw what remained of the wonderfully large greenhouse my heart skipped with joy. Once we established that the structure was still solid and the issues were mainly cosmetic, there was no stopping us.
First task was cleaning the glass, removing the layers of dirt that had built up over decades of neglect and hoping the panes stayed in place. Bar a couple of minor cracks the glass was miraculously in good condition and after a thorough hosing down it started to resemble the makings of a half decent greenhouse.
Anticipation got the better of me and almost immediately the greenhouse was filled with tomatoes and chillies. The sensible thing would have been to spend this year focusing on restoration, but I had been patient for far too long and who wants to be sensible all the time anyway!
A few weeks later the plants had become established and the payout was more than I could have ever imagined. To my great satisfaction, upon returning from school, my sons throw down their schools bags and rush to the greenhouse, eager to see what has grown over the course of the previous 24 hours. We tend to the crops, watering, feeding, repotting, pruning, with squeals of excitement every time a new flower or fruiting body is discovered.
There is still much to be done, wood panels need replacing, the whole structure needs sanding and treating, new vent mechanisms need to be purchased but all of that takes a back seat to the memories that are already being made there and above all else……that powerful, heart leaping, long searched for smell of the tomato plant is now back and brings with it a comforting smile.