Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Great Greenhouse Disaster

You might call our back garden exposed - it's on a steepish slope and backs onto the downs where there is nothing to buffer against the wind. Brighton is also notoriously windy (apparently). I always used to think of wind as a bit of a non-element when it came to gardening - you need sun to make things grow but too much sun can scorch and dry out plants. You need rain to nourish the plants, but again, too much rain can be damaging. BUT wind, I only realised it was something to not only be considered, but also to be slightly scared of since we moved into our house.
I put the greenhouse up last spring, an easy job or so I thought. Then a slight gust of wind had the cover half way across the garden. Unperterbed, I put the cover back on and tied it a little tighter. Sure enough, off it came again. And so this little game with my new elemental nemesis continued for some time. Finally, I enlisted Sam to help me wage war on the pesky winds that whipped up a gale through our garden. He spent 2 hours busily attaching string to anything which string could be attached to, weighting any stray bits down with bricks and he must have also been muttering some kind of ancient chant to the Windy Overlord - I couldn't quite hear but it had a lot of four letter words in it.

SUCCESS! The newly fortressed greenhouse survived the rest of the spring, into summer, autumn and then came December and some of the windiest days I have ever experienced. Our wheelie bin went off down the road somewhere, our fruit cage ended up 2 doors down and our greenhouse... well it went from looking like this:                                                                                To this:

Gone were my overwintering sweetpeas, my strawberry runners were mostly squashed but still surviving and remarkably my Salvia, Hot Lips which was right in the middle of all the chaos was unharmed.
The greenhouse itself however, unsalvageable. Perhaps we should have taken the cover off for winter but it was still being used for overwintering various plants, definitely something to learn for next time.

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