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A Garden Project for 2011

A neighbour and friend Dave asked if I would like a greenhouse.

He was going to knock his down as he didn't use it and it was monopolising the space next to his back door.

It was a lovely wooden design and he would be delighted if I could give it a new lease of life.

It sounds like I've just adopted that greenhouse !

My small veg patch in the garden . . .
. . . and the greenhouse just down the way.

I love growing veg to eat but the growing season here in Loweswater is so short.

Having this greenhouse would enable me to extend the season and perhaps grow a few more temperature sensitive herbs and veg.

- - - o o o - - -

I commissioned a local builder to measure up for a new base and I levelled a patch of my garden and dug some footings. He laid duplicate dwarf walls so that we could dismantle and rebuild with the minimum of delay.

Unfortunately for me the chap that had built the greenhouse ten years ago had done such a good job that it has proved to be a real problem to take apart. Every joint was bolted, screwed or nailed and to add fun to the equation he had sealed everything, including the glass, with copious amounts of white silicone mastic to keep the water out !

No wonder he didn't volunteer to help me take it apart !

- - - o o o - - -

Plan A. Break it down into four wall sections and two roof sections, complete with glass, but this proved naive as the weight of each section would have been prohibitive to lift and move.

Plan B. Take all the glass out . . . I managed about a 75% success rate due to the mastic . . . then I could easily split it into sections . . . wrong !

Plan C. Remove every bolt, screw, nail, loose timber, fitting, fixture I could find and then see if it would split apart.

I was in no mood for photos . . . sorry !

- - - o o o - - -

16th April 2011 . . . Breakthrough . . . something gave at last !!!

From now it was relatively plain sailing as first the door frame came out

then the end frame wobbled and released, the other end split apart the same way and I was left with a tent like structure of just the walls and roof.

A little brute force and ignorance and the job was done . . . six pieces . . . but not quite the shapes I had imagined.

- - - o o o - - -

Still here we are in April, all the bits have been transported to my garden via the estate part of the car, or hanging off the roof rack.

Now to put it all back together again.

The new base and dwarf walls . . . after two months in existence, they have a purpose at last.

Hopefully it is the right size.

So far so good . . . the timber surround fits.

How did all that fit on the roof rack in just two journeys ?

Time to rub down and paint the door and various frames before fitting into place.

- - - o o o - - -

Unfortunately the brick base was right in two dimensions but not the third (it was 2" too low)

After a puzzling few moments deciding why existing holes wouldn't match up,

I sawed two inches of the base of the door and door frame, offered it up and hey presto !

- - - o o o - - -

Three sides in place . . . now for the fourth . . . made more awkward by having half a roof attached to it.

I prop it up in order to paint it.

It was hard work maneuvering the heavy section about the garden.

I heaved and grunted and Ann placed round fence-post rollers at strategic places to let it slide and move into position.

Thinking back . . . how on earth did Dave and I manage to get it on the roof rack in the first place ?

A coat of paint on some of the extra bits . . .
. . . but plenty more to paint, stacked up over the back.

The top garden is looking decidedly empty at last.

Now that it is clear it will need a second cut of the season as the grass is growing fast in this sunshine.

Now to get the side section in place . . . the big problem is lifting it up there.

Now who can I find to give me a hand ?

- - - o o o - - -

Friends of the owners of Rose Cottage opposite us here in Loweswater kindly came across for a few minutes,

well perhaps more like quarter of an hour, in order to help lift the big section into place.

We maneuver the side to approximately the right place.

Check the dimensions.

Begin the lift . . .
. . . and slide into place.

Aligning the roof section at this end.

Lifting and placing the other . . . and it's job done !

A big thanks to Ian and Howard for getting the project a step further on.

- - - o o o - - -

Looking at the pictures of the greenhouse being built only pointed out to me the state of the garden shed behind.

So with a roll or two of roofing felt, the following week saw me up the ladder again.

A few trees needing trimming to complete the job . . . the sunshine helped too !

- - - o o o - - -

May 29th :

I didn't manage to finish the greenhouse in time for the family party at the end of May so put a blue tarpaulin over the top as a shelter.

It made an idea place to site the barbecues on this slightly windy lunchtime

after what had been a very wet couple of days prior to the holiday weekend.

Chefs Richard and Al at work, helped by Claire and James.

- - - o o o - - -

June 20th :

The showery weather has not encouraged me to remove the tarpaulin which has been on the greenhouse for nearly a month now.

It has allowed me a little extra storage and working space on the few occasions I've made it into the garden to work on the structure.

I've just the last couple of dozen of slats left to clean up and paint.
The finials are also one of the last remaining timbers to be done.

This morning's fine weather allowed me to move ahead on these slats too.

This is turning out to be a real renovation job, not just a re-build, and is taking much longer than planned.

Still there's no rush and no point getting stressed about it.

- - - o o o - - -

A helpful few days sunshine and a few spare hours sees the battens painted to their new colour and laid out to dry in the garden.

Now to tackle the question of glass.

Due to it being sealed in with silicone mastic, about half of it broke as I took it out from Dave's garden.

The next task is to clean up what's good and think about ordering the replacements for what was lost.

- - - o o o - - -

Starting to look good . . . the decorative finials are on . . .
. . . and a selection of glass has been collected.

Big thanks to BB Glass of Workington for their glass cutting service.

- - - o o o - - -

Raindrops on Roses . . .

and raindrops on new glass as I've worked out the easier way to fit it and so completed the roof section on this side.

'X' marks the spot . . . where I've recently fitted new panes of glass.

It reminds me not to stick my head through the previously open woodwork to see how it looks from inside !

The roof windows are glazed too.

I forgot to fit the one on the garden (right) side before fitting the roof glass, so I hope I can reach over without breaking anything.

The one on the fence (left) side should be easier as there's no obstructions that side to stop me working up on the ladder.

Lots of kisses . . . that usually means happiness . . . which is not so far from the truth !

- - - o o o - - -

Thursday, a rainy day, but the last of the glass is in . . .

. . . and the opening windows are on and open.

Just a four pieces of the outside jig-saw to complete in due course, two covers to stop the rain getting in through the hinge gap of the window

and two batons which edge the pane to be lifted clear to fit these hinge pieces.

I think this represents another milestone passed !

In the mean time I'm harvesting a meal's worth of spuds from each pot we empty.

A quick trip to B&Q on pensioners day found me buying four chard plants at 50p each, reduced from £2.95.

Midday photo . . .

By close-of-play on the 28th July I had started fitting out the inside of the crystal palace.

The plants on the staging were dwarf tomatoes, another quick bargain from B&Q.

In the warmth of the damp afternoon the greenhouse was beginning to smell of tomatoes too.

- - - o o o - - -

Pay Back Time

While all this building and renovation has been going on, the garden has been looking after itself or should I say, getting less than the required attention.

However it has coped remarkably well, and now the wraps are of the soft fruit bed and it's time to harvest a few raspberries, Ann's favourite.

Underneath the haze of the mesh net there are some lovely fruit.

This is the third year, the second full season for the (Glen Rothy ?) variety and they have taken off this year beautifully.

The blackcurrant are not far behind either.

The flash of the camera kicked in due to the low light under the raspberry leaf cover.

Each punnet is about 3/4 lb of fruit . . . some to eat now and a little for the freezer.

The potatoes have been moved and then ignored but they too are providing a contribution for the table.

As the leaves fade, they remind me that it is time to shake out the pots and harvest the spuds.

Purple sprouting broccoli are growing fast but the over-winter chard (red stalks) have gone to seed and need clearing.

The few lettuce I planted amongst the beans need to be moved as the beans themselves are shooting up well.

They can grow in in pots in the greenhouse which will be interesting to see how they do. We keep pinching a few leaves from each plant for meals rather than cut the stalk and take the whole plant indoors. That way they last an awful lot longer.

Spinach to make "Popeye" strong.

Rhubarb I hear you shout !

A second session clearing the blackcurrant plants.

Time for the old man to stop for a break.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with Ann's Cannon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a manual to give me a bit of a clue how it all fits back together.

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