This image was made at Chatswort, in the 1th Dukes Greenhouse that houses part of the Camellia collection. It is one of the most important 17th century greenhouses surviving in England.

“Buildings such as this were first developed in the Netherlands at the start of the 17th century and were called ‘greenhouses’ because they were originally used to house tender ‘greens’, or evergreens, during the winter. They were also often referred to as ‘orangeries’, because they were used in particular to grow citrus species and similar plants.”

Having my own greenhouse – or orangery – made the Dukes greenhouse come back to me. His is better than mine – larger, more style, better technology – but mine is mine.

My orangery houses a densely packed collection of tender greens in containers – four citrus trees, three bird-of-paradise plants, two oleanders, a datura, …. Most of them came to me as cutting or seed, and I love them. Tender care has to be taken in moving them outside after winter – I really long for a few cloudy rainy days, as this prevents sunburn. Learned this by trial and error – like doctors, gardeners bury their mistakes, or rather, they compost them …

It also made me organise a visit to the Westlands Museum next weekend, which has a lovely garden and is home of a starling collection of historic greenhouses. So: to be continued

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