Prior to spring 2010 the nursery area, where I grew on my snowdrop “babies”, was a raised bed in the garden, roughly measuring 12 foot by 6 foot. Come autumn, after it was planted up, the bed was then covered with cloches made from greenhouse shading, in order to keep the area cool in late spring and early summer and to deter the cats and squirrels from digging in the winter. Although this bed served its purpose, it was becoming too small an area for my needs and did not look particularly attractive in the garden, although the neighbour’s cat did enjoy basking on the hammocks!!!
Our gardens are long and narrow, approximately 212 foot long by 25 foot wide. On the death of my father, who lived next door, it was decided that when his house was sold it would be with a reduced sized garden, allowing me to inherit the last 60 foot. The purpose of this extra land was for a new nursery area which would take up 25 foot, leaving the remaining 35 foot as the vegetable plot.
John and I started work on the new nursery area in April 2010. Our first job was to fell an old hawthorn tree, and then the ground was levelled off where the polytunnel was going. Having always been a vegetable plot, there was plenty of fertile topsoil, which had over the years increased in depth due to the addition of humous and my old potting compost. We actually raked off over two tons of spare soil.
Once the area for the 10 foot by 15 foot polytunnel was staked out, the raised bed that would run the entire length of both sides of the polytunnel was constructed and filled, using a mix of sieved top soil, sharp sand and perlite. This used up the two tons of top soil!!
Next job was to lay the paving around the perimeter, leaving a border in front of the fences which has been subsequently planted up with shade loving, predominately evergreen, plants and clematis.
Then we erected the polytunnel. Although the door faces south, the whole area gets very little direct sun. The mature hawthorns at the bottom of my garden shade the polytunnel from the early morning sun and by mid day a huge field acer provides dappled shade. Only for a couple of hours in mid summer is there any direct sun before the hawthorns from next door’s garden provide the shade in late afternoon. The polytunnel has close netting along all four sides to provide ventilation and the polythene is coated with an anti-glare formula which reduces the sunlight by 25%, so it stays remarkably cool.
Finally two small raised beds were constructed alongside the polytunnel, where my collection of nivalis are interplanted between epimediums, hepaticas and other shade loving plants. The remaining area is covered with matting, and houses the cold frames which contain my seeds and cuttings and a few of the anemone nemorosa troughs.
The fence which divides the nursery area from the vegetable plot are clothed with clematis montanas.
So after four months of hard work we have achieved our aim. My polytunnel is filling up fast as I replant my snowdrops produced from twin scaling over the last four years; while the connecting raised bed at the back of the polytunnel houses my galanthus species and acis.
My next project is to replant the raised bed which was my original nursery area with heucheras, brunneras and some of my erythroniums.
View from front showing the western side of the area
View from the back showing the western side of the area
The tree in the photo is a field acer
View along the front showing the gateway which leads into my garden
The back of the polytunnel
View from the doorway
View from inside