Destinations Magazine

Greenhouse Tidy Up

By Alternativeeden @markngaz

One rainy day last week I took the time to tidy up the greenhouse down by the bottom of our garden. This is where most of our succulents live in the winter and with many of them out already acclimatising in the garden now is the perfect time to give it some spring cleaning.

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Their home needs cleaning!

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Old bubblewrap had to go

First of all I had to remove most of the old existing bubble wrap insulation there. They only have a finite lifespan despite being made of plastic as the sun gradually degrades them and you'll know soon enough when it's due replacing when they start flaking away. Usually bubble wrap lasts two to three years before they become so brittle with UV damage and this year is the year the existing one has to go and will be replaced later this year in preparation for winter.

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Agave leopoldii

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Variegated Aloe arborescens and Aloe cryptopoda

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Echeveria 'Compton Carousel'

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Mangave 'Bloodspot' and Agave bracteosa

Greenhouse Tidy Up

That staging badly needed some brushing!

Greenhouse Tidy Up

But before I remove them, the remaining succulents inside had to go out first. So out they went into the bottom patio until I've cleaned their abode, with the added benefit that the rains will not only hydrate them but will also give them a little wash.


Greenhouse Tidy Up

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Agave leopoldii

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Variegated Agave leopoldii

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Variegated Agave salmiana var. ferox

Greenhouse Tidy Up

The compact growing Aeonium 'Poldark'

Usually we have an electric heater there but the electrical connection there got severed when the jungle hut was damaged and although a new one is already in situ, the electric supply to the greenhouse has not yet been reconnected. So we had to use a paraffin heater last winter. It's not a bad choice of heating but it can be messy with the soot it produces which makes the bubblewrap go a bit gray. As we're getting rid of it then the soot goes with it too. 

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Agave murpheyi....

Greenhouse Tidy Up

with a naughty resident!

Another thing that makes this greenhouse become untidy is that loads of spiders take residence in it and with them comes their webs which attracts not only insects but also debris. I had to clear out and remove so much cobwebs there and on some succulents the cobwebs were so thick that they looked like they've been prepared for Halloween. This accumulation of arachnid silk only happened in a space of a few months as I do clean up the plants before I stow them for winter. Cleaning this greenhouse is not for the arachnophobic!

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Agave victoriae-reginae with cobwebs

Bubblewrap gone, most of them anyway, then most cobwebs (and dead insects) cleared, it was time to clean the plants itself. Weeding was necessary on a few and watering needed on nearly all. The rain wasn't enough to give them good hydration so I intervened. Majority are due repotting but that will have to be done gradually in the next few weeks.

Greenhouse Tidy Up

What am I actually growing, Oxalis or an Agave ocahui??

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Untangled, the beautiful Agave ocahui surfaces

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Hanging down on the sides, it looks like a deliberate planting combination....almost...

I don't fervently collect succulents as much as I used to and tend to just grow the ones that particularly catch my eye, and agaves in particular. Even with agaves I restrain myself and just acquire and keep unusual ones, or ones that I simply find attractive.

Greenhouse Tidy Up

I've given our conservatory a quick update by replacing the terracotta with more colourful glazed pots. Some of the more pristine/perfect looking agaves from the greenhouse now live here.

By the end of the afternoon I'm pleased with results and the succulents are now back inside. They've been put back in rather randomly but as I will re-pot most of them they will be re-arranged later on.
Greenhouse Tidy Up

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Greenhouse Tidy Up

Greenhouse Tidy Up

I just need more nice new pots now!


Mark :-)  

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