Victorian Dreams

My dream garden includes a greenhouse a la the Victorian structures of wood, brick, and glass found in gardening magazines. Starting price $25,000. Surrounded by a parterre, brick walkways, and lush flowers. Interspersed by statuary of angels and fairies. Hmmm… not on my budget.

Instead I’ve been considering the mini greenhouses in catalogs and on Amazon. Looking over my shoulder, Jim said, “Oh I can make you that.”

And indeed, he did.


The goal for this makeshift greenhouse is to over-winter my blueberries in pots. You may remember that our soil here in Kansas has a high pH, making acid-loving blueberries difficult if not impossible to grow and fruit. Pots filled with a soilless mixture might work, if I can keep the pots from freezing this winter.

The blueberries will take a lot of cold. Not so with the dipladenia that I want to keep alive this winter. I just don’t want to bring it in the house. First, I have no room. Second, I have a very low light situation, excellent for growing my African Violets, poor for the usual light hungry tropical. Will this plant survive the winter?

The polypropylene wrap that we used promises protection down to about 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Will it get colder than that? Possibly. But I can go out and wrap pots in blankets if it does. Will a tropical plant that does poorly when it’s less than 40 degrees survive. Uh, doubtful. But we’ll give it a try!


One of the fun parts of the greenhouse is the old window Jim used as a roof. When we first thought of this project, we looked at photos of window greenhouses. Cute! But have you seen the prices of old windows these days?

We picked up a couple for less than $10 apiece – a steal, trust me – and Jim created a lift-able roof, allowing air to circulate.


“It’s crooked,” Jim said when we were all done getting it in place. Maybe so. It sits on a patio that we (he) built so that it slants away from the house for drainage. The window roof faces the southeast. It’s protected from the wind on three sides.


It’s not a Victorian greenhouse, but for my purposes, it will do!


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