Written by Sian Napier 27 Apr 2022 12:48

Diary of an Expectant Greenhouse Gardener: Part 1

My name is Sian Napier a professional gardener who at last is becoming the custodian of a much longed for Greenhouse. I'm the new blogger for Juliana and I want to share my journey with you in this blog.

When my youngest turned four and started school, I returned to education myself and began training in horticulture. Three years later after receiving my diploma I started work as a freelance gardener and garden designer. Fifteen years have passed, and my business has gone from strength to strength.

For years I have been growing vegetables for the family, as well as raising a few chickens, [even pigs once, but that’s another story], but there has always been something missing and I have been longing for a greenhouse for a very, very long time. Not just to grow tomatoes and cucumbers, plus chilies, peppers, aubergines, to name but a few. I would like somewhere for me to relax and unwind. You see for my husband that’s a round of golf or a razz on his motorbike but for me it’s propagating plants and sowing seeds. I love watching courgette seeds germinate and waiting impatiently for the first white arch to appear through the soil, followed by the seed leaves. I love pinching out the sucker leaves that grow between the main stems and branches of tomato plants, [and the smell]. I have done these things, I have watched my courgettes thrive, whilst on my knees, over my cold frame and with much success too I may add. Frustratingly I have also watched every outdoor tomato go brown due to an unkind British summer and never get to enjoy the fruit.

So, after a very long wait, my greenhouse is coming and she is beautiful, she will sit elegantly and in pride of place amongst my raised vegetable beds. She is a Wisley plant house made by Gabriel Ash.

I’ve chosen this greenhouse for its traditional design, made from sustainable Canadian cedar which mellows with age. It also boasts over 2 meters in height which should allow me to train a grape vine along its roof space and accommodate a lemon tree at one end. You see, I have visions of myself relaxing at the end of the day with a gin and tonic made with a lemon from my own tree.

Surprisingly my husband has now shown an interest and would like a small woodburning stove in one corner, just warm enough to take the edge off, so we can sit out on chilly evenings or stay dry and cosy during rainstorms [or for him to escape from the chaos at family gatherings for a cheeky cigar]. The greenhouse can become an extension of the house, where we can chill out, relax and even entertain on a small scale. I have visions of fairy lights and candles as we sip wine under the vine and enjoy a tomato salad that’s freshly picked and made with home grown basil.


If I sound a little enthusiastic, it’s because I am genuinely excited by this greenhouse and the prospects of home grown produce and plant propagation. I’m looking forward to creating a sanctuary in which to potter and nurture plants and myself at the end of a busy day. Maybe a little space for my yoga mat.

There is one small stumbling block however…in that, the spot in the garden where I plan to site this haven of tranquility is currently an overgrown dilapidated old chicken run, including a rusty old trailer, a ton of rubble, loads of nettles and brambles along with a rather large bay tree. Not to mention, a rotting garden fence that needs replacing.


Looks like we’re going to be very busy.

This blog is for me to share my journey as the dream slowly turns into a reality. Here I want to invite you to join me in this greenhouse gardening adventure from knocking down the old chicken coop to my first tomato or even the gin & tonic with my own lemon.

To be continued…..


Read Sian's next diary entry here or find Sian's complete diary here