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B&Q Apollo 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse

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Brand: B&Q / Type: Plastic Greenhouse

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      13.05.2013 18:37
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      ~~~~ MY GARDENS THROUGH THE AGES~~~~

      I wouldn't say that I am much of a gardener and I certainly do not possess green fingers! But I do know the names of many plants and have a good idea of what I like and what looks good with other plants. This is probably due to the fact that I grew up in a house shared by my nuclear family and an uncle who lived downstairs. This wonderful uncle was an enthusiastic and very talented gardener; you know, the type who you could give a plant to which you would be certain was dead but he nearly always would revive it. Strange really as we were born and bred Londoners living in Islington, in a Victorian built terraced house, and were self-taught, yet my uncle and my mother both became accomplished gardeners. But we were fortunate to have a small garden and during the summer this was turned by my uncle into an area abundant with colourful blooms of every colour imaginable in a plant.
      My mother was given a small area of garden and I remember that, as a child I was given a wooden trough, which I painted pale blue, and in this I could grow my own plants. My uncle often took me with him when he went to buy plants and seeds and let me choose some of my own for my trough. But now that I am older I find I'm something of a wimp with garden insects and find that I nowadays prefer to pass my scant but sometimes useful knowledge on to my husband and encourage him in his efforts to be a budding Percy Thrower.

      When we moved from this house of my early childhood and my mother then had sole charge of another garden, albeit small but it was hers to do with just as she liked. My mother since had two more gardens and to these she lent her special touch. Mum learnt a lot from her horticulturally talented brother and did wonders with her gardens. When I was grown I sometimes helped but my memories are more of time spent sitting in the sunshine while my children played and had children's tea parties (toy tea sets and sweets) and we all enjoyed the flowers and shrubs which she had nurtured. And through her efforts I learnt just a little about the growing and caring of plants but much more of their beauty.
      My present garden has many shrubs and some trees in it. It isn't huge but although on the outskirts of London it has been remarked upon that my garden has a country feel to it.
      It mainly consists of patio, lawn and borders filled with shrubs and a few plants here and there. When we moved into the house the garden already had mature shrubs in it but we have added much more gradually. And now that the children have grown up and ball games and such are not so often played in this garden my husband and I are now tending to add more flowers to complement the existing shrubs and add splashes of colour here and there.

      Weather permitting we do enjoy our garden and especially like to sit outside to enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine while we chat and admire the view. Also, now when we go away on holiday, especially when taken abroad, we do tend to take a look around at the local flora and fauna. It was actually while we were away somewhere, Spain I think, although these grow profusely in Cyprus too, that we first became aware of bougainvillea and came to really appreciate the varieties and hues of this plant.
      A few years back we invested in some tubs and bought some plants for the patio to hopefully remind us of holidays spent around the Mediterranean. Among the plants that we bought was a standard bougainvillea. This was glorious but sadly did not last very long.

      After the sad demise of this beautiful plant we had a look around local nurseries but found that bougainvillea seemed to be in short supply. Eventually (last summer) we did come across two small bougainvillea bushes in a nursery which were reduced in price as they didn't look too healthy. My husband insisted that there were not worth buying as they already looked more than half dead and wouldn't get any better. I ignored him, although admittedly they did look rather sad, and gave orders that I would pay and he could carry them with our other purchases to the car. Well, I am glad to say that these two plants did in fact greatly improve and enhanced our patio last summer when they gave a glorious show of colour. When our poor and disappointing summer turned to autumn we thought it might be a good idea to do the best we could to preserve our bougainvillea and various other plants that don't enjoy an English winter and need protection from the frost.

      We decided to buy a mini greenhouse. As we have limited space we didn't want anything too big but we then found that most of the smaller plastic greenhouses that we saw weren't suitable for larger plants as if they had four shelve these were too close together to fit in any larger plants and those that had only two shelves tended to be too small to be worthwhile for us. Because of this we had a good search for plastic greenhouses in which a shelf or two could be removed. With many of them if a shelf or two was removed then the greenhouse itself wouldn't have remained strong enough as these had frames integrated with the shelves. After looking in many home and garden stores we decided to purchase our mini greenhouse from the well known store of B&Q. We felt that the Apollo mini greenhouse best suited our need s and our garden.

      The greenhouse isn't large enough to house all of our plants which need protection and so we decided to use it for both bougainvillea and used another means of frost protection for the fuchsia bushes and lilies. My husband set up the greenhouse without two of the shelves being put in their destined place but instead laid these upon the other shelves as reinforcement. This provided two strong shelves and enough space for these two plants and the pots they were contained in.

      This mini greenhouse is free standing and we were worried that it might possibly be blown over in the windier weather as it wasn't anchored down but to our relief it remained standing. True, we positioned it against a wall where at least there was some shelter from the elements as well as a little weak but welcome winter sunshine at some times to fall upon it.

      Now this greenhouse is made from a thick transparent plastic. The plastic is thick and seems to be strong. It has now endured one rather extreme winter when it has been covered with snow at several times and has also been surrounded by frost on even more occasions.

      We have only very recently taken the plastic off of the frame as our winter has been so long but I am now pleased to say that on uncovering the plastic that the internal shelving has withstood the British winter and is looking very good and as if it will be well able to survive the next. There's no sign at all of corrosion of the frame and no tears to be seen on the plastic cover.

      This mini greenhouse has certainly kept the frost and snow off of our plants but at this time I am not certain that the plants are healthy and I will update on that in a few weeks. But if they don't survive then I cannot blame the greenhouse as it was obvious that the plants were protected from adverse weather conditions.

      ASSEMBLING

      The mini greenhouse is very simple to assemble. One removed from its box there are instructions supplied which are easy to follow and really it's more or less self-explanatory. My husband assembled this greenhouse in less than fifteen minutes and then it was ready to go.

      STORING

      When disassembled the parts fold flat along with the cover and it can be put back in its box or alternative storage for the summer. It doesn't take up much space at all. However we have decided that with the plastic cover removed the greenhouse stand and shelves look pleasant enough to use in the garden. We are now trying to decide whether to use it as a stand at the back of the garden for a few small plants, among them some off the trailing kind (I'm thinking geranium and fuchsia) or whether to find a spare sunny spot and grow some seedlings or maybe even dabble with growing some vegetables.

      In my opinion this mini greenhouse is very useful and better than some others I have seen for around the same price. I think it is worth the price we paid. In fact we will probably invest in another one for next winter.

      It is suitable for gardens and small areas such as a balcony and can house a couple of medium sized plants comfortably with one or two shelves removed. With all shelves left in place it is suitable for growing or protecting many types of smaller plants and vegetables.

      SPECIFICATIONS

      Colour: Clear

      Material: Polypropylene

      Category: Growhouses & Coldframes

      Includes shelving.

      Dimensions: 690 x 490 x 1600mm

      PRICE

      From B&Q stores £19.99 or available on-line from wwwdiy.com

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