It’s been an exciting week. After months of work and tons of concrete, all was ready when the cheery Hoklartherm team arrived punctually on Monday morning, with our new greenhouse packed in their trailer.
And immediately set to work.
It was a long, hot day.
The German word for ‘greenhouse’ is ‘Gewächshaus’ which literally means ‘Growing house’. For thousands of years, people have had the idea that extra warmth and light might make the growing of special plants possible.
In 30 AD Emperor Tiberias’ doctors recommended he eat a daily cucumber, for his health. His gardeners developed special carts, planted with cucumber, which were wheeled into the sun every day and back into cosy buildings in the evening.
A doctor at the royal court of Korea in the 15th century wrote an important treatise on cultivating vegetables and fruits in colder climates; he described the construction of a place for growing crops heated by an underfloor system, with transparent, oiled windows. The records of the Josean dynasty show that mandarin orange trees were being grown in such buildings in the winter of 1438.
Europe – specifically the Netherlands and England – caught up in the 17th century. Wealthy English landowners ordered their gardeners to grow bananas, peaches and pineapples, along with exotic plants being brought back from overseas.
Greenhouses got bigger and bigger and more and more impressive.
French botanist Charles Lucien Bonaparte built the first practical modern greenhouse in Leiden, Holland, during the 1800s to grow medicinal tropical plants. In the meantime, the Netherlands has over 90 square KM of greenhouses, growing vegetables, fruit and flowers which are exported worldwide.
At the beginning we thought of growing a few herbs or flowers in our greenhouse, but Corona seems to have changed our brains and so over the months of planning, the space for plants got smaller and smaller and the space for sofas, tables, lamps and cupboards bigger and bigger.
So after the cheery workmen had gone, my husband spent the week installing insulation and underflooring:
Several people have already wondered where the plants will go.
The answer is, nowhere. This is a place for drinking gin and tonic or banana milk, reading, thinking, napping, chatting. A tiny slice of heaven, in fact, which we have decided to call ‘Haus Ferdinand.’