This section is from the book "How To Make A Flower Garden", by Wilhelm Miller. Also available from Amazon: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques.
My greenhouse is built on the east side of the house, and is connected with the dining-room by two doors, which were formerly windows. A window from the kitchen also looks into it. Altogether, it is thirty-four feet long, part of it twelve feet wide, and the extension with sloping glass roof is eight feet wide. As its appearance indicates, it has grown from time to time, and I think for that reason it seems to fit into the situation better.
A flower bed about two and one-half feet wide, which runs all around the house and next to the walk, serves as an ideal place for Dutch bulbs, and it is made thoroughly impervious to moles. During the summer it is mostly filled with pot plants from the greenhouse. The flowering vines, as shown in the picture, are tall nasturtiums, which are still blooming until the middle of November.
At the south end of the greenhouse I have a large cold-pit. This I reserve for the tender roses and half-hardy plants. In addition to this, I have another pit for sweet violets, and I have a large lot entirely devoted to flowers, flowering shrubs, and trees, so there is considerable to look after.
My greenhouse is heated with a hot-water heater that also supplies the eight-room dwelling house. I have always used anthracite coal, as it makes a more reliable, steady heat. In cold weather I try to arrange to have the fire at its best about two or three in the morning, and it lasts from ten at night until six or seven next morning. I have curtains to let down at some of the windows in the greenhouse, and when the mercury gets into the zeros I favour the more tender plants as well as I can. Of course, in growing such a variety as I have the conditions are not suited to all, but I seldom lose any. The list is too numerous to mention, but I have some large palms, a fine specimen of Pittosporum Tobira more than five feet across, a loquat in bloom, orange and lemon trees in fruit, araucarias, azaleas, camellias, begonias, ferns, a lot of flowering plants, and even crotons.
Mr. E. T. Harvey's modest greenhouse at Bond Hill, Ohio.
In summer I move all the p ants and arrange favourable and attractive places for them about the garden. Five or six night-blooming cereus, a few climbing roses and a large Monstera deliciosa are about all that remain inside, and they are too large to handle.
It is hard to estimate the cost, as I have made so many changes, but I should think about $350 would put up the building if I had to do it over again.
I cannot imagine how any one who loves plants could spend money better than by building a small greenhouse. Things may be so arranged that fifteen or twenty minutes, or a half-hour at the most, every morning is plenty of time to care for it, but one will take a great deal more time than this when one has the opportunity to enjoy it.
After the dark days of winter, when the days lengthen and the sun grows brighter, comes the most enjoyable time in the greenhouse. The plants seem to freshen up, and I have tender water-lilies and other things to start in anticipation of summer time. Who but an enthusiast can appreciate the joys of the new spring catalogue? Besides the pleasure of the flowers comes the feeling of looking after and caring for the plants. He who grows roses "must first have them in his heart." Very few days in the year pass without some flowers from the greenhouse on our table, and then there is the pleasure of caring for the plants themselves. They all have different needs and associations, like old friends. I should not wish to live without a greenhouse. There is no end of satisfaction in growing good things and watching their development.
This greenhouse could be built for about two hundred dollars.
A winter home In Florida. Note how much the little greenhouse adds to the attractiveness of the place.