The greenhouse or glasshouse can be traced back to around 35AD when the roman Emperor Tiberius had an early form of cucumber grown in a specially made glass construction. By the 16th century the French were creating beautiful glass orangeries to both protect their orange trees and to act as a symbol of their wealth.
The Victorians further developed the greenhouse, in some places creating huge and beautiful buildings such as the conservatory at Kew and the Crystal Palace.
By the mid twentieth century advances in construction techniques and materials resulted in the introduction of mass produced, low cost greenhouses made from galvanised metal and aluminium. Recognising the benefit of being able to sow and grow undercover many gardeners found space for a greenhouse on their plot.
A greenhouse should ideally be sited where it will blend into the garden and in a sheltered, open spot with maximum light. The size of the greenhouse will depend on the amount of available space. A small greenhouse may lead to some tough decisions as to which plants will have to remain outside and take their chances but a large greenhouse may be both difficult and expensive to heat.
Once a greenhouse is in place there are many accessories available to assist the gardener and to maximise the usefulness of the structure. Staging enables the best use of both floor and vertical space and fitting an automatic device for opening the window and so increasing ventilation on warm days will be a huge bonus.
Routine maintenance will be necessary, both inside and out, but is relatively easy. Simply keep the outside clean and free from grime and clean, disinfect and fumigate the inside once a year. Autumn is the most popular time for this maintenance as the plants will come to no harm outside whilst the cleaning takes place.