For all who love plants and flowers, nothing is more exciting, more stimulating, than growing them in a garden under glass. When the north wind whistles and the snowflakes cling, when panes go opaque as temperate climate confronts zero, your greenhouse is a place of utter delight, fun to work in, a joy to contemplate, with a wealth of beauty and fragrance to share.
There is always a certain suspenseful excitement about a greenhouse. True, you remember what you have planted, but when you open the door in the morning, you never know quite what to expect. Yesterday when you left it, your greenhouse may have been full of bright promise. Overnight, a miracle has occurred and morning reveals a fairyland of color delicate pink points on swelling camellia buds, ruffled cerise ballerinas on the tips of the cactus; unfolding white, yellow, and lavender orchids, an African violet shaping up well for the show, and white hyacinths pouring fragrance into the aisle.
Greenhouse gardening offers excitement at any time, but nothing equals the thrill of your first "winter garden." Even the most familiar plants take on new beauty under glass. A favorite geranium is no longer just a geranium, but a brilliant splash of crimson on a gray winter day a lift to the spirits of a shut-in, a brighter table for your holiday entertaining.
If this is your first experience with growing plants, you will know a certain kind of wonder seeds like specks of dust grow into spikes of lemon yellow, pink, and white snapdragons, shriveled beads produce nasturtiums in myriad colors, gold through mahogany. From tangled straw colored aerial roots come 3 to 4 foot stems supporting miniature orchids in vivid orange, and these will open continuously for many months. From lumpy tubers will emerge velvet-textured gloxinias, the stiff and shiny flowers of anthodium’s will look more lacquered than real. Each new type of growth seems more amazing than what went before, each effort more rewarding. After years of under glass gardening, the first December blossoms are still exciting; in a greenhouse you never become insensitive to beauty, you are never a seasoned veteran. Indeed, there is no end to the possibilities of enjoyment and no surer way to good health. Go into your greenhouse with a headache, and you come out humming a tune. Take in a problem and it will be solved as you work with your plants.
Men are likely to be attracted to hybridizing, air layering and grafting or they may want to specialize on some hobby plant orchids, begonias, or camellias. Women, usually, are more interested in flowers to cut for the house or for arrangements to enter at flower shows, or perhaps in growing something exotic not readily found at the florist's shop. Children are fascinated by what happens to the seeds they sow. In a greenhouse there is excitement and satisfaction for everybody. Each time seeds are sown, bulbs planted, cuttings made, or leaves set down to root, you have a feeling of anticipation. When the first green tip breaks through the soil, or bulb spears get green, it is unbelievably fascinating. As you watch true leaves form on seedlings, as each small plant develops, you sense an affinity for this child of nature that is your own to care for right up to the rewarding fullness of colorful maturity.
If you have gardened out of doors, you know something of this wonder and pleasure, but in your garden under glass you will find that plants are even more fun, for in a greenhouse you are close to every process of growth, and the contrast with the outside world in its long winter pause is striking indeed. And there is another advantage. In some seasons, outdoor gardens prove more frustrating than delightful. After you have cultivated, fertilized, watered, and sprayed, months of debilitating drought may occur, or a single rain storm may wreak havoc with your choicest blooms.
Under glass, it is a different story: you are in complete control of environment. You are always sure of your reward no matter what the weather, and in a greenhouse your flowers can complete their normal life span, while you enjoy them to the fullest. If you are a beginner, gardening under glass will excite you; if you are an experienced gardener, the greater possibilities will be a delight. Either way, there is something about greenhouse gardening that gets to you. Once you understand the fundamentals, you discover how little the effort, how big the results and you become a devotee like the rest of us who are satisfied with no less than flowers for twelve months of the year.
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