Diane Manina, of Central California, has long dreamed of having a real glass greenhouse, and now after many years and a few obstacles, has it standing majestically in her rural garden, ready for use in all seasons. On my visit, she showed me this and future projects in her garden.
Diane grew up with a Dad who loved roses, so spending time in the garden was a time for them to do something together. She says, “At the time I believe it was the idea of just being with my dad, but the love of gardening bloomed inside me and I have loved it ever since. My love of roses has not changed either. I think it is the challenge of keeping something beautiful alive.
She loves to propagate plants and having a greenhouse would make it easier to do that all year round. “I was always cutting and starting new plants and always dreamed of having my own greenhouse to start plants in,” Diane states. She was heartbroken when she and her husband, Mike, moved to a community that did not allow for greenhouses once she was ready to get started. “I longed to be able to start my seedlings in a greenhouse.
After moving to Coarsegold, a mountain community in the Sierra foothills, Diane did her research and found her ‘Patricia‘, 12′ x 16′ greenhouse kit at Backyard Greenhouses. It was delivered in several large crates and unfortunately had to sit for two years before she and Mike could continue the project. Mike built the cement block knee wall as a foundation and a construction crew came in to set up the greenhouse which then took only two days. Mike built a handy shelf all the way around and her granddaughter even made her a special gardening apron. Finally Diane could ‘move in’.
The greenhouse is situated on a rise a distance from their house and seems to glow as it is backlit by the sun. Diane has one large planting bed around it, a ramp on one side and steps on the other. The greenhouse was chosen with a dark green enamel aluminum frame, tempered glass and an automatic ventilation system.
Inside she has a potting table at one end and her soil mixes in color-coded, metal cans on one side. Plants hang along the other side and some are placed on the brick and gravel floor. She has a glider bench set along the outside under the shade of a tree looking down over the flower bed in front. There she can sit and dream of her next project.
She plans on an herb garden laid out as parquetry, a pattern similar to an herb knot garden. She has collected ancient looking lion planters large enough for trees and broken concrete blocks for walls and edgings. She has a fine hedge of lavender started for one side and a multi-tiered fountain for the center.
Diane and her husband love to browse the tag sales in the area, and then find ways of using their treasures in the garden. One delightful use of this talent was finding these old fruit ladders and transforming them to a wonderful, tall rose arbor.
Diane says “I love the solitude of gardening, it is peaceful and relaxing. I have mulled through many a difficult decision in my life while gardening. I talk to my plants and, like my dogs, they all enjoy my company. They never complain if my hair isn’t combed or I am still in my PJs. When they flourish and bloom it is like a friend saying hello. When they don’t, I feel I let them down and try my best to find out what they need to bring them back.”
Having a greenhouse makes it easier for Diane to do this. It’s a place to think, dream and grow.