The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Potting Shed Slowly Coming Along


Dear All,

As temperatures plummet at Shadowlands, I am fighting against the clock to complete my new potting shed.

I’ve made it from scratch, using red cedar and polycarbonate. It will double as a cool house in the winter – gently heated to about 5 degrees to protect my tender plants and semi-rooted cuttings. Plus a place of retreat and warmth. Internally it is by no means finished: I’ve still got to decide whether to paint it or varnish it. The former option, if done in white would reflect more light, obviously, but is a lot more work. It measures about 14ft long and 8ft wide. The roof will be stained a slightly darker colour to give it some distinction from the sides.

I’ve opted for polycarbonate twin wall (rather reluctantly) simply because the many quakes we have here, the kids, and its superior thermal insulation properties. One window I put in with clear (expensive) thick perspex so I can view the garden when working. The potting shed will also serve as a writing room, and I have a clapped out old chair (the unimpressive but extremely comfortable type) which will be placed in a corner. I salvaged a door I found on the property when we bought it 4 years ago. It is very old – perhaps 1920s, made of teak, and really beautiful. I will get a snap of it when it’s been tidied up.

I’ll also have a wick irrigation system from a water tank. The main problem will be to stop it freezing, so I may have the tank inside the potting shed where the gentle heat will (in theory) keep it constantly above freezing on a thermostatically controlled system.

The potting house itself is semi-under the overhang area of our house. This has its advantages (no leaks, and good protection from rot etc), but obviously it is a light trade-off. Rather fortuitously for me (maybe not for the animals), some of the land behind us has been half cleared, meaning light floods the greenhouse from dawn until about 1.00 pm, whereupon there is gentle light, followed by shade from 3.00 pm onwards. It is perfect for raising seedlings and cuttings, and will be adjacent to about 18ft of outside benching/staging arranged in a horse-shoe shape. Basically in March I will sow, then move seedlings on to a few frames with Dutch lights, and then to the nursery area (the benching). One of the greatest problems with the garden (as I mentioned in a previous post) is scale and volume. The mountains are imperious, the trees huge, and so planting a pansy here and a pansy there doesn’t cut it. I need volume, and hopefully the new potting arrangements will allow me to achieve mass plantings.

I have a few work in progress snaps taken by my wife on her iPhone (see below), but when it is all completely done I will have some better ones.

Best wishes to you all in this lovely autumn season.


More blog posts by ptarotuos

Previous post: Return to Shadowlands

Next post: Completely snowbound at Shadowlands, but thinking of Spring!



Ptaro............I love your shed, it's fantastic and tucked away there under the house, what more could you ask for, my hubby has a workshop where he retreats and tinkers! Never quite sure what he is up to. :) You have made a nice haven there for your writing too.

17 Nov, 2013


Ptaro, you have done such a professional job here, I am quite envious, what wouldn't I give for a 'shed' like that. It seems wrong to just call it a shed, it's a true work of art. Well done!!

17 Nov, 2013


Thanks Grandmadge and Waddy. It has taken about 2 months to build over stolen hours at the weekends. Since I decided to make it I wanted to do a good job, properly joint the timber etc. Apart from electric drill all wood has been hand cut, mitred and chiseled. Sometimes I thought about compromising, but I wanted it to last.
I also wanted it to be in scale with the building but large enough to provide useful potting and growing-on space. The best bits is that the kids (3, 5) are already demanding a stool to allow them to help pitying up and seed sowing. Giving kids a sense for growing and the natural world in my book ranks right up there with telling right from wrong. I was so delighted the other day when my eldest saw a flower and completely unprompted asked what it was. I couldn't answer him, but the question delighted me.

Kind regards,


17 Nov, 2013


I so agree Peter, with your sentiments. I bet you're a super Dad :)

17 Nov, 2013


Well done, it looks a fantastic job and all the better as it was made by your own hands, I hope you have many happy hours in there and your children follow in your foot steps and learn all about growing plants themselves.

17 Nov, 2013


happy new greenhouse....nothing like it..:-)

17 Nov, 2013


Thank you for your comments everyone. It's nye on impossible to build an instant atmosphere with a few planks, nails, and polycarbonate: but after a few years of potting, taking cuttings, sorting seeds, succeeding and failing, and indulging in a spot of gardener's loafing from time to time, I do think it will have a nice vibe. Plenty still to do: cleaning all the tools, sharpening them, constructing the watering system, and doing some max-min temperature testing. Will keep you informed. The keener eyed would have spotted the trusty Norwegian sweater doing a job keeping me warm.

18 Nov, 2013


I did spot the sweater Ptaro !! but thought it better not to comment !! :)
ps. It is nice to see your face. :)

18 Nov, 2013


Thanks, Grandmage - the sweater is in service from 1st Oct - the end of March. With washes, I hasten to add. Best, ptarotuos

26 Nov, 2013


Very nice,

I will enjoy that when I come to visit next May.
Meanwhile I am very busy taking off dead flowers on my Satsuki and labelling my new varieties that are presenting some surprises!

26 Nov, 2013


Wow Peter your shed is amazing a true art of work.

So beautiful and also for your children to enjoy to.

5 Dec, 2013


Late arriving here Peter and I suppose its changed a lot since you wrote the blog, it looks and sounds to me the perfect place to while away a few hours when one cannot actually be in the garden, its grand that your chidren are taking an interest..........

8 Feb, 2014

Add a comment

Recent posts by ptarotuos

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    8 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Mar, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Jan, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Apr, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008