Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Kristen
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Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Kristen » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:42 pm

Not sure that the title is quite right! but following on from Creating a Garden Room and Conservatory plant ideas I would like suggestions for a Conservatory for growing Exotics and over wintering.

We are thinking of revamping our conservatory - which is a horrid but functional uPVC "Box". Currently used for overwintering, and a few plants in the Summer. (Ventilation is lousy, sliding door only which lets rain in so can't leave open if we are out for the day)

We are thinking of a square bit for the main South-facing conservatory (adjacent to the house and will be on the central heating circuit and is sheltered by house on its North side) and then a longer "glazed corridor" connecting conservatory to outbuildings; this will be glazed on South side only, and just the initial part of the roof.

This will need to over winter plants, as well as hopefully providing some more permanent exotic planting.

I welcome your suggestions about planning / construction / operational use :)

I'm thinking that glazed corridor could be planted at both front and back, with a path up the middle. Things on the Front/South side can be sun lovers and grow up and provide shade to plants on the Back/North side. Path will be also used for overwintering / spring plant raising.

Thoughts that have occurred to me are:

Planting borders. These could be through to soil below, if roots won't be a nuisance, otherwise some deep concrete-lined planters, but soil will be floor-level or slightly raised.

Heating. Underfloor heating in the conservatory, and also the corridor. I have found that I can have floor-stat for underfloor heating, rather than an air-stat, so I'm thinking that in Spring I could stand all my seed trays etc. on that floor, rather than using heat mats/ propagators. Maybe some other things (in containers) would benefit from bottom heat? or could survive at 5C if also had bottom heat?

What temperature to heat Conservatory affordably? 15C enough? or are there plants I would want to grow that would need 20C?. Glazed corridor would be frost-free - let's say +5C minimum.

Could also run some heating pipes through the permanent borders if warm-feet would help?

Ventillation. Roof vents to let the heat out, I quite like the low vents that Charlie Pridham showed
Image
as I think that Low and High ventilation encourages convective cooling, being kinder to plants than howling-draught.

However, prevailing wind is from South East, and I am in flat East Anglia, and not a lot of protection from that direction, so there will be some wind. I'll plant a hedge for shelter, but that's some years from maturity.

Shading. External blinds of some sort.

Irrigation. I'd like to put a tank in the loft of the house, and use that for rainwater (part of a rain water harvesting system). That would provide rainwater taps in the conservatory, dunno how much pressure I'd get from the attic (might need a booster pump?). Dunno how big that tank should be ... 1 cu.M. perhaps?. (Assume that the weight can be supported)

Humidity - would it make a difference (to what plants I could grow) if there was some misting systems? Might help with Red Spider control too?

Floor. I like York Stone type slabs, but maybe a polish tile is easier to clean? (I find them slippery when wet though ...)
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


Steph
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Steph » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:13 pm

I have had a conservatory since 1985 and can only say very little can stay there all year round, agaves & cacti are the only things which have endured all year round. And like I am bored with those being there! And they grew huge.

Winter its a storage area, spring and autumn you can dress it nicely, summer its almost totally vacant.

Some plants I have had for many years, my Philodendron since the outset, lots have come and gone, some died, some outgrow their space but nothing is permanent.

If you want to keep it looking good, you have to stay on the ball.


Kristen
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Kristen » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:30 pm

Steph wrote:very little can stay there all year round, agaves & cacti are the only things which have endured all year round
Is that because it is too hot in Summer? If so must be too hot for people too?!

I am expecting to be able to design it to be "cool enough" in Summer ... I manage to grow Tomatoes and the like in my greenhouse during the summer, without painting the greenhouse white!, so I am hoping that with correct ventilation the Conservatory will be OK temepraturwise. The current uPVC one is like an oven in the middle of Summer, but it has not roof vents whatsoever :( just sliding doors - which then let the rain in (as the sloping part of the roof slides open with them)
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


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Birmingham Chris
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Birmingham Chris » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:29 pm

The rainwater sounds like a great idea, but 1 cubic meter of pure water is equal to VERY slightly shy of one tonne - rainwater isn't pure, so will be pretty much exactly a tonne. I would be really suprised if your roofspace, or even your floors could take this weight in one place constantly: a modern Mini Cooper is just over a tonne, would you put one of those in the loft........? :ahhh!: sorry to be a misery!
Coming to you from sunny North Birmingham. Where the sun always shines.....somewhere else!


Steph
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Steph » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:42 pm

With 3 roof vents fully opened its plus 30c for 12 hours a day, in a heatwave it goes off the thermometer.
I pour gallons of water on the floor to humidify it.

I wish I had had channels set in the floor with ornate grills, as in Kew Temperate House, would be good to humidify the place.


Kristen
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Kristen » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:46 pm

Birmingham Chris wrote:sorry to be a misery!
No, not at all, good to raise anything which might be a problem :) There is some other building work going on at the same, so the theory is that there will be a brick pillar in place to support the tank. I'd prefer to have enough head of water to use gravity, then I can have a trickle pump, running overnight on Economy-7, or solar powered or somesuch that is "green", to refill it and not have to have a high-powered boost pump running when I want to use water, hence wanting a decent sized tank / head.

But I have no idea how big a tank has to be to give "reasonable" pressure
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


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charliepridham
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by charliepridham » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:56 pm

My Conservatory faces SSW and I can sit it it on a sunny day in June at midday quite happily, it rarely goes above 75f this is because it was built by clever victorian people who put in a lot (and I mean lots) of ventilation, I shade it from outside and (and its a big and!) I am home all day so can leave all the doors and windows open, don't worry about winter heat, its a tiny problem compared with keeping it cool in summer
Charlie, Growing climbers in Cornwall http://www.roselandhouse.co.uk


rajah99
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by rajah99 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:21 pm

Hi Kristen

I built mine last year, it has a polycarbonate roof, and big double glazed sliding door on the front panel. The two sides are walls from other buildings. It is West facing, so gets afternoon sun till evening in the summer.

I actually don't have any roof openings yet, and last year it did get to around 40 Celsius in there at times. I had to leave the front patio doors wide open most of the time, and in the day open the doors into the house to let air circulate.

Having said that, i have a fish pond in there, so that helped a teeny bit with moisture. I also sprayed plants daily in the heat with water.

I have several bananas, oranges, lemons, coleus, gardenia, palms, and others in there, and they all survived the year and even the winter (min 11-12 Celsius).

The only that that died over winter was the coleus with rot from moisture, and my potted small livistona probably through overwatering. The winter, and moisture, gave me more probs than heat and summer. Next winter i will be sure to water much much less.

If you make it completely safe to water (like in outdoors), you could have a water sprinkler, or even a soaker hose for increasing moisture in the day. A desktop fan is quite useful for circulating air in summer and winter, though your sizes maybe a tad large for a typical desktop fan to handle.


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Vagetarian
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Vagetarian » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:09 pm

My little conservatory is only glazed on the roof (polycarb), the walls being white masonry, and has no vents or opening windows.

In the peak of summer it can easily get above 50 degrees so I generally have to leave the doors open. Even still, it can get above 30.

I don't have any problems with growing stuff in here year round, some things like the Super Dwarf Cavendish droop a little bit in the heat but they grow like mad. If I have a problem with humidity it would be that it's a little too humid to be comfortable for a human, probably because the place is so packed with transpiring plants.


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fern Rob
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by fern Rob » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:57 pm

You have to be so careful, I once put a C Medullaris in a conservatory for only 1hr and nearly killed it.
Rob
( Tree Fern hunter )


Kristen
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by Kristen » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:52 pm

rajah99 wrote:I actually don't have any roof openings yet, and last year it did get to around 40 Celsius in there at times.
Vagetarian wrote:My little conservatory ... has no vents or opening windows.
In the peak of summer it can easily get above 50 degrees
No disrespect intended, but it makes me wonder why Conservatory companies make them like that!

Essential to be able to vent them in a secure fashion when out, and such that rain won't get in.

I like Charlie's ground-level vents, and I would also like to have some roof vents, perhaps in the guise of a Lantern style structure in the middle of the roof with all the side windows opening. Can't find a good image, but this may give the idea:
Skylight_English.jpg
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


rajah99
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Re: Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by rajah99 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:57 pm

Kristen wrote: No disrespect intended, but it makes me wonder why Conservatory companies make them like that!

No disrespect taken :) Actually didnt have the luxury of buying a ready made conservatory, sort of built it myself. Clearly, overlooked the heat aspect until it was too late, but will be doing something about it for this year.

You can get some pretty nice lanterns with venting, either polycarbonate, or glass, tinted or other. If you've got money to throw at it, youve got plenty of choice. I pretty much built the conservatory for the price of one of these :lol:

http://www.fascias.com/contents/en-uk/d ... ights.html


george19
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Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by george19 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:35 pm

Hello,

Can you please suggest to me which company provides termite control services?
This problem solves the best company suggest with services details share me.

Thanks in advance!


chainsaw kid
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Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by chainsaw kid » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:47 am

george19 wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:35 pm
Can you please suggest to me which company provides termite control services?
This problem solves the best company suggest with services details share me.
George, the best way to get rid of termites that I know about is move to the UK, we don't have them here. :lol: :wink:
Don't Just sit there, plant something!

The Kid.


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charliep
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Creating an Exotic Conservatory

Post by charliep » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:25 pm

chainsaw kid wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:47 am
George, the best way to get rid of termites that I know about is move to the UK, we don't have them here
Actually they did have an out break in North Devon at Saunton sands, not sure if they are now eradicated (I think George is maybe plugging his business?)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews ... Devon.html
Charlie Pridham
Gardening in Cornwall
www.roselandhouse.co.uk


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