I used to have a large glasshouse. I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the use of my glasshouse, every day I appreciated the exciting range of crops I could grow inside, and the extended growing season and bountiful harvest that my glasshouse helped to provide me with. I was so grateful, excited, and so inspired by the vast array of glorious fruit and vegetables that I grew inside the glasshouse. Every single day I thanked my lucky stars for my glasshouse, so I was absolutely devastated to have to leave the glasshouse behind when I moved home some years later.
For the past 10 years I have been looking longingly at the innovative garden products offered by Access Garden Products, I have lingered around the company’s display stands at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and the RHS Wisley Flower Show. I have been most interested in the Access Garden Products classic growhouses – mini greenhouses that have been built to high standards, which include space saving features that have been specially designed to save the gardener time and energy. Access Garden Products offer an array of garden products, which are ideal for those of us with a limited amount of outdoor space.
If you picture a traditional greenhouse, a large proportion of the valuable glass covered space inside is used to accommodate a path down the centre of the glasshouse, which enables the gardener to reach and tend the plants on either side. With an Access Garden Products classic growhouse, no space under the glass is wasted – every inch of the glass covered space is designed to be used as a space to grow plants. Gardeners can walk around the outside of this freestanding growhouse, every part of the growhouse can be easily accessed from outside, enabling the gardener to more easily place this growhouse. You don’t need to have a wall or fence to lean the growhouse against, a small area of level ground is all you require.
This autumn I was given a very generous and special gift of an Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse. I still cannot believe that I have this wonderful growhouse in my garden, after looking at it for so many years, it’s a revelation! I am just absolutely over the moon with my growhouse, I really am delighted with it!
Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse benefits
- Versatile, freestanding growhouse, that maximises its available growing space and allows for a great many growing opportunities.
- This is a resilient growhouse, which is comprised of 4mm toughened safety glass within an aluminium frame.
- The Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse features 8 extra wide seed tray shelves, which are easy to fit, adjust, and remove to suit both your current and future requirements.
- The middle staging is made of toughened safety glass, which provides more room for seed trays and containers, and lets light through to the plants below.
- All of the shelves and staging are easily installed, and they are just as easy to remove: you can install as many, or as few shelves as you wish, and can change the combination of shelves and staging as often as you choose.
- The shelves fold flush to the side of the growhouse for easy storage, so that part of, or the entire space under glass can be utilised by tall plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, etc, or indeed any combination that suits your requirements.
- The two-tier watering system allows for easier, or automated, watering of all the plants inside your growhouse.
- Sliding glass doors provide a fantastic amount of ventilation to both the front and back of the growhouse. The entire front top section of the growhouse features sliding doors that can open from either side, or from both sides -allowing up to half of the glass to be open at once. This is also true of the bottom section, and of the back top and bottom sections.
- The glass roof sections can also be slid open for ventilation, these glass panels can be lifted out to provide further ventilation if required.
- 25-year guarantee on the aluminium framework.
- These are standard benefits of the Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouses, optional accessories, different sized growhouses, cold frames and value models are available.
Assembling the growhouse Frame
It took a full day to assemble and erect my Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse. The instructions are extremely comprehensive and are very easy to follow. It’s possible for one person to put this growhouse together themselves, but I would definitely recommend having someone else on hand to assist you with the steps during the main assembly of the frame, as it can be quite awkward to get everything balanced and aligned, before screwing the panels together.
If you’re unable to assemble your own growhouse, an installation service is available from Access Garden Products, the cost varies depending on the model you order, any accessories you require, and the distance the Access employees need to travel from their factory to reach you – please see Access Garden Products website for more details. Alternatively, if you live outside of the perimeter of the range where Access Garden Products will travel to install their growhouses and cold frames, you could find a local handy person, and arrange for them to assemble your growhouse for you. The instructions are clear and simple to understand, so the task is neither as daunting or as stressful as these types of undertakings have a tendency to be.
If you’re siting your growhouse in more of an exposed area, the classic growhouse can be bolted down to the ground to secure it in place, but as my growhouse is positioned in a sheltered spot, close to a tall fence, there’s no need to bolt it down. My Access Garden Products classic growhouse has been placed on top of level paving slabs, which have been especially laid in a formation that creates a solid, level area, which is a little wider than the entire outside frame of the growhouse.
Should you wish to redesign or reorganise your garden, you can easily move your growhouse and re-position it to suit your wishes. You can also take your Access Garden Products classic growhouse with you if you move home; the 4mm toughened safety glass helps to make this a far easier and less daunting task than it would be to move a glasshouse with regular glass panes!
I opted to have my Exbury classic growhouse colour coated, simply because my growhouse is sited in a prominent position within my small garden, and I much prefer the look of the colour coated growhouses. I was very tempted by 3 of the colour choices, but I settled on the Antique Ivory finish, which I am thrilled with – it’s a soft white. All of Access Garden Products classic growhouses’ aluminium frames have been designed and built to last – they come with a 25 year guarantee.
I particularly appreciate that Access Garden Products classic growhouses are built to last, as I don’t wish to replace my growhouse in future. I hope that my growhouse is a product that I will always benefit from using.
There are so many features of my Access Garden Products classic growhouse that I value and appreciate: the easy access doors, which glide open so easily, opening on both the upper and lower levels, at the front and at the back of the glasshouse. The doors allow for great ventilation, and also allow me to easily access the plants inside.
The Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse comes with an absolutely fantastic amount of openable windows as standard, to enable your classic growhouse to receive optimum ventilation on even the hottest of summer days. Both the top and bottom pairs of glass doors can be easily moved across to open, at both the front and back of the growhouse. The Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse features four pairs of glass doors in total. Every pair of glass doors that features on the Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse opens from either side, or from both sides at once if you prefer. The glass doors are easy to move across, they glide across to open smoothly and can be left open as you wish – from left just a fraction open, or up to half of the glass covering the front and back of the growhouse can be left open, and of course from either or both sides, and anything in between.
You don’t need to prop the doors open, there are no difficult latches or hooks to fasten, just simply open the glass doors as wide as you would like, and the doors will remain open until you close them. The panels of toughened safety glass in the roof section of this classic growhouse can also be moved across each other to ventilate the growhouse. These glass panes covering the roof can be lifted out completely if you wish, on very hot days. Shade covers are also available from Access Garden Products, which will be useful over the spring and summer months.
I am so grateful to have benefitted from the installation of 4 automated louvered windows to provide automatic ventilation at both sides of my Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse. These louvered windows were an optional extra, installed so that I can be confident that the plants inside my classic growhouse will receive ventilation when there’s no one on hand to open the sliding doors. If you’re looking at ordering your own glasshouse from any glasshouse company, I would advise that you install the maximum amount of ventilation that you can when you place your order, as this is not something that you’re able to go back and add retrospectively for most glasshouses. Many glasshouses do not benefit from the same degree of ventilation as the Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse provides as standard.
With the plentiful amount of ventilation available on the Access growhouse models, able bodied gardeners, who spend a lot of time in their garden, might not wish to add to the expense of their order. But as I am unable to be on hand to open the windows myself each day, the automatically opening louvred windows were an extra feature that was worth the additional expenditure for me.
The automated louvre windows are fitted on both sides of my growhouse, I have 2 sections of louvre windows, one at the top and one at the bottom, on either side of my growhouse – so 4 sections of louvre windows in total. The louvre windows have been set to open automatically when the temperature inside the growhouse reaches 18C (65F). To help to retain the heat, the louvred windows are set to close automatically when the temperature inside drops below 18C (65F). Consequently, the louvered windows can be seen almost constantly opening and closing throughout the day, which is ideal. The automated window openings help to ensure a regulated temperature, and provide a fresh, healthy circulation of air inside my growhouse throughout the year. On cold days during the wintertime, the louvre windows may only open a fraction, but this is especially beneficial, particularly during the winter months, when careful ventilation is required.
Self watering glasshouse!
Every Access Garden Products classic growhouse model, of every available size, all feature a watering system. The Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse has a two tiered watering system as standard, which makes watering the plants in both the upper and lower areas of my growhouse an easy task – a garden hose is easily connected, which drives the watering system.
Another added extra that for me was worth the investment, was an automated timer for my garden hose. The garden hose connects to the sprinkler system inside my classic growhouse. The timer was very easy to set up, it saves me the task of watering my plants inside my growhouse. It’s very easy to change the timer to alter your watering regime, to allow for the seasons, and the differing requirements of the plants you choose to grow inside your growhouse. With the timer and garden hose connected, even when you’re away from home, your plants inside your growhouse will be watered as often as you choose. Like many gardeners, I find watering plants difficult – watering cans are heavy, so a self watering glasshouse for me is an absolute dream come true! I feel so fortunate to have my growhouse! The sprinkler system can be sited on the left or right hand side of your classic glasshouse, whichever side is best suited to your garden, where your outside tap is, and any of your own particular requirements.
If you’re considering purchasing a growhouse and want to install your own automated watering system, my advice would be to set up your irrigation system and the timer, and then activate the timer manually to start the watering. Watch the sprinkler system as it operates; check your plants and seed trays, and your pots over to ensure that all of your plants received sufficient water, then make any adjustments as necessary – increasing or decreasing the watering duration, and fine tuning the sprinkler directions, to ensure the optimum in automated care for your plants.
Watering is an area where many gardeners go array, it’s very easy indeed to over water and many very good gardeners still make this mistake on occasion, especially so for glasshouse plants, which are entirely dependent on being watered by the gardener. Naturally, it’s also very easy indeed to under water, so it’s worth keeping a close check on your plants as you get used to having a glasshouse of your own, as both under watering and overwatering produce similar looking effects on your plants. If you have the option or choice, I would always recommend watering in the early morning, as opposed to watering in the evening.
Shelving and Staging
I appreciate the classic growhouse’s versatile shelves and staging. The central staging consists of 4 pieces of toughened safety glass, which easily lift in and out of the centre of the growhouse as required. As the staging is made of glass, it does not obscure light from reaching the lower part of the growhouse. This toughened safety glass is rated for up to 50kg (7.8 stone), which is plenty. This limit has not curtailed me at all, the combined weight of all of the pots that I have placed on top at one time has always been far below this limit. It is important that you do not go over the 50kg limit, and do not place too heavy a weight upon your glass staging.
8 extra wide seed tray shelves (made up of metal rails or rods) came with my classic growhouse as standard. The shelves are attached to the rear of the growhouse – there is a series of little holes on the rear vertical stays of the frame into which the hooks can be fitted, they are large enough to hold seed trays and pots, and can be adjusted into different positions to suit your requirements.
When more space is required, for example if you wish to grow a tall plant, that will grow into the upper reaches of the glasshouse, you can simply fold the shelves away easily – they fold down flush to the side of the growhouse. You can set up the shelves to suit your requirements and the plants you’re growing at the time – whether you choose to use one or all of the shelves, this is simple and straight forward to arrange. You can also buy shelf covers, which sit on top of the shelves, covering the gaps between the rails, creating a solid surface, which allows smaller pots to be placed on the shelves, these might otherwise fall between the rails, or may tip to one side of the rail or the other.
Toughened Safety Glass
I also appreciate the 4mm toughened safety glass that my Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse is constructed from. My regular readers will know that I am one of the clumsiest people on the planet. I regularly break things that others have deemed unbreakable, including my favourite glass terrarium, so the toughened glass of this mini glasshouse was both a necessity and an attraction for me, it really drew me to the Access Garden Products and gave me great confidence in receiving this incredibly generous gift.
So have any of my classic growhouse’s glass panels broken yet? Sadly, yes! At the end of October 2017, one of the two panes of glass that sits on the top of the roof of my growhouse bumped into the adjacent pane, as it was being opened and the glass was moved across. One of these panes of glass shattered, breaking into tiny pieces of rounded glass – it was very similar to a car windscreen when it shatters. Having broken numerous panes of glass in previous greenhouses I have owned, I can tell you that it is, as you would expect, much safer, quicker and easier to clear up broken toughened safety glass than regular greenhouse glass – there are no dangerous shards or sharp edges to this glass. The toughened safety glass is 4mm thick, the glass is very strong and resilient all over the pane, it is weakest at its edges.
Matthew, from Access Garden Products gave me a useful tip, which was to ensure that the outermost left and right panes of the 4 pieces of glass that make up the growhouse roof are on top of the panes of glass nearest the centre. Then when you want to slide the glass panes across, to open them for additional ventilation, reach in through the growhouse door and slide them from underneath – the action of slightly lifting them to slide will make it easier to open them and reduce the likelihood of them sticking or scraping. I hope this tip will help you too.
Access Garden Products offer a special insurance cover for the toughened safety glass for their classic growhouses, it’s currently £29 for 2 years, or to replace 6 panes of glass – whichever comes soonest. This glass protection insurance will replace your glass if it’s broken accidentally. As always, terms and conditions apply, please contact Access Garden Products for more information, as is this is not my area of expertise.
Heating your Growhouse
There’s no need to heat your growhouse – just the added protection of the growhouse glass is sufficient to grow a far wider range of crops than you might at first expect. Although, if you do wish to heat your growhouse, you can easily keep it frost free, or heat the growhouse to any temperature of your choosing over the winter or spring months with the right heater. Access Garden Products stock an electric fan heater – I haven’t tested this or indeed any heaters inside my growhouse as yet; currently I am using my growhouse as a cold growhouse without any additional heat.
The Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse is a great size for a small garden, there is room inside to start off lots of plants, such as: tomatoes, sweetcorn, celeriac, aubergines, cucumbers, peppers, chillies, okra, sweet potatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, French and runner beans, tomatillos, melons, herbs, and other fruit and vegetables that benefit from being started off undercover during spring. When the risk of frost has passed at the end of May, these fruit and vegetable plants can be hardened off and planted outside at your garden or allotment, leaving the full height of the glasshouse available for growing a few tomatoes, or aubergines, tomatillos, physalis, melons, or cucumbers to full size. Alternatively, you might prefer to start Cosmos, Zinnias, or other cut flowers off inside your growhouse, there are so many exciting options as to what plants you can grow!
Alpines, succulents, cacti, and other plants can be protected from the inclement weather throughout our British winters inside your growhouse, or indeed you could overwinter cuttings, seedlings, and other plants that would not survive without additional shelter, to maximise the display in your garden next year.
I realise that the Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse is an expensive investment and as such is out of reach for many people. But I am adding the Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse to my list of recommended gifts this year, as I know that many gardeners, particularly those with small gardens and a limited amount of outdoor space, will benefit greatly from investing in one of these classic growhouses to extend their growing season and the range of plants available to them. I also feel that with a few additional extras, such as the automated louvre ventilation windows, the automated watering system, and the optional installation, that this Access Garden Products classic growhouse becomes the perfect gift for disabled gardeners, gardeners who work long hours, or are regularly away from home due to work, travel or holidays.
Access Garden Products classic growhouses, mini greenhouses, and cold frames are all manufactured in the UK, these products all come with a 25 year framework guarantee. The Access Garden Products classic growhouses are available in a number of different sizes, lean-to mini greenhouses are also available, as are value models, tomato houses, cold frames, raised beds and cloches.
I am so looking forward to growing a wider range of plants, I am so excited by the possibilities of what I can grow now that I have my Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse! You’ll be able to follow my growhouse growing, and see how my Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse performs during my future outdoor trials.
You may be interested in some of the other trials I have conducted.
Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.
To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.
Sweet Pea Trial Reports
To read the results of my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
Scented Daffodil Trial Reports
To read the results of my 2018 Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2017 Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials
To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, my home, and garden, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………..
To visit the Access Garden Products website and find out more about their classic growhouses, please click here.
To read my review of the new features of the new BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read my review of Green & Blue Bee Bricks and Bee Blocks, please click here.
To read my review of Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty’s book No Dig Organic Home & Garden, where you’ll also find how to purchase tickets for Charles Dowding’s talk in Surrey, in March 2018, please click here.
To read my book review of Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, please click here.
To read the first instalment of my White Orchid Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read my book review of The English Roses by David Austin, please click here.
To read my book review of The Book of Orchids a life-size guide to six hundred species from around the world by Professor Mark Chase, Dr Maarten Christenhusz, and Tom Mirenda, please click here.
To read my book review of The Chinese Kitchen Garden by Wendy Kiang-Spray, please click here.
To read my review of Maxi Rootrainers from Haxnicks, please click here.