A Room For All Seasons: How an Alitex greenhouse creates a wonderful space to enjoy all year round

In her Hampshire garden, Joanne Edmonds has worked with Alitex to create a tropical paradise where she relaxes, entertains and indulges her passion for exotic plants. She spoke to Giles Kime.

What inspired your decision to commission an Alitex greenhouse? 

A few years ago we visited the Palm House at Kew on a freezing day in January and felt as though we were on holiday in a tropical country. The experience made me want to visit Costa Rica and I came back with the idea of creating a space inspired by my love of both Kew and also some of the fascinating rainforests we visited.

How did you choose the style and location?

We live in a period house, so the Tatton from Alitex’s National Trust Greenhouse Collection complements it perfectly. The design, details and construction have a wonderfully authentic feel and is sympathetic to the setting. Our garden is in a valley in the South Downs and is dominated by an arboretum that we have restored, so both these factors dictated the location.

Jo Mansfield in her greenhouse

Joanne Edmonds tending orchids in her greenhouse.

Which varieties of plant do you grow?

I grow a mix of tropical, sub tropical and temperate plants. I love the fact that many varieties grow in the Amazon. For me, a major focus is orchids but I’ve grown a mix of everything from date palms to bananas. The temperature is around 18 degrees and I add humidity by soaking the floor with water in the morning. Even in a greenhouse, there’s an opportunity to create microclimates with the shade of larger plants and also the plant shelves. Proximity to heaters and the porch create different conditions for all sorts of different varieties.

How do you use the space? 

At 5 metres long and 4 metres wide, I have a wonderful, scented space in which to relax, work and entertain. It’s warm in winter and in the summer heat reflecting blinds moderate the temperature for the benefit of both humans and plants.

Alitex greenhouses

Has it changed the way you use your garden? 

Not only has it created a wonderful place to spend time with family and friends but also allows me to enjoy our garden all year round.

 Masters of Glass

  • Alitex are makers of the finest bespoke aluminium greenhouses and conservatories in the world.
  • Based in Petersfield, Hampshire, the family-run company was founded in 1952.
  • Alitex have exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 1960, winning numerous noteworthy accolades.
  •  Alitex is proud of their relationships and endorsements from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the National Trust.
  • Alitex has worked with the National Trust for many years. The National Trust Greenhouse Collection was founded over 14 years ago after the Trust approached Alitex to create a collection of greenhouses offering the best growing environment.

Alitex greenhouses