Greenhouses: What you didn't know - Nelly Hall, Creative Director Alitex
May 17, 2023
We have been working with makers of gorgeous glasshouse and greenhouses Alitex, and have been so inspired by their expertise in all things grown. So we caught up with Nelly Hall, Founder and Creative Director and picked her brains about greenhouses...
What are they used for? Do you have some examples of surprising ways they’ve been used
Surprisingly, quite a few different uses beyond the obvious! I have to confess my favourite use is always growing and creating a plant filled haven with seating to be able to enjoy the space fully. We have built greenhouses that have been used as artists studios, kitchens, retreats, yoga spaces, restaurants, a home to tortoises – and butterfly collections.
What do most people use as floorings?
Generally simple stone flooring with no fuss. It is probably not an area of the greenhouse build that people give that much thought too.
What is your favourite project?
I really love the greenhouse at the Limewood hotel, it is stunning. It has a large central section that houses a huge olive tree with a table built around it for lunches etc – we had the build the greenhouse around the olive tree! In either ‘wing’ of the greenhouse it is full of veg, herbs and salads that go straight to the kitchens on a daily basis. It is the perfect mix of practical and sociable use.
Limewood Hotel. Image: Amy Murrell 2017
How much of the year can you use a greenhouse?
All year round! Solar gain inside the greenhouse when the sun comes out is significant and if you add a heater you can potter in there all year round. Good ventilation and shading in the summer is also essential to keep it manageable.
Do some people only use them as garden rooms?
If you mean not really for growing, then yes. One of our customers has no plants in hers but uses it as an event space and wedding venue. It is a blank canvas that comes alive with the personality of each event. On a smaller scale, sometimes they are a sanctuary to escape or entertain with a table and chairs and a few choice display plants.
Any top tips on growing for beginners?
Embrace seeds! They are the best and most rewarding thing to do in your greenhouse. For a few pounds you have so much potential in a small packet. Give it a good read the germination instructions as they do vary. But my top tip is go buy seeds and get started!
To read more about our collaboration and Greenhouse Edit, a curated collection of tiles that we feel are perfectly suited to inside outdoor spaces.