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Farewell then my beloved Venlo . . .

PUBLISHED: 14:36 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

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WHAT a superlative week so far, the biggest week for Lullingstone and The World Garden surely to date. It s with humongous eye moistening excitement that I bring you the news that the construction of the spanking new temperate house is firmly underway.

WHAT a superlative week so far, the biggest week for Lullingstone and The World Garden surely to date.

It's with humongous eye moistening excitement that I bring you the news that the construction of the spanking new temperate house is firmly underway.

As I write this column - at the crack of dawn on Tuesday - the foundations are already in for this exciting structure. And the Keder Greenhouse team have only been here a day already.

But the work really started over last weekend when it was with great sadness that the awesome crew of Lullingstone helpers and I took down piece by piece the old Venlo wooden glasshouse. This rickety glasshouse had to be replaced to make way for the fresh and funky new acquisition.

The Dutch Lite Venlo was a glasshouse that I erected when I was a teenager. Together with granny (who's very excited about the change), books and the internet the Venlo has been my self-taught inspirational teacher, propelling me head first into the world of plants.

He or indeed she feels like a friend; we've had highs and lows together. Shed a tear, bantered endlessly and had a good laugh. And although the conversations, tears and laughs were one-way traffic I've felt that this dear 20ft x 40ft structure that's been regularly mentioned in the Green Man column over the years was alive with horticultural zest.

There to protect my babies when naughty Jack Frost came calling or a fearsome arctic chill tried fruitlessly to sneak under the creaky glass.

Perhaps I should get out more and visit something called a pub but The Venlo has allowed me in a self-taught fashion to germinate my passion for plants whilst experimenting on the horticultural edge with a saucy range of exotic delights.

Oh well, down it came in a flash and the only things now remaining are rare shrubby tender specimens planted in the ground, once covered by the Venlo, that are now experiencing their first breeze, rainfall and near frost of last night. It's all going to be a close call so let's hope the structure will be erected in time before my frost tender babies get nipped! Not much sleep over the next few days, it's simply all too exciting!

Next week in the Green Man: The Temperate House goes up!

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