I was a somewhat reluctant Potting Shed owner initially. My old and much-loved cedar greenhouse had served me well over the years and I had adapted it to meet my needs perfectly – or so I thought!!! It had been my sanctuary, seeing me happily through the years of bringing up 3 boys, running a nursery, acquiring a passion and obsession for playing tennis and then running a tennis coaching business. Many a bracket, hook and screw had been added here and there as I learnt to use small power tools and nurtured my independent streak. The cedar wood was so forgiving. Losing myself in a simple project was always therapeutic and re charged my batteries.
Married to a joiner for over 40 years, it would always have been much easier and infinitely quicker to ask for help with projects, but that was not my way. The results were often less than aesthetically pleasing but usually solved a problem or added more storage – aah…. storage – that’s another blog sometime for sure!!
The day came when even I had to admit that the tired but beautiful cedar wood wasn’t going to last much longer. I had resisted long enough and had to learn to embrace change. A cold, stark aluminium greenhouse was never going to tick any of my boxes so my boys at Sutton Sheds promised they’d build me a Potting Shed and I could design it!!!
This was my chance to encompass some other developing interests and provide an environment to nurture them in too!!! The adrenaline was running, and my Potting Shed design started to take shape. Yes, I needed space to grow seeds and propagate cuttings with plenty of light and warmth, but it could also look charming with rows of terracotta pots, memorabilia I’ve collected over the years, dried flowers and herbs hanging from trusses…my mind was racing.
Sutton Sheds confirmed the back wall, roof and floor could be insulated and the front and side would have as much glass as possible. As soon as any sun was out, the shed would warm up quickly and my rows of terracotta pots, in the insulated shed, would hold some of that heat for a while. Guttering along the back would feed rainwater into a water butt out of site at the rear but within easy reach of the Potting Shed. Internally, a wide bench along the window side was standard to the Sutton Sheds design and they were happy to provide a bench along the back wall to house those lovely propagating bins full of different composts that they always use on the gardening programmes. The space below the benches would be ideal for storing tools/watering cans/rhubarb forcers/cold frames/strawberry nets/ etc. etc. I was so excited about working out the best way to store my multigenerational collection of small trowels/forks/knives etc. – I’m sure the men at Sutton Sheds would have sorted that for me too, but no way was I letting anyone else do that!! My improving skills with small power tools and access to an unlimited choice of brackets and fixings online, meant I would be in my element doing this. Oh, and I’d save many of the fixings from my old greenhouse to reuse, just for memories sake.
So – Potting Shed aspect sorted – it would meet all the needs my greenhouse did and more – but I had another idea….what would the boys at Sutton Sheds think to building an extension to the Potting Shed to provide a little annex for my crafts…..Well they came up trumps – it could have its own access doors from outside but internally it would be one space with two specific areas.
After lots of scrappy drawings by me, Luke at Sutton Sheds came up with a decent sketch to allow me to see the proportions. We measured and deliberated for a long time – because inevitably, no
shed is ever big enough, but between us we eventually came up with a wonderful building plan that fitted neatly up to my husband’s workshop.
Sutton Sheds recommended a sub-contractor to build the base and electricity was wired across too.
The building only took the men half a day to put up and then another day to insulate and line. It surpassed my expectations. It really is a strong and sturdy build with good sized timbers and bearers not far apart. Plenty of wood to attach things to…..and so my fun began in earnest.
The Potting Shed first, so that I could unpack all my greenhouse treasures that had been stored away. I installed shelves along the back wall from reclaimed timber, considering the size of the pots I wanted to store as I went along. Hooks in the ceiling to over-winter hanging baskets, a hanging rail from an off-cut branch of a silver birch tree, screws and brackets for my collection of old garden tools and utensil. A collection of clear old tennis ball containers lined up neatly along the back of the potting bench and fitted perfectly under the window. These would house seeds, string, tent pegs, labels, screws, nails, hooks, markers etc. etc.
The crafting annex was purposely sized at the design stage, to fit a no-longer-needed-in-the-house, big old oak desk. My husband was commissioned to make a dresser to fit over it ( I needed it to look better than my attempts would have been) and my crafting station was complete. Who knew an oak desk would paint up so well – even the leather surface. It perfectly houses drills, sanders, paints, etc. etc.
I tend to dabble in crafts – the excitement of doing something for the first time and seeing how it works, often doesn’t last and I rarely perfect a craft. My Potting and Craft Shed has been witness to attempts at candle making, die cutting, stone painting, fairy house making, furniture painting to name a few. I inherited a vice from my late father-in-law and love to ‘mend’ things!!
As life moved on, and grandchildren became a huge part of my life, my Potting and Craft Shed adapted to a space to share crafts and growing with them too – no need to worry too much about the mess, and easy to walk away and shut the door. Many a wonderful day has been spent with them creating concoctions in their nearby mud kitchen while I potter in my Shed.
Yes, I grow most of my annuals from seed in the Potting Shed and propagate far more cuttings than I can ever use but my Potting Shed is far, far, more than that. On sunny but cold days in winter its an absolute haven for an outside loving girl to escape to – sometimes to repair toys or paint garden ornaments but always to feel happy and lost in a project. Don’t hesitate to add a Potting Shed to your life!!