A NEW COMMUNITY GREENHOUSE
Dartmouth Green Partnerships is working with South Hams District Council on the replacement of the Dartmouth Community Greenhouse with a new structure which we hope will become an attractive feature of Royal Avenue Gardens and a community asset. It will become a Centre for Horticultural Excellence. We will be fund raising for the new greenhouse in 2015.
It will be sited on part on the old council depot, close to the original site, and the plan is for a pyramid shaped structure. The old greenhouse site is currently being cleared for extra car parking (early 2015). The land in front of it will continue to be used by DGP including raised beds for our demonstration potager and cut flowers. Until we can grow and shelter plants in the new greenhouse we are able to use a tunnel in a local nursery – for which we are very grateful. The vine is to be preserved outdoors, supported by a trellis along the hedge.
The old greenhouse had to be demolished in early 2013 as it was unsafe. For the past 10 years it had been used by Dartmouth in Bloom to cultivate plants for the benefit of the town and to house the plants of local residents who were in hospital or on holiday.
We used a temporary greenhouse of scaffolding and plastic sheeting to raise lots of plants in 2013, and to store plants over the winter.
The vine survived the changes and produced a good crop of grapes.
We planted up the town’s many hanging baskets with some help from local Brownies, and stored them in the greenhouse.prior to placing them around the town.
The storms of 2013 and the cost of scaffolding meant that the temporary greenhouse had to be taken down. In 2014 we managed to plant baskets and troughs by storing plants in a nearby nursery.
The Dartmouth Greenhouse was built in 1905 on the riverfront as part of the original layout of Royal Avenue Gardens, shortly after the area known as the ‘Newground’ was reclaimed and turfed. It can be seen on the old postcard above, along the front to the right of the moored paddle steamer.
The development of the grounds continued with flower beds, tree planting and gas-illuminations. In 1911 the present cast iron bandstand was built, considered at the time to be the finest in the South West. When first built the greenhouse had ‘fancy glass’ to the front. The centre portion was used as a conservatory for exotic plants and was open to the public. At the north end was what was erected as a potting shed and tool house, also housing the stokehole for the coke boiler. This is in what is now part of the Council depot.
The Greenhouse was originally used to grow the plants for the Gardens and flowers for the Council offices etc. The seed order for 1915 was 14 shillings! This use of the greenhouse (plus the other more recent greenhouse, now demolished) continued until just a few years ago.