Heating Your Greenhouse in Europe This Winter

Started by Bern, September 03, 2022, 09:59:17 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Bern asked where would be a good place in the USA for a "plant collection." The answer is that you pick your place, then you choose the plants that will do well there. When I left Alaska I chose western Oregon as a place with moderate seasons and a reliable water supply (though we're now about 65 days since the last rain). I've never heated my bulb collection, though I did cover it with microfoam row-cover sheets during severe cold snaps when I lived at a higher elevation. Now I put vulnerable container plants on the patio floor and cover them with the "mover's quilts" you can buy cheaply at discount hardware stores. These measures would probably bring most greenhouse subjects through the coldest temperatures that might occur in England. However, a severe winter may turn some people away from South African species and toward the more resilient plants of the Mediterranean and the western Americas.

Lee Poulsen

And the Washington Post just published this on how bad the Western US heatwave has been:

I know Europe has had similarly hot weather this summer too.

Has anyone lost any of their plants because of the excessive heat?
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m


Much of the hurricane vulnerability predictions by regular folks in Florida and the rest of the SE USA are based on the frequency of prior hurricanes making landfall in a particular location.  If you live anywhere along the Gulf or Atlantic coastlines, you can be impacted by a hurricane.  If a hurricane has hit a particular area in the past, but has not done so for a very long time, it might mean statistically that that area is due for one.  Hurricane season usually starts to wind down toward the end of November.  Just keep checking the National Hurricane Center's website before you go to see if there are any storms headed to where you are going.  The site is excellent. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/  There currently is one named hurricane in the Atlantic and two more are teeing up potentially to form additional ones.

David Pilling

When thinking about where to have a garden, I imagine islands off the West coast of England/Scotland, or the bit of England that pokes out into the Atlantic (Cornwall). They are frost free, and get rain.

Plants are not bothered by the modest heatwave we got here in the North West of England. I didn't enjoy it much though.

Does depend on the plants, the blue meconopsis will have moved a few miles further North this year.

Warm Summers bring with them more pests - caterpillars.


Jane is totally correct that the best approach is to pick your location and then choose the plants that will grow well there. I've spent a lot of time trying to coax along plants that don't do well in my climate zone. I've been looking at different locations around the US for a more permanent retirement home and I've had to give up on locating the "perfect" spot. There are challenges wherever I've looked.  It's either too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, and now too expensive! Proceed ahead cheerfully, roll with the punches, learn what you can, and enjoy the ride. 


Lee asked if anyone has lost plants to excessive heat. Of course. When I moved from about 1600 feet/500 m elevation down to about 120 ft above sea level, I could no longer grow the blue meconopsis David mentioned, and many of my prized alpine Ericaceae died. Almost all my bulbs are summer-dormant, so no problems there. On the other hand, as soon as it cools off a bit I'm going to plant a Telopea (Australian Proteaceae), and Zantedeschia rehmannii just flowered in the garden. You have to live with your place a year or two to understand what to plant where, and make microclimates, especially if you need to limit irrigation. And be prepared to lose some of your bets.


The US National Hurricane Center just released their new, interactive Storm Surge Risk Maps for Hurricane Categories 1 to 5.  This is an excellent tool.  It clearly shows that hurricane damage, especially storm surge, can occur many miles inland even if you are not directly impacted by a hurricane making landfall where you live. Interestingly, even Southern California can be affected by hurricanes. Many of the Atlantic hurricanes that don't make landfall on the US mainland make their way up to the North Atlantic and then impact the UK and parts of western Europe.  It appears that the current hurricane Earl will take this route.

"This national depiction of storm surge flooding vulnerability helps people living in hurricane-prone coastal areas. These maps make it clear that storm surge is not just a beachfront problem, with the risk of storm surge extending many miles inland from the immediate coastline in some areas. Storm Surge Risk Maps are provided for the US Gulf and East Coasts, Hawaii, Southern California, US territories - Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Additional mapped areas include Hispaniola and parts of the Yucatan Peninsula."


Robin Hansen

Interesting that these storms on the west coast are now being called "hurricanes". I forget the previous name which never made sense to me as even when we had the Columbus Day storm in the early 60s here on the Pacific Northwest coast it was, simply, a hurricane. It will be forever imprinted on my conscious brain.

Interesting also that the maps to Bern's link show no hurricane activity at all further north than southern California. I would suspect that we are somewhat more likely to have an occasional hurricane these days because of climate change.

Robin Hansen
Southwestern Oregon, smoky, hot, humid
Robin Hansen
President, PBS


Quote from: Robin Hansen on September 10, 2022, 10:14:25 AMInteresting that these storms on the west coast are now being called "hurricanes". I forget the previous name which never made sense to me as even when we had the Columbus Day storm in the early 60s here on the Pacific Northwest coast it was, simply, a hurricane. It will be forever imprinted on my conscious brain.

Interesting also that the maps to Bern's link show no hurricane activity at all further north than southern California. I would suspect that we are somewhat more likely to have an occasional hurricane these days because of climate change.

Robin Hansen
Southwestern Oregon, smoky, hot, humid

From National Geographic...
QuoteThe storms that rage across the western Pacific Ocean (in the Eastern Hemisphere) are called typhoons, while the ones spawned in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific (the Western Hemisphere) are called hurricanes. Those born in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean are known as cyclones.

in mild, humid San Francisco...where there is a slight possibility of precipitation from the remnants of a hurricane.


Robin, many of the folks I've known in Florida say they never have hurricanes where they live. But, if you check the history, most of the time you'll find it is not true. It must be some form of denial. Anyway, for the people living in Panama City near Tyndall Air Force Base to say this takes denial to a new level. In October 2018, Mexico Beach, Florida, only 15 miles from Tyndall, was walloped with a Cat 5 hurricane in October 2018.  This was the first Cat 5 to hit the US mainland since Katrina in August 2005 (I believe). Perhaps people living in these areas deal with the danger by denying its existence. I wonder if the same is true for earthquakes with people living in California?  Anyway, if you look at the storm surge map and find Tyndall Air Force Base, and then click on the hurricane category levels, you can see what happens as the storms become more intense. But don't worry about it, they will have evacuated long before a dangerous storm hits the base.

I hope that the remnants of hurricane Earl dissipate and don't reach the UK later in the week to discomfit the English gardeners. 

Also, I checked the temps in Berlin for the next week.  It looks like the average high temp will be about 65F (18C) and the average low temp will be about 52F (11C).  At these temps folks will be turning on the heat in their houses. People and institutions with greenhouses will be considering heating them at night with the colder weather. With low temps such like this, we won't have to wait until winter to hear what's going on with heating bills and greenhouses in Europe.

And finally, my favorite name for these types of storms is Typhoon. 

Robin Hansen

Have to say I'm still chuckling over hurricane denial, which is quite different from zonal denial...

It was 93 here yesterday with smoke and while plants wilted, mostly the more newly planted ones, everything responded to a little water reviver. In terms of good growing conditions, I have to say I've lived a number of places in Oregon and this area - Coquille Valley, 12-14 miles upriver from the Pacific - is the best yet.

However, considering I'm a member (and have been since birth) of the James G. Blaine Society, I will echo Gov. Tom McCall's famous words, along the lines of "you're welcome to visit, but please go home". Not the exact quote, but never mind.

And yes, I"m sticking to hurricanes - they don't seem to care which ocean they originate from and they still make an incredible mess and create long-term damage.

Well, the rest of our lifetimes promise to be interesting, no matter what. In the meantime, the water bill increased substantially but our chances of losing power here from shutdowns to avoid fire danger are nil.
Robin Hansen
President, PBS


Quote from: Bern on September 10, 2022, 05:52:00 PMI wonder if the same is true for earthquakes with people living in California?
Not much earthquake denialism here...mostly people will recite where they were/what they were doing for every major EQ they've experienced.

As to the exchange rate, buying geophyte books from NHBS in the UK is a bit less painful than usual.

There are pluses and minuses in every place to garden...the cold foggy gale here is a challenge, but if I put fog catchers on the roof I could come close to water independence.

cool and humid today, thanks to remnants of Kay plus high wildfire smoke


Do you believe we're hearing the full story about the energy situation in Europe from media sources in the US?  I admit to being a bit skeptical about what I'm hearing and reading.  On the other hand, when I try to dig deeper and find sources that are unbiased, I encounter people making worst case scenario predictions. Here's an example from an internet site that is tracking the war in Ukraine and the energy situation in Europe. I'm also skeptical about the following predictions.

QuoteSGM World News @SGMWorldnews - 10:13 UTC · 7 Sep 2022
BREAKING: 40 CEOs of European metal producers have wrote an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen and the European Commission warning of an "existential threat" to industry as power prices surge.
"No steel smelter, no taxes from steel smelters and their workers. No steel smelter, no payback of credit given to it. The big banking losses coming now will cause another severe banking crisis. Less money for the state means less pensions and healthcare. This is ruinous for European states and their inhabitants."
QuoteTuomas Malinen @mtmalinen - 8:53 UTC · Sep 7, 2022
I am telling you people that the situation in #Europe is much worse than many understand.
We are essentially on the brink of another banking crisis, a collapse of our industrial base and households, and thus on the brink of the collapse of our economies.
We are also totally at the mercy of the authorities, and we have very little knowledge what they have planned.
Will they be able to stop the onset of the banking crisis, yet again? I don't know, but I am doubtful. 🤷�♂️🤔

At least for now, I'm going to wait and watch to see if a more consistent story develops as time goes by.  If the energy situation worsens in Europe as the cold weather sets in during the Autumn and Winter, it will be plain for all to see and the story won't be able to be embellished.  And I got interested in this initially because I wondered if plant people in Europe were going to be able to afford to heat their greenhouses in Europe this winter.

David Pilling

Mr Putin will have instructed his Troll army to point out the worst that might happen - can't take at face value what is in the comments. There is scope to stir up popular unhappiness.

OTOH Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck was asked whether he expected a wave of insolvencies at the end of this winter. "No, I do not. I can imagine that certain industries will simply stop producing for the time being," he said. Citing bakeries as an example.


I don't think we know. Putin might lose his job, war over, return to normal. It might be a good Winter (warm with lots of wind to keep the turbines turning), or just very cold with no wind.

If peace does not break out, the armies will soon dig in for Winter. It is then all about how much damage the energy weapon inflicts.

Spring 2023 we can do it all again, and so on.

Big winners USA and China. Losers Ukraine, EU/UK etc.

Russia is in the winner camp at the moment, when it joins the losers we may see some progress.


I agree completely with you about not taking what's in the news at face value. That's why it is good to have sources that have more direct information that's reliable.  The comments from the German Economics Minister are quite interesting.  Would he really order bakeries to stop producing this winter?  Did anyone ask him what people were going to eat if they can't purchase bread?  Did he respond "let them eat cake?" 

It is also interesting to read your comments about the USA and China being big winners in this and the losers being Ukraine, EU, and UK.  There was an article with a catchy title being circulated on various internet news sites recently.  It was written by economist Michael Hudson and the title is: America Defeats Germany for the Third Time in a Century.  Despite the title being sure to tick some people off, it was a cogent piece of work.

I have a more direct news source locally that I sometimes ask about what's going on in Ukraine.  He's a Ukrainian immigrant that left there before the current troubles.  I run into him at the local park where I take my daily walks.  He speaks almost no English and I speak zero Ukrainian, but he has a cell phone with Google translator and with that magic we're able to converse a bit.  In short, he thinks Zelensky and his cronies are crooks that have stolen money and stashed it away in western banks so they'll have it when they go into exile later.  He hates it that "nazis and nationalists" came into power after the 2014 coup.  And he believes that there should have been a negotiated settlement to avoid the war.  He's a skilled handyman - carpenter, electrician, ceramic tile, etc.  He showed me photos of some of his remodeling jobs and they were very good.

Finally, on the weather front in this hemisphere, the news is that the remnants of the Pacific Typhoon Merbok will slam into Alaska soon and a possible Atlantic Hurricane Fiona may be up by me by next Friday.  It's always something.....