My Father's Garden: Greenhouse

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Greenhouse is another chapter from R J Dent's novel-in-progress, My Father's Garden.

Submitted: April 25, 2016

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Submitted: April 25, 2016

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My Father's Garden: Greenhouse

by R J Dent

 

1: Frame

 

Several lengths of silver angle-iron had been in the garden for over a week before my father acknowledged their existence.

– Ah, yes. I’d better put that together, he said cryptically, one morning.

Later on, he had assembled several lengths of the angle-iron into a cube-shaped frame.

– What are you making, dad?

– Assembling.

– What are you assembling, dad?

– A greenhouse. With a gable roof.

– Are you going to grow anything in it?

– No, I thought I’d leave it empty for years, and then knock it down.

– Oh. What for?

– Not really. I’m going to grow tomatoes in it.

– Yay!

– Right, so now you know, let me get on with this.

Dismissed, I went off to explore the rest of the garden. I found my brother and told him about the greenhouse – and about the tomatoes.

By lunchtime, our father had added the roof struts to the greenhouse frame and was laying slabs as a floor.

– Where’s the glass? my brother asked.

– It’s not having glass, my father answered.

– What’s it going to have then?

– Well think. What else goes in frames?

– Cucumbers.

– Paintings.

– Doors.

– Stories.

– Springs.

– Interior design articles.

– Snooker balls.

– Lenses.

– Wool yarn or cotton thread.

– Interlocks for railway signals, points and switches.

– Yes, yes, yes. That’s enough.

– Innocent people.

– Well, you two are certainly not innocent. Call that wit? You could be prosecuted under the Trades Descriptions Act.

– Okay, we give up. What are you going to put in the frames?

– Plastic.

– Plastic?

– Yes, plastic.

– Not glass?

– No. I think we’ve established it won’t be glass. My money’s on plastic.

– Why plastic?

– Because it’s stronger, lighter, cheaper, doesn’t smash – and a whole heap of other reasons.

– Did you find a cheap job lot somewhere?

– I may have.

We nodded.

So, glass was out; plastic was in. I was having trouble keeping up with greenhouse glazing trends.

 

 

2: Windows

 

It was a few weeks before the plastic windows arrived. One morning they were just there, looking polished and new as they leaned against the shed.

My father immediately started work fitting them.

Each window measured two feet by two feet and there were three frame squares from the floor to the edge of the roof.

I went over to watch the greenhouse grow.

My father started with the lowest empty frames; the ones that were at ground level. He fitted the first level panes all the way around the base of the greenhouse, and then fitted one plastic window into the door. And then he stopped.

– That’s that job done, he said, with evident satisfaction.

– What about the other windows? I asked.

– What other windows?

– The ones that are missing. The empty frames – shouldn’t they have glass… I mean plastic, in them?

– Why?

– Because it’s a greenhouse.

– Meaning?

– Don’t greenhouses need to retain heat?

– I don’t think so, no.

– Isn’t that why they’re also known as hothouses?

– Are you sure of your facts?

– Not one hundred percent, no.

– The lower panes are a windbreak. I don’t need any other panes.

– Oh.

– Tomatoes just need to be protected from the wind. They don’t need heat. The panes are two feet high; tomatoes grow to about two feet in height, ergo, I don’t need any other panes in this greenhouse as the ones in it are more than adequate for the job.

Having explained his greenhouse glazing logic to me, my father went into the shed, no doubt to get something that would help him begin his next project – whatever that might prove to be.

 

*

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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