New greenhouse benches

You may remember back in June that one set of benches in our home greenhouse collapsed.

It was a mess. Fortunately, there wasn’t much damage.

L thought it would be easier if I could find replacement shelves at a local box store. Unfortunately, none of the premanufactured options fit the bill. So, I spent a couple weekends building a set this fall. 

I used scrap planks, cut them into 2″ wide strips on the table saw, and then assembled everything together with wood screws. Afterwards, I stained the wood with preservative and stapled on 1/4 inch mesh. Here is the finished result.

I decided to go ahead and replace the benches on the other side of the greenhouse while I was at it. I figured if the one set had already collapsed, it was only a matter of time until the other set did too. It was a good thing, as the second set disintegrated as I was taking it out of the greenhouse. Here is the completed project.

The scent of wood preservative is still quite strong. It reminds me of the smell of pine tar on a warm summer day while walking through a neighborhood of wooden houses in Visby, a medieval city on the island of Gotland in Sweden.

Wooden houses treated with pine tar in Visby, Sweden
Visby, Sweden (8/30/2018)

Elsewhere in the garden, our Azara microphylla is looking a bit sparse, which is a shame. The tiny little yellow powder puff flowers emit a lovely chocolatey scent in spring. I wonder if this means it is going to die or whether it will recover? I’ve got a few rooted cuttings planted elsewhere in the garden as backups if they manage to survive the winter.

Aleuria aurantia, the orange peel fungus, popping up from the roots of one of the Dougfir trees we cut down years ago. It’s nice to see vibrant color when most everything else outside seems gray and drab.

The unidentified mushroom from a few posts ago opened up.

Yellow, red, orange, and brown fall leaves contrasting with the blue of our groundcover juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’). Bucketloads of weeds are germinating everywhere with the onset of our fall rains. Can you spy stinky Bob (Geranium robertianum)?

Hint - lower left

Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is at its best color-wise. I’m glad to see some warm colors this time of year. The photos don’t do it justice.

I was pleasantly surprised at the color on the European beech (Fagus sylvatica) in late November, especially with the dark green Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ as a backdrop.

Thanks to Dancing Oaks Nursery, I found a replacement for my golden chinkapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla) that died a few months ago. They have a bunch of this hard-to-find native in stock and I am so happy to have found some. Can’t wait until that golden color on the undersides of the leaves develops more fully. Fingers crossed that it survives!

I’ll leave this “short” post with a photo of a camellia blossom I found while walking around Portland a few weeks ago. Neither of our camellias at home have set bud this year, so it was nice to see one in bloom.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Tracy

    Fantastic greenhouse benches, I will be stealing your plan. I have a chaotic system of shelves and tv trays that will not hold up for long. Thank you! I found your blog this morning from DangerGarden’s post.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Welcome aboard! Glad you found the bench design useful. I may be adding another set of cross supports underneath the 1/4″ hardware cloth. The mesh is just a little bit too slack for heavier pots and might sag over time.

  2. Those benches! Great work, they look amazing and sturdy. Alas, stinky Bob is an evil weed….sneaking into the corners where it thinks no one is looking…

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      I’m just glad stinky Bob is so easy to pull up compared to some of our more pernicious weeds.

  3. danger garden

    Nice bench work! We walked thru the always interesting aisles at City Liquidators last weekend and I was fantasizing about bringing home several more metro shelving units for plant use in the basement and garden item storage garage. Your wood version is so much classier.

    Your stinky Bob photo reminds me that I saw it coming up somewhere in the garden recently and made a mental note to go back and eliminate, but now I’ve forgot where it was…

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Then, I count myself very lucky that I can walk out into the yard and easily spot thousands of weeds without having to hunt for them at all. It’s a veritable bonanza of weed abundance! If anyone out there ever needs any, I am willing to share…

  4. Kris P

    Nicely done with the greenhouse shelves! I’m obsessed with greenhouses, even if it’s arguable that they’re not necessary in my climate. Maybe I can find a spot for a cold frame to assist with seedlings and cuttings…I was surprised to discover that you also have a Geranium weed. I don’t have that one but Geranium incanum is an inherited pest I can’t get rid of. I love the bracken fern and the orange peel fungus made me laugh – fungi are so surprising!

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      It was a childhood dream to have a greenhouse. Even though it’s a little kit, I’ve gotten years of use out of it. So nice to have a place to start seedlings and to pay closer attention to things.
      We’ve got three Geranium weeds in the yard, Geranium lucidum is the most abundant, making dense green, smothering carpets. Stinky Bob is quite a bit less prolific, and then we’ve got Geranium molle here and there. Geranium incanum is a pretty one, but anything that prolific becomes a liability very quickly.

  5. hb

    Excellent job on the shelves and your greenhouse looks great!

    Many beauties in your garden as well, even in December. The Beech is particularly eyecatching.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      It is nice to have something to do and see out in the garden, even in December. The greenhouse helps a lot!

  6. Anna K

    Excellent handiwork, Jerry – the benches look great! I think your idea of adding another crossbar to reinforce the mesh is a good one. Soil in pots is always heavier than I think it’s going to be, it seems. I’m enjoying all the vibrant fall colors out there, but try as I might, I never seem to be able to replicate that luminous glow in photographic form. Not sure why – I keep trying.

    When did you visit Gotland? I love that island…

  7. Botanica Chaotica

    Thanks for the reaffirmation. Will definitely add another crossbar once we get back from our travels over the holidays. It is hard to replicate luminous glows in photography – I end up having to tweak them a little bit in a photo-editing software package that I have to get them close to what it actually looks like in real life.
    I was in Gotland 5 years ago now, back in 2018. It is a magical place. I had so much fun visiting all the medieval churches and going to the windmills.

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