September - December 2003
Because of the rebuilding of our closed veranda we got beneath it extra space (20m²), which we wanted to turn into a tropical greenhouse, especially for our poisoned dart frogs. During the rebuilding we took this already into account, like a waterproof ceiling, at 2 sides’ sun preventing thermo pane windows with ventilation strips and at the bottom, floor heating. This spring we made the floor and the 2 walls waterproof and after the summer we finally started arranging the greenhouse. We wanted to build a beautiful little cascade with some little pools and small streams at several levels and a little pond. This was quite a hell of a job. First we put rubber foil at the bottom, on the rubber foil cellular concrete and on top of this roof mate. We carved out the material and shaped it finally several times with flevopol and tile-glue, in which we put at the top layer some pigment and peat. We also used rocks and substrate for a more natural look. This took us quite some time, 10 weeks. When we finely thought we are finished, it turned out there was somewhere a leak. Fortunately we found it easily and could we fix it. At the walls we put wooden laths on which we put solid plasticized wire. We can place plants at the wires. In our old tropical greenhouse (which is still in use), we put mats of coconut with pockets in which fitted the plants perfectly. This looked nice, but due to the high atmospheric humidity the pockets started to tear up within 2-3 years. Therefore we choose now a more solid structure. But when the foundation was ready, things went fast. We put a sprinkler installation at the ceiling (Gardena), otherwise we had to use that many spray nozzles and pipes, which would make it very expensive. A room of this size full with plants and floor heating, needs a lot of water. In our old greenhouse we had already a sprinkler installation with a thermostat tap, which worked fine. So we could link up with this system. A few weeks ago we put sand and peat at the bottom. We still had some old tree trunks in our garden and we drove several times to a garden centre for a whole bunch of plants. We also took some special plants out of our old tropical greenhouse. We went to the forest to pick up some bags with leaves, which cover now a large part of the bottom. The plants still have to root, but hopefully they will grow that fast as in our old tropical greenhouse, within a year the walls were fully covered. When we picked up the leaves at the forest, there was a little layer of snow, but when we spread out the leaves in our greenhouse, you still saw many insects. We put many jars full with fruit flies into the greenhouse, also many springtails, tropical sow-bugs, some other tiny insects and fruit for their nourishment. Now, after a couple of weeks, it looks like if the greenhouse has plenty of nourishment. So finely time for the real residents!