I took a little trip last weekend to visit my parents. They live in a small town in Alberta. Not more than a few blocks from their cute little house is an old greenhouse. It has been there at least 35 years.
This greenhouse was the labor of love for a lady named June Leece. She worked her little fingers to the bone to create, run, and maintain this place. She lived in a little house right next door. I can imagine how much she must have enjoyed it! What I would not give for a double dome greenhouse this size!
One lonely day several years ago, June went to her greenhouse to do her gardening, and had a massive heart attack. She passed away amongst the plants in her greenhouse.
Her children, having no interest in the greenhouse business, returned to this place only long enough to close it down, and it sits abandoned since. It was for sale for a while, but no one wanted to venture into the greenhouse business.
I remember as a teenager, driving past and thinking that this place looked so inviting to me…never knowing that I one day would long to have a place like it. A couple of years ago, I once again was drawn to this place. I was distressed at how run down it looked…and almost angry that anyone would let it go so far down hill. It has been on my mind off and on ever since…and I have been just dying to go inside and look around.
One day last summer I decided to take a little venture across the alley to peek inside. I bugged my Dad to find out who the current owner is, so that I could have permission to enter. It appears that someone has been slowly tearing down the back offices and out-buildings…and I just wanted a little look before it was gone forever.
Wainwright Alberta is a small town, and it wasn’t hard for my Dad to track down the owner of this place. He got permission not only for me to go inside…but to take whatever I wanted from the greenhouse, yard, anything!
I was so excited…that I drove like a maniac to get there…and could hardly wait to get my chance to go inside. I remembered what I had seen through the windows last summer, and was interested in getting an up close look at the behind the scenes view of a real commercial greenhouse. I have been in many a greenhouse… but never been one on one like I was this weekend. I never expected it to affect me quite the way it did either.
The next day came, and I was ready to go! I got all ready, grabbed Grammie and away we went…my son in tow. The snow was deep…(and Grammies legs are short) so we went to the front doors only to see that the second of the two domes was starting to fall…
It just looks so darned sad! I get a lump in my throat just looking at it!
This is the side view of the first of the two domes. This is the one we went into first.
It is all cleaned out…except for a little garbage…a lot of wool blankets, and some junk. All that is left of the actual business in this dome was the staging, the heating/water pipes…and the heater.
Lots of gunk and mildew on the roof…
I walked around in here and found myself imagining it all filled with plants…the smells and the blooms…the peaceful sound/feeling…
Do you see that first post? ya…well it appears that it is all that is holding up the entire structure anymore. It really doesn’t seem to be in a very steadfast position now does it? one false move….and we are in big trouble!!! We better not bump that post!
I walked around looking at everything…hoping to maybe gain some ideas or insight into how I might make my greenhouse a little better or more efficient…after all…this was once a thriving business…there had to be some good mechanics here to make it worthwhile…right? Well…there wasn’t much left for me to learn from…so I just snooped around, and let my imagination go.
These were stacked so neatly…I just had to look inside…
They were filled to the brims with plant tags! Hundreds of different colors and varieties!
Amongst all the dirty, moldy wood….was a shelf…amazingly clean, displaying this brand. It struck me how much thought someone put into each and every thing in this place at one time. I wonder if that company is still in existence?
There was a kitchen area in the back…sink, cupboards etc…plastic flowers, and vases on the counter…more plant tags…and a few little Christmas ornaments, and nic-nacs. I decided to move over to the other side…where I had seen a bunch of other things last summer that I was interested in learning about…But…
…when I got to the second greenhouse…I was greeted with this sight. I nearly burst into tears.
Remember when we got there and the front part of the wall was leaning in…well it was because the roof has caved in under the weight of the snow this winter.
See those 2x4’s sticking straight out? they were the support braces …ya…when I was here last, this part was still standing and it had pots and trays, and other garden paraphernalia…it’s all buried now!
Even seeing it now, makes my heart sink!
I wanted to try to go in…but Grammie was having no part of it…and since she IS my mom…I suppose I had to listen…(but only because my son was there…otherwise I would have tried to see more…)
I wonder if it was loud when it fell in…I am standing in the old boiler room…this is the roof that collapsed!
Disappointed that I could go no further…I decided to walk out back.
There is a vintage chrome table and chairs there in the yard…they are miraculously would have loved to have them…but they are frozen to the ground…so maybe after the spring melt…when I come back to get…
These wonderful old windows…(which are also frozen into the ground…and surrounded by two feet of snow!) I think the chair can stay here…hahaha Grampie might be nice and pick them up for me some time. After all they do live right close by!
As we left the greenhouses…I had to turn back several times…I don’t know why I felt so sad about this place. I didn’t know that lady…and yes I love my greenhouse…but still it just affected me. Maybe it is the way her dream ended…with her tragic death that tugged on my heart.
So….what WAS supposed to be a silly post filled with junkin’ fun in an old abandoned greenhouse…was more like a sad goodbye to a dream. Learning about this lady, also got me to thinking about other things…which is another post all in itself.
Fertilizer Friday is just around the clock a ways…are you ready to link up and flaunt with me? I can’t wait to be inspired by you!!
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Until next time!!! Happy Gardening!
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