I was recently able to attend a seminar about greenhouse management. The speaker was a professor of horticulture from Texas A&M University named Don Wilkerson. He began the lecture by asking how many of us wanted to go back to the days of raising young children. I was one of the youngest in the group and one of the only ones with children still at home (ages 12, 15, and 18). He suggested that the demands of maintaining a flourishing greenhouse were similar to the demands of raising children. They both require daily attention. I thought about his analogy and concluded he was right about raising kids. They did require almost constant attention and supervision.
Resources such as time and money for other pursuits are definitely limited during the child rearing years. I appreciate what he was trying to communicate. He wanted people to realize that you cannot just put a greenhouse in the back yard and expect it to take care of itself. You need to understand that there will be a commitment of time and probably money to successfully over-winter plants, propagate cuttings, grow vegetables or start plants from seed in a greenhouse.
Despite the warning that owning a greenhouse may require regular work, I was determined to justify my desire to have one. I began to remind myself about all the ways in which maintaining a greenhouse is much easier than raising kids. For example, greenhouses do not drive cars, require insurance or ask for gas money. They generally do not talk back, miss curfew, and throw tons of dirty laundry on the floor. I have never seen one text too much on a cell phone. Greenhouses do not loan your tools to their friends and forget to bring them home nor do they consume everything in the house with days to go before the next trip to the grocery store. Most importantly, I will always know where the greenhouse is! Hmmm, greenhouses are looking pretty good.
After careful consideration, I decided that owning a greenhouse was something I wanted to try. If I am willing to commit the time, energy and love necessary to raise healthy, happy children, I am certainly willing to invest the resources required into raising healthy, happy plants. Working in the greenhouse is wonderful therapy for the times when I worry too much about the kids, the plants and a host of other thing I cannot control. Besides, the greenhouse is a great place to hide from the phone, the computer and the kids!