The Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset, is a beautiful historic visitor attraction with the most gorgeous gardens developed by Head Gardener, James Cross. As a local I visit these gardens often and couldn’t fail to notice and fall in love with the Griffin Glasshouses‘ greenhouse in their allotment.
Not only do I think that Griffin Glasshouses are one of the most impressive designers and manufacturers of glasshouses in this country, but the building in The Bishop’s Palace is a stunning lean-to that was crying out to be painted with our Peelable Glass Paint.
I met with James to explain about the unique properties of our Glass Paint and its benefits as a greenhouse shading paint. Luckily he was interested in our product and happy for me to paint their greenhouse. We created a decorative design for them that would illustrate the benefits of the paint to cool temperatures in the greenhouse, but also one that was attractive and fun, appealing to the thousands of visitors they have, especially during The English Country Garden Festival.
Across the stretch of vertical windows we painted on White Witch translucent Peelable Glass Paint that shades from the sun but still allows some light to come through. A single coat was applied by roller to every third window pane. On the neighbouring pane I painted on a swan stencil that we created especially for The Bishop’s Palace whose moat is home to a family of swans, famed for their clever bell-ringing trick. Naturally these stencil designs had to be painted in Swan White opaque Peelable Glass Paint.
Although the stencilling was mostly decorative this is also a good way of offering some shading where you don’t want to totally block out the light.
As with many working greenhouses, cleaning is the last job that gets done. Ordinarily it is good practice to clean the windows before painting on greenhouse shading, but if you gave your greenhouse a thorough clean over winter then it’s not essential. The gardening team didn’t have time to clean the windows so we just used a stiff broom to get rid of cobwebs and solid debris. Our Peelable Glass Paint will still adhere to glass surfaces that are a little dirty.
For really grubby patches we wiped down with a wet cloth and left to dry before painting, especially the front door that we transformed in a special design for The Bishop’s Palace. Firstly we rollered on two coats of Bishop Blue opaque Peelable Glass Paint to give it a really deep solid background. When that colour had dried I painted on their bishop’s crozier logo using a stencil that we had created for the job. I used two coats of Doulting Stone opaque Peelable Glass Paint to match the colour of their logo.
Rollering on Glass Paint shading
The roof of most greenhouses is the area that gets the strongest light. On this greenhouse the first set of roof window panes were the ones that lay in direct line of the sun in a south-facing aspect. To maximise shading we used opaque Glass Paint in a combination of colours. You can pick colours to match your garden design, interior design or from pure practicality with the stronger and darker the colour, the stronger shading you will achieve. In this case we used Swan White, Doulting Stone, Moorland Green and Reed Green, complimenting The Bishop’s Palace branding and planting palette in the allotment.
Stencilling with Glass Paint
We made our own stencils for this job but you can get stencils from art shops, online or just paint freehand if you’re lucky enough to have the artistic talent to do so. To get best results for stencilling we would recommend using Frog Tape to get a good seal, paint with a brush using a dabbing motion for small areas or a smoother brush action for large sections, painting away from the edge of the stencil into the centre. As soon as you have finished painting remove the stencil and tape then leave to dry. You can tidy up any smudges once the paint is dry by using your nails, the end of the paint brush or something such as a craft knife.
It’s quick and easy to do and very satisfying!
Within a few hours the greenhouse was totally transformed and became a talking point for tourists. Although the design is predominantly decorative the gardener in charge of the greenhouse has commented on how much cooler it is and what a difference it has made. Already the Head Gardener has plans for us to come back next year and enlist the help of the volunteers in a total makeover and we can’t wait!