A view to grow
At the start of the growing season, when the risk of cold damage has not entirely passed, and the earth is still cold, young seedlings can benefit from the protection of a cloche. A large upturned wine glass makes an excellent stand-in for smaller plants. This extra level of protection helps warm the soil and hasten germination by up to two weeks. Too much humidity can be problematic for some plants, however, leading to diseases such as botrytis and downy mildew. To avoid this, the cloche is placed on a slatted surface so that ventilation can be provided from below. It can also be raised and balanced on small stones or a tile which is slightly smaller than the mouth of the glass. As well as helping young seedlings to thrive, it can be part of a group display, placed with a traditional bell cloche and crockery planted with hardier seedlings.