When we bought our place the area under the balcony was open, part of the outdoors. We could see that it would make an ideal solar space for overwintering geraniums, spikes and the like. So we had our carpenter build a low wall at the front. The side already had a wall.
I laid out a design for windows, alternating opening sliders with fixed panes. We chose clear glass because we wanted to take advantage of the winter sun, and we had them argon filled. It has proved to be a perfect winter space for plants. The sun provides heating during the day, and we've found that only on the very coldest nights (I'm talking minus 30C) do we need to open the doors to inside to let some heat into that area.
But there was an unexpected, added bonus. When all the plants go into the greenhouse in March, this solar space becomes a lovely area to sit in the afternoon and keep an eye on the business. Until late afternoon the balcony above provides shade. and the view out the windows is beautiful.
I try to get the windows down here washed once a year. It's a huge job, and I was so fortunate to have S.'s help today. We started at 9 a.m. and worked steadily until 12:30. At 1:30 we were back at it, and worked again until 4 p.m. All the sliders have to be removed, the tracks under them taken out in order to get rid of the dead flies and dirt that has seeped in. The screens all need to be taken out, washed and hosed off, and the window surrounds washed. When that's all done, you can wash the windows themselves. But, Oh! it looks so wonderful when it's finished. I just love it when the house is clean, and this is just sparkling.
I said the day dawned sunny and bright, but by noon hour the wind had trebled and the dark clouds had gathered in the west. Not ten minutes after S. had just finished washing the outside of the west windows, the rain came down in buckets. We had a good shower for at least twenty minutes. We're so glad for the rain! She and I decided we'd wash windows every week if it meant a good shower like that. When they dried up they were surprisingly spot free.
So this is where I'm sitting relaxing now, enjoying the gardens out front and keeping an eye out for customers. It's pretty quiet though, almost all the annuals are sold. We will continue selling perennials, shrubs and trees, but the busy part of the summer is the early part when all the annuals move out.
Score for the day: 32 window panes washed both sides. Not bad!