Initially, a winter garden was a luxury, and it would be mostly seen on palaces, castles and big houses; it’s origins go back to the 17th and 19th centuries, when nobility, mostly English, would build extensions to a room, similar to greenhouses, and grow or keep plants in there. The room would act like an extension of the house, and it would generally be furnished like a normal sitting room with tables and chairs and so on. It was also common for the winter garden to be made out of glass, or with large windows anyway, so enough room could reach the plants. There existed – and still do – public gardens like this as well, and they could house tropical plants brought from the colonies, and which needed a special temperature and climate to survive.
In modern times, a winter garden has various meanings, and it is just as commonly a vegetable garden as it is a plant and flower one. If you want to have a flower winter garden, so you can spend cold days surrounded by greenery, you’ll either have to find a home with one already attached, or start making plans to build one yourself. You should ask for the help of a professional company; usually, those who deal with selling and mounting windows will also be able to provide you with a winter garden or greenhouse. You just have to make the plans and show them what you need. Consider the space you have, and whether you can break a wall in the house in order to extend the room. If you have an uncovered porch, the work is half-done for you, because you just have to add the glass windows. Please note that growing a winter garden is nothing like starting a vegetable garden, even if it is an indoor one; decorative plants have entirely different needs than fruit or vegetable-producing ones, so you must learn what they are.
A winter garden doesn’t necessarily have to be big; noblemen of centuries past afforded the luxury of creating these large conservatories for their large homes, but you don’t need that. Think of this garden as a mini-extension of your regular garden, so you’ll only need to fit in the minimum of furniture and as many plants as you want. The furniture has to be comfortable, and it could be a combination between house furniture and garden furniture; as for the plants, they have to be potted of course, and as lush as possible. Choose big, as well as large plants too, and ask your local suppliers which are more resistant to lowered temperatures.
As for vegetable winter gardens, they are not joined to the house generally; they just imply covering your beds with a greenhouse, or building one to grow vegetables in it. Some of the vegetables that can grow in the winter, or rather survive in the winter and then start growing again in spring, are: winter-hardy cabbage, certain breeds of broccoli, beets, carrots, winter rye, oregano and onions. A winter vegetable garden can be a precious resource for fresh produce without additives, and it can make your meals much tastier. Whatever type of winter garden you want to build, we wish you the best of luck!