Winter Greens

We stepped inside Diana Jones’s backyard garden and greenhouse to learn about the best ways to keep your garden going in the winter months.

Diana’s 12- x 18-foot greenhouse is a kit from Santa Barbara Greenhouses assembled by husband Stephen along with a brick layer and a team from Cahaba Heights Hardware.
Photography by Mary Fehr

One look at Diana Jones’s backyard and her passion for gardening is evident. Raised beds, stacks of terra-cotta pots, and a shed for garden tools connect via paths. In the summer, Diana and her husband harvest a variety of peppers, tomatoes, and herbs, gifting themselves and neighbors with straight-from-the-vine produce. In addition, there is an abundance of perennials, ferns, citrus, and flowering shrubs planted here and there in the almost one-acre yard.

Herbs are relatively easy to grow, making them accessible to both novice and experienced gardeners. Don’t have a greenhouse? Try placing the plants in a sunny window. Some of Diana’s favorites to grow include basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and salvia, which is actually a member of the herb family.

Diana, a master gardener, also propagates salvias for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens spring and fall plant sales while serving in what members fondly call the “Herb Army.” So what is a green thumb to do come winter? For Diana, the answer was a backyard greenhouse where she can winter fragile plants and keep the fresh greens coming.

Seeking Greenhouse Inspiration?

Birmingham offers several public greenhouses to tour or shop. A favorite includes the conservatory at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The Lord & Burnham-designed building was erected in 1962 and houses tropical plants, desert species, and citrus. Leaf & Petal at The Summit offers a vast greenhouse brimming with hanging plants, ferns, and gift items. Inspired by Petersham Nurseries in London, the 4,000-square-foot space is decorated with cottage finds including reclaimed wood, antique doors, paint-chipped chairs, and farmhouse tables for use and display. Shoppe, a garden and gift store in Forest Park, continues to delight visitors with its English greenhouse filled with ferns, topiaries, orchids, and more.

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“I always use fresh herbs in pretty much everything I cook. It’s rare that I have to buy any supplemental herbs from the store.”

— Diana Jones

Made to Order

Looking for a bespoke greenhouse similar to the one at Shoppe in Forest Park? Hartley Botanic Greenhouses is an 85-year-old, award-winning company based in England. Known for creating greenhouses with enduring strength, quality, and performance, the company offers structures that are individually crafted to personalized specifications. Look for designs ranging from Victorian to modern. For more about their designs, visit

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