Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Pause for thought March 29, 2009

Filed under: Info,Review — northernwindowgardener @ 12:17 pm

Spring ColourMaybe it’s the artificial shifting of time today but I was thinking a bit about what I’ve written over the past months.

I started this because I couldn’t find simple advice on the web. In hindsight, given that I’m posting three or four times a week, I’ve probably fallen into the same trap of making growing plants all sound hideously time-consuming and complicated.

Although I spend a fair bit of time thinking about how everything is doing the actual planting and maintenance takes up very little time at all, especially at this time of year.

In truth I’ve deliberately made things more difficult by trying to grow things from seed, and generally not spending too much time planning. I quite like just giving things a go and barreling headfirst into something new so the relative complexity suits me.

If anyone wants to have some really nice window boxes with the minimum of fuss it would be really easy – and not massively expensive either. In fact, given the cost of the propagators, seeds, etc. I’ll probably come out about even this year by raising from seed rather than just getting some kind friend to run me to the garden centre to pick up a few dozen, healthy, nursery-reared plants.

At some point I might work the costs of that out as it would be an interesting comparison, especially for the first-timer. However as time goes on growing from seed should work out cheaper and I’m happy to commit to the extra time and effort it takes.

In general I’ve never backed down from a challenge either, no matter how ridiculous – see the Cactii experiment πŸ˜‰ Many of these are diversions and if I just wanted to have some pretty flowers then they would have little relevance. But I’m interested in how different things grow and how they react to different levels of care and attention. I’m not at the seed trial stage, and I certainly want everything to work so I’m not doing anything deliberately obtuse, but it means that the failures are fine and just another part of the learning curve.

As an outsider I would never have realised how much there is to learn about something that’s considered ‘natural’ but now I’ve got an appreciation for flower types, weather conditions and planting styles, without even mentioning things like the moral dilemma about peat-based soils or the debate over organic v. chemical pest control. No wonder there are so many books and people spend a lifetime and still have to make a best guess!


4 Responses to “Pause for thought”

  1. Flighty Says:

    This is a good, thoughtful post!
    Growing from seed will give you that extra satisfaction!
    I think that some gardeners make it over-complicated and are, perhaps, just a touch too fussy.
    It’s the planning, time and effort put into gardening, rather than money, that generally makes it so rewarding.
    Gardens are always work-in-progress, and gardeners never stop learning.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I enjoyed your post and your thoughts. The planning and journey to anywhere can often be just as, or more, enjoyable than arriving at the destination ~ appreciating all the little starts and stops along the way. So it is with your gardening, I think. It’s wonderful that you are growing plants from seeds ~ your window boxes, who are characters in themselves, will enjoy meeting and hosting their new inhabitants, I’m sure πŸ™‚

    BTW A plant in my window box that has survived the cold, despite having basically no water (covered area), is the dianthus or Sweet William.

  3. Glo Says:

    Yikes, I’ve turned anonymous. I forgot to put my ‘details’ in the reply boxes.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I agree – it’s the journey not the destination that’s important. I just realised how complicated I was making it all sound – but then that’s what happens when I commit my thought process to print!
    Glo – thanks for the dianthus tip – I have a couple that I left in over winter and we’ll see if they come back.

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