Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Idle Hands April 28, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:30 am
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The potting shedWell they do say that the devil makes work for idle hands and while I’m not sure this is what the saying intended I’ve certainly been busy. After ducking out of a full scale planting of the window boxes due to the incoming bad weather I decided to attack the last set of seedlings in the propagator.

The sweet pea experiment prove that the non-chipped seeds germinated while the chipped ones didn’t. It was 3-0 in the shootout which alternatively means that none of the five chipped seeds germinated and two of the untouched seeds didn’t either. A bit of an odd result but I might have been too harsh with the chipping.



Weekend Non-work April 27, 2009

The Public ViewSo when it came down to it I chickened out of planting everything this weekend. Instead the boxes that will get completely re-done have been left to do their own thing – which is mainly to do nothing with the supposedly dwarf tulips, which ended up growing to about 12 inches, still looking lush and healthy. The won’t even die back despite my neglect. The others got a quick tidy up which consisted of deadheading the pansies.

After looking at the weather forecast it looked like it’s going to be a colder and wetter week and I just didn’t think that was a good way to start the still-tender seedlings off. As much as I think the garden centre plants have been pushed along, and are therefore a couple of weeks further on than my seedlings, the brachycome, verbena and sweet pea still look very weak. I just didn’t have the confidence that planting them today would give them the best chance of survival. (more…)


Naughty Nasturtiums! April 26, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 9:35 am

Nasturtium forestThe boxes are a bit bereft of colour at the moment although the foliage from the spring bulbs is still quite lush and pretty in its own way. But the time for change is clearly drawing close.

I had intended to do all my replanting next weekend what with the bank holiday on the Monday, but I’ve had my hand forced by some impetuous decision making on my part and a propagator’s worth of nasturtiums that have been on fast forward for a week. (more…)


Watering Woes April 25, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Spring,Summer,Watering — northernwindowgardener @ 11:34 am

Wilting PansiesFor better or for worse each season has its challenges. In winter it’s simply about keeping things growing during the short cold days. But in spring it’s back to my old nemesis – watering.

I’m not good at judging how much to water the boxes and over winter that hasn’t been much of a problem. But now that the days are both longer (in terms of sunlight anyway) and warmer, my shaky watering judgement is back on the agenda.

It doesn’t help much that the signs of overwatering and underwatering are, by all the internet and book advice available, broadly similar. I suppose it shouldn’t be difficult to tell the two apart really. Simply by looking at some wilting plants (see pansies at left!) and asking the question “when did they last get watered?” a reasonable conclusion can be found. (more…)


Something Borrowed April 21, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 8:46 am
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The Last TulipI don’t tend to refer to articles in the press and online media as I’m sure many people have enough of their own sources to be getting on with, and generally there aren’t that many articles that reference window boxes. But The Telegraph had a short interesting article in their online addition. Titled “Small Spaces” it shares the woes of the time between sparkling spring blooms and summer’s on-rush of colour.

There’s some pretty basic advice on pulling up the old bulbs – great information for me, a bit obvious for the seasoned gardener. When you’re just starting out you crave this kind of pedantic, step-by-step guide on how to do something.

The bit I found really interesting though (more…)


The Nursery April 17, 2009

Filed under: Flower,Indoor,Seeds,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 12:14 pm
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SeedlingsThe weather has turned a bit grey and misty this week so things aren’t looking at their best. At times like this it’s fun to think about what’s yet to come rather than what is currently happening.

Despite my miscue with the last set of seeds the first couple of batches are healthily growing on a sunny ledge indoors. When I remember I open the window a bit to let some cooler air circulate in an effort to harden them up a little. This means one room in the house has become an improvised, and distinctly oversized, cold frame.



Between Seasons April 15, 2009

Anemone Blanda

Anemone Blanda

I seem to have found myself between seasons at the moment. The tulips and crocuses were a welcome blast of spring colour after the dark nights of winter but all too soon they have fizzled out. The pansies and anemone are doing their best to keep things colourful and there’s plenty of foliage to make it colourful.

The seedlings from the indoor nursery are coming along nicely but it’s still a bit early to plant them out. Instead they’re getting a bit of hardening up by sitting on a sunny (sometimes) and bright window ledge in front of a slightly open window.  The hope is that a storm doesn’t blow in while I’m away and ruin all that, well… all that waiting really. Sow, water, wait and worry – there really isn’t much more to seeds than that, is there?