Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Pestilence May 28, 2009

Filed under: Info,pests,Spring — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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The GatheringYou might not be able to see them in this small picture but I can assure you that there are hundreds of aphids making a good living on the leaves of these crocus plants. This was one of many reasons why this particular box was completely cleaned out – with the plants thrown away and the box itself given a good scrub.

Being some distance off the ground slugs and snails haven’t been a bother. But aphids really took a liking to the crocuses and sadly they’ve also migrated onto the brachycome seedlings then onto the verbena.

They really are very sneaky and I have trouble seeing them at first. But once you see one you know there are likely to be more. The underside of young leaves seem to be a favourite haunt. I wonder if the soil I used last year could have been the source of them as when I went to use the remainder there were lots of black flies in the bag – which wasn’t a happy discovery. Needless to say it was thrown out immediately but the damage may have been done.

I generally try to steer clear of chemical remedies so after reading this useful article on aphid control I’ve been knocking them off with a handy cotton bud and will move on to some soap solution if that doesn’t work. It looks like it will be a constant battle of wills though as they multiply at an incredible rate if left alone.


Planting .. Maggie May 27, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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O'ConnellI shouldn’t really admit to having favourites but Maggie was my first window box and sits proudly on the longest window ledge in the house, facing front and looking out on the world. This position gets a gentle touch of morning sun but from late morning only benefits from reflected light rather than direct sun. If I was more experienced I’d be able to tell you what flowers would be best for this type of spot but I’m not, so it still trial and error for this year.

At 30″ inches long it’s also one of the two (along with Chris) big boxes and you can really pack the plants into them. Even with all my seed growing since January there still wasn’t enough good quality plants to cover all the boxes but Maggie had to get her fair share.



Planting … Joel May 26, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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NoodlesI think it would be fair to say that the marigolds were both planted too shallow and more than ready to be planted elsewhere.

This picture of the extensive root system was repeated in all eight of the marigolds that were grown from seed. It’s quite satisfying to see just how much they’ve developed and they must like the conditions they were grown in. Some others like the nemesia and convolvulus haven’t fared so well while the verbena and brachycome have grown quite slowly and are still weak even though they’ve had lots of light and heat.



Planting … Ed May 25, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Mini PalmsIt really was dark by the time I’d finished with Ed but this suits his temperament. Poor thing, he spends most of his time literally in the shade with hardly an ounce of direct sunlight to brighten up those corners.

With that in mind the geraniums were left for other boxes but, more in hope than expectation, three strong looking marigolds were planted. I really hope they flower as they would provide a nice consistent look across the three boxes at this side of the house, but if they don’t then it’ll be another little lesson learned and something to consider again next year.



Tidying Up the Mess May 24, 2009

Filed under: Review — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am

Cut out and keepThanks to everyone for your comments over the past weeks and months. It’s greatly appreciated and nice to see that some of what I’ve written has struck a chord.

It’s also made me realise that there are some parts of this blog that could do with a good tidy up as well. Now that the bulk of the planting has been done I’ll be trying to update the other parts – particularly my ‘wacky’ descriptions of my window boxes and the plant page. I’d really like the plant list to have some practical information on how well things have grown and some of the successes and failures that I’ve had. Right now though that page is looking more neglected than a steak dinner at a vegan festival.


Planting … Chris May 23, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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The Line-upI really do feel a bit bad for Chris. Out there on his own ledge, doing his own thing, travelling the path less travelled. And in this case, getting a random mix of everything that wasn’t getting used somewhere else.

The phrase ‘runt of the litter’ might be a bit harsh but the reality is that this is where all the strong, well-developed plants ran out. No geraniums, marigolds or shop-bought plants here. Instead it was a rather sad mix of verbena, asters, sweet pea and brachycome – none of which looked truly ready to flourish outdoors.

Unfortunately for them, and for Chris, this has become my experimental box. The remaining seedlings were basically split 50/50 between being planted outside and remaining indoors on the sunny ledge. We’ll see how they compare in a couple of weeks.



Planting … Holling May 22, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Holling We’ll start off with a prettier picture this time as there’s only so much scratchy handwriting that’s interesting.

Here we have the finished window box which looks an awful lot scrappier than the lovely ones in the window box book I reviewed a while back. That book has lots of healthy, upright and flowering plants pictured in folksy locations and they really are a joy to look at.

This blog however is the ‘warts and all’ variety of gardening so here we are, at the end of lots of planning, growing and tlc, and yet it still looks like a bunch of plants have been hapharzardly thrown into a plastic container. Ho hum!