Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Time for Change November 24, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:48 pm
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The JungleAfter scouring the garden centres for whatever they had left in that difficult period between autumn planting and the Christmas extravaganza it was time to make the best of a bad job. As I had left it a little late I had to make do with some unusual shrubs to go along with the primroses, pansies and violas.

Having gathered the new winter plants the real job was to clean out the boxes from the overgrown jungles they had become and prepare them for their new additions. This was not an easy job but anything worth doing is worth putting the time and effort into.

Over the week I faithfully took each box in from its ledge, cut back the overgrown and rotting foliage (which had looked great in summer!) and then forked out the roots and remaining foliage. (more…)

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Full Circle November 11, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,bulbs,Flower,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:01 pm
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It’s apt that this post comes without a picture as it’s the lack of photography that’s slowed the blog posts down to barely a drip.

As each window box developed it’s own eco-system it got harder to keep track of what was happening and although there were plenty of changes it was too easy to think that they looked much the same as the previous week. This was a mistake of course. Had I kept taking the pictures each week the changes would have been obvious and there would have been a nice record of the rise and fall of the window garden.

Unfortunately I didn’t do this and so the blog slowed down as a consequence.

Since summer when I was able to bask in the glory of my earlier planning (everything from spring bulbs to seed planting produced results) it’s been a little depressing to think about the impending winter and almost a complete restart of the process. Watching the slow degredation of the plants that had provided such a lovely display was almost too much. But by this weekend the state of the boxes had become too bad even for me to leave any longer.

A visit to the garden centres on the weekend demonstrated that I had procrastinated far longer than I realised. Instead of pansies and cyclamen there was just aisle after aisle of (whisper it!) Christmas trees! Multiple journeys to other shops all resulted in the same scene. Where had all the bulbs gone?! Was I really much more prepared last year? How is it November already?

With little to choose from a bit of creativity was required so instead of pretty frost-resistant cyclamen there will be fingers-crossed primroses. Violas instead of pansies, and some unusual shrubby type Ajuga, Calocephalus and Cineraria. If anything it will at least be interesting to see what survives!

And in a month or so it will be time to look out the seed packets and get planning again for those warmer longer days when the flowers are in full bloom and the feet can be put up.

Addendum: Having had a quick look back I see that I started this blog around the same time last year but that I had done the winter planting in September! No wonder there was nothing left in the garden centres!!

 

Weekend Work September 18, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Flower,pests,Summer,Watering,Weather,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 12:40 pm
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The JungleBless the summer for its long days, warm temperatures and reliable ability to never live up to expectations. Childhood summers were much hotter, longer and drier, weren’t they? (I’m actually sure they weren’t but the collective consciousness suggests otherwise – or at least the mass media do).

In window-box gardening this means that with a minimal amount of care and attention (regular watering, occasional feeding) you too can end up with a small jungle within arms reach.

But all good things must come to an end. Finally having a bit of spare time to really get stuck in and have a good look at what was going on outside my window it was on with the gardening gloves and out with the secateurs. And boy, was there some work needing done! (more…)

 

Logistics September 1, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Colour,Flower,Summer,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 12:45 pm
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GeraniumI’ve been putting off writing the next post because it’s undeniable that summer is on the way out and that means that all the planning, nurturing and growing will, in time, follow it out too.

It had started to become more obvious about two weeks ago when previously lush foliage started to look a little limp and yellow. At first it’s just the odd leaf, which in growing season is not surprising anyway. But then day-by-day you notice that it’s a couple of leaves. Then a few more flowers than normal. Then the drooping foliage that used to perk up after a good watering no longer looks so perky.

At this point you realise that the long daylight (sometimes sunny, sometimes not – but always light) days are waning and the extensive growth can no longer be sustained. It might be that some of the plants, like the ever-spreading petunias, would have benefitted from a helping hand in the form of a harsh chop back, just to reduce the amount of growth they have to sustain with the dwindling resources available to them.

In essence this is what it comes down to; a problem with logistics. Like a rampaging army that outruns its supply chain, they simply need to fall back and consolidate the ground they’ve made. Although for this little army of flowers they will slowly but surely be pushed back until nothing remains.

It’s amazing what a few minutes less light, a little less heat and a bit more wind can do. I’ll post the pics when I get the courage!

 

Geraniums February 27, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Colour,Flower,Seeds,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 1:26 pm
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GeraniumJumping head (feet? hands?) first into gardening-lite last year meant that I hit pretty hard against the steep learning curve, if that’s not too much of a mixed metaphor.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I threw together a whole bunch of flowers last year and left them to sort themselves out. This way I’d see which would work and which wouldn’t.

What did I learn? Well, I might still be figuring that out. As an example of this confusion most of the Lobelia were in a shady area that gets morning sun and they didn’t fare well – except one that really caught hold in autumn and looked lovely until the first frosts came.

So while it seems sensible not to put it there the one success makes me think that if they’re planted earlier they might all have a chance of looking good. Hence, the seed tray has lobelia seeds in it! (more…)

 

Weekend Work January 25, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Summer,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 12:40 pm

Ed

Having done a major tidy-up/killing spree before the holidays and taken some time over the last two weekends to remove the last of the autumn plants, it’s just about care and maintenance at the moment. As well as a time to take stock and plan for summer (which feels very far off at the moment)

It’s dark both as I leave during the week and when I get home so the weekend is the only time to have a good look at what’s going on. And sometimes what you see isn’t that pretty.

As the pic (right) shows (more…)

 

Weekend Work January 19, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:38 pm
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Mini CyclamenThose sneaky spring bulbs are taking their chance to make a bid for freedom. I don’t know, a week or two of plus-zero weather and they get all over excited.

Finished tidying the last two boxes that I avoided due to last week’s inclement weather. If I’d have opened a window they might have been blown in! So the long-gone Lobelia are now no more and various rotten Dianthus have been cut right back. I was tempted just to remove them but decided to leave them there and see what happens in the spring. They are supposed to be good for a couple of years so the BBC say and there’s nothing lost if they don’t come again and need removed later.

(more…)