Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

New Addition June 25, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Colour,Flower,Info,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Livingstone Daisies

Livingstone Daisies

In late May when there were still gaps in some of the window boxes and it didn’t look like my nursery was going to provide any help the call of the garden centres became too much. As is the case when you food shop on an empty stomach and end up buying far more than you need, the same is true of plant shopping.

Having looked around my favourite garden centre the temptation to buy a couple of different plants was too much, even though I knew I really only needed six or eight plants to fill all the gaps.

After using all I needed this gave me about half a dozen Livingstone Daisies spare along with a couple of bright pink trailing petunias. As I was rooting about in my gardening box I remembered that I had a spare container that had been my first purchase last year. However I hadn’t ended up using it as it was much shallower and smaller than the ledges needed. (more…)


TV or not TV? June 13, 2009

Filed under: Info,Review — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am

Gratuitous Chrysanth PhotoThose of you in the UK will probably be familiar with the BBC programme, Gardeners’ World. As someone who can only claim a recent and passing interest in gardening I hadn’t appreciated what an institution the show was… or just how sharply it divides opinion. Any gardening forum seems to have a space reserved just for saying why they dislike this incarnation of the programme and how previous editions used to be better.

The Guardian newspaper’s website has had a couple of goes at giving their opinion on the show this year and sure enough, opinion is still divided.

In Scotland we have the Beechgrove Garden which is a more genteel and shorter show but I find is closer to my tastes. Both are worth watching and given the amount of ground (pun intended!) they try to cover I don’t quite get to the stage of wanting to throw things at the tv or write angry letters as some do, but then gardening (if we can call a few window boxes that) is just something I enjoy doing and that I don’t take too seriously.

Pehaps when the garden is your pride and joy and becomes an extension of your view of yourself you can get a bit more prickly about someone telling you “what’s hot and what’s not” about gardening.


Links June 12, 2009

Filed under: Info — northernwindowgardener @ 1:20 pm

Just a wee apology. Somehow and sometime over the last few days the links section disappeared from my blog. Just noticed it was gone yesterday so it’s been restored.

If you have any other interesting links for me to add just drop me an email or post a comment.


Off the Scale June 3, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Info,Summer,Watering,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 7:13 am

Off the ScaleSo now I know why I need to take good care of the watering during the summer – or at least those days that count as summer up here.

This photo was taken at the weekend with the guage on the outside of the window in the sun. If the picture is too difficult to see lets just say the needle if off the scale – above 120F or 50C.

Even allowing for the cheapness of the product it was seriously warm.

I guess this is what the plants and soil have to deal with, rather than the actual air temperature.

And yes, I do need to clean my windows!


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.