Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

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…)

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Micro Management June 23, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,pests,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Miniature GardenBecause my garden is constantly within reach and the maximum amount of effort required to get to it is the strength to open a window, there’s a great temptation to interfere with mother nature.

As I have a minor aphid problem that’s normally how it starts. I’ll look at the plants to see how everything is doing then I’ll notice some aphids hiding like a column of camouflaged squaddies out on patrol.

The brachycome and verbena are particularly prone to this and once you find one group it’s only a matter of time before others become apparent, hiding under leaves and making their headquarters near the base.

With those taken care of a bit of deadheading looks like a good idea. Then you notice that the aster is being overrun by the petunia so a bit of rearranging sorts that out. Then the geranium seems to be producing lots more leaves and you’ve read that pinching those out can help the plant strengthen and so produce more flowers so you do that.

And before you know it you’ve spent an hour going round the various window boxes, repeating the actions and generally trying to improve on nature. It’s at this point that you think maybe just sitting down with a nice cup of tea and letting the plants do their own thing (which is what they’ll do anyway) is probably a better idea – well, maybe I’ll just get rid of those aphids first… and untangle those nasturtiums …

 

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.