Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Keeping Track July 3, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Review,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am

PetuniaWhen I planted all the window boxes this year I neatly wrote little tabs for each type and slipped them carefully into the side of the box.

Then as I added some more plants I wrote out some more tabs. Then I forgot to write some tabs. Then I took out some nasturtiums that had died and randomly replaced them with more seeds. And of course I forgot to write tabs for those as well.

Is there a moral to this story? Well only that if I had a proper garden then I’d have no idea how to cope. And so I’m full of admiration for those with big gardens or allotments where there’s a whole range of plants that all need their own special treatment.

This year was about experimentation to see what would work and what wouldn’t. I had thought that I would be able to track the progress of each plant and keep a useful record that I could use again next year. So much for that idea! I bit off much more than I could chew and now it’s just as much as I can do to sit back and watch how everything goes.

Maybe at some point I’ll be able to make some judgement on how things have done but I don’t think I’m quite ready to take on something much bigger than a window box at the moment.


Grow Your Own July 1, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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LobeliaThose of you who have followed this blog or have somehow stumbled upon it and read a few postings will know that I tried to grow the majority of my own plants from seed for the first time. To say it was a steep learning curve would be fair but as it’s hardly a question of life and death (well, except to the plants of course!) so if there were as many failures as successes then it was no big problem.

Anyway some things were easier to grow than others so I thought I’d put together a little list of how I did. (more…)


Picture Post – Marilyn June 27, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Review,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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In the beginningHere’s a little photo show plotting the progress of my newest window box. Made with a old plastic container I originally bought before I realised just how big my window ledges actually are. It looked oddly out of place so I bought some bigger deeper boxes and this got used as storage for a few months.

When I realised I’d overbought in the plant department it seemed like an ideal time to press this box back into service. And the bathroom ledge is smaller so it doesn’t look so out of place there.



Season 2 June 21, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Review,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 4:14 pm
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Two Trailing Petunias and Geraniums

It was around this time last year that I got the notion to have some window boxes. I didn’t have any idea that it would end up taking so much of my time, that I would start blogging about it or that I would learn (and enjoy) it so much. Really, how difficult could it be to have a few flowers on a window ledge?

The reality is that it’s as difficult as you want it to be.

If you’d just like something pretty to look at over the summer months then a visit to the garden centre, a couple of hours of prep and planting and ten minutes every couple of days to water and you’ll be fine.

On the other hand if you’d like to try for year-round colour and would prefer to avoid buying everything ‘ready-made’ then you’ll have to give it a lot more time and attention. But even then it will be interesting, rewarding and satisfying  just so long as you’re prepared for the occasional set-back along with all the success.

And a small final point. When I started this blog late last year I had to keep looking to borrow other people’s photographs to brighten the place up. Now I’m lucky if I use a tenth of the pictures I take!


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.


Weekend Work June 2, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Watering,Weather,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 12:27 pm
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French MarigoldBack to sporadic posting after a couple of weeks of catching up with all my efforts to plant my window boxes. It takes much more time to write about it than it does to actually do it!

I was a bit lucky with the weather which treated everything very kindly for the first week or so, then turned properly hot (well, hot for this far north anyway) for the last few days.

This has given everything a chance to bed in. As you can see from the picture the marigold’s are in bloom and smell lovely. They only get the morning sun so in the circumstances they’ve done really well.

I’m quite proud of my geraniums too. Although they aren’t flowering yet (unlike one neighbour’s which I’m a little envious of) they are better looking than most of the garden centre varieties so hopefully they have every chance of coming good. Fingers crossed.


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.