Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

The Last Post January 24, 2010

Filed under: bulbs,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 11:18 pm
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If you’ve been tracking this blog you’ll have noticed the gaps between postings have grown. Which is more than can be said for anything in the garden! That’s a little unfair as, despite the deep freeze, the tips of the first spring bulbs have somehow poked their way through the soil.

Rather than feel bad about not being able to give this the attention it deserves I’m putting it into its own deep freeze and leaving the last year’s postings for posterity. (more…)

 

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…)

 

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!

 

Care and Maintenance July 24, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Summer,Watering,Weather,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 8:58 pm
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GeraniumThank you Mother Nature – doing all the hard work while I get to sit back with my feet up and enjoy the mini-forest growing outside my window. A little bit of dead-heading here, a lot of watering there and hey presto! everything keeps on chugging away – day AND night it seems (I’m sure things are visibly bigger when I look in the morning that when I go to bed.

Of course it’s not all sweetness and light in these northern climes. A couple of thunderstorms and a stiffer breeze have tested the hardiness of these flower boxes. But with eight weeks or so of good growing behind them the majority are proving robust enough to cope with the slightly harsher conditions. And I’m confident that even if we go to gale force for a couple of days they’ll be able to bounce back in good time.

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Summertime July 16, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Summer,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Daisy daisyLove this picture of a Livingstone Daisy (Mesembryanthemum) in full bloom. This only happens when it’s really sunny and mine in particular seem to want there to be long unbroken periods of sun before they’re willing to risk it. Even on a good day that’s a big ask.

This will maybe prove to be a bit of a jinx but the weather continues to be a huge help to my one foot wide garden. The sun (and showers) are very welcome, the warmth (but not stiffling heat) are helpful and most importantly, the calm airflow is a godsend. Even minor breezes can wreak havoc on a window box but through some good plant selection (only the nasturtiums rise above 18 inches and they can be persuaded to try a different route) and better luck every box is brimming over with flowers and foliage. When I get a chance I’ll take a few photos from street level to show how well everything is doing from down there. (more…)

 

The Colour Purple July 14, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Seeds,Summer,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Verbena in bloomIt’s well and truly summertime now and mother nature has been kind to us here in Scotland. A bit of rain, some thunderstorms and a couple of windy-ish days but generally lots of sun, warm temperatures and a few really gloriously long hot days. My gut feeling is that it’s much better than last year which was my first year of having flower boxes. Getting the boxes into outdoor conditions in early June has meant that everything is well  established in the boxes and they’re now fighting it out for space.

(more…)