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…)

 

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 – Part 3 May 14, 2009

Filed under: Indoor,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 8:00 am

Forlorn PlantsYesterday we mixed our soil so today we get cleaning …

As you can see from today’s picture, the boxes were looking a bit sorry for themselves. The tulips were dying back and the cyclamen had gone kaput so it was easy to dig everything out and start again.

One of the other boxes, Shelly to those of us who know her, gave me a quandry. Despite being in the shadiest spot in the garden (or perhaps it’s because) the cyclamen were still really healthy, compact and one had recently flowered. By the time I started to clean that box out I was ready to throw everything away but I slightly regret that now – even though I don’t know what I would have done with them.

Generally though, everything else from winter and early spring was dying back so it’s was a simple, if laborious, task to remove all the plants, tip the soil out, remove the base layer of crocks or polystyrene and give the boxes a good wash. (more…)

 

Weekend Work April 5, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Watering,Weather,Weekend Work,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 11:17 pm
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ChrisLots of yellow in the garden at the moment . A little bit of blue as well, not all of it entirely natural and as this picture shows, not all of it mine!

The weekend was all about tidying up and seeing what was left after the windy weather over the past week. I should say that it’s not been really nasty, just bad enough for the tulips to take a beating.

The lovely row of crocuses (I’ve had a full on dictionary arguement with myself and will stick with this plural form for the time being 😉 ) all fell over during the week so they got removed. Not sure if this is just nature or my old watering problems but seeing as the flowers in the municipal displays have retreated I’m absolving myself of blame for now. The remaining foliage is actually quite pretty in it’s own way and without the flowers I noticed the silver stripe up the thin leaves for the first time.

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Doorway Gardening – Spring Version April 2, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 5:47 pm
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Container Gardening - City StyleBack in February I posted a picture of a doorway that was festooned with containers and plants of all shapes and sizes. I happened to be in the area again at the weekend and luckily had my camera with me.

As you can see the whole stoop was in bloom. It’s an impressive sight, especially as the neighbours haven’t joined in the fun. So it’s a real eye-catcher. I still don’t know how they don’t get silently stolen but then perhaps even the thieves recognise a little part of the city worth leaving alone. (more…)

 

Wind + Time = Damage March 31, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Summer,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:47 pm
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Wind-Damaged TulipsOne of the first things I realised when the window boxes went out last year is how the wind can affect all that good planning. Forget all the great write-ups about how lovely a plant’s flowers are or how they attract bees, butterflies and other bits of nature – what I really needed to know is how big they grow and whether they can stand up to a force 10 gale!

As the pic on the right shows, the tulips have taken a battering over the last two weeks. I was so lucky to see them in the first few days when the weather was calm and their blooms opened wide to catch the sun’s rays.

Since then it’s been a bit blowy and they’ve suffered accordingly. Even in the really calm days there is often still a breeze and this gets multiplied on the seriously windy days. The buildings all around create strange eddy currents that all seem to focus on my window ledges, rattling the frames and bashing the poor flowers about like a heavyweight boxing match.

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