Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

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.



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.



Told You! March 4, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:09 pm
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Winter returnsNot quite the snowstorm that was billed, but still a sting in the tail for the spring flowers. Think of it as a quiet reminder that it’s not all sunshine and warm weather from here on in.

Yellow & snow

I doubt the snow will do much, if any, damage – and it’ll save me giving the boxes a watering for a few days. They’ve been surprisingly thirsty over the last couple of weeks.

But it’s a timely reminder that there’s a while to go yet before even considering using any of the seedlings that are on the go at the moment.

As the old saying about March goes – in like a lion, out like a lamb. Let’s hope so!A quick dusting


Bulb watch March 3, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Flower,Spring,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 12:41 pm
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The four ages of crocusSpring is springing and about to get whipped by the sting in winter’s tail. The forecast today is for snow and it’s decidedly chillier than it has been in the last couple of weeks. The dreaded wind has returned as well – I hadn’t noticed how calm it had been over the month. But of course just as the flowers get a bit delicate the wind comes back like a schoolyard bully to knock them around a bit.

The first crocus blooms are taking a bit of a hit at the moment but hopefully they’ll survive long enough for others to join them and give a bit of protection. The winter bedding plants have died back so much that they’re not helping much in that regard.

Elsewhere the tulips are really coming on. They seem to grow a bit taller everyday although they still look some way away from actually flowering. The aconite and anemone are bit harder to see with their darker smaller foliage but they’re progressing well in most places. The buds are swelling up although they too may have a few days to go yet until the really start flowering. (more…)


Sneaky spring March 2, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:38 pm
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Crocus in bloomAs I was home for a time at the weekend I was lucky enough to see my first crocus flower in bloom. The sun was out and there it was, the pale purple petals opening up and revealing the orange stamen (I might have made these words up but I think it’s the stamen in the middle, yes? I’m pretty sure about ‘petals’!)

By afternoon as the weather had turned decidedly spring-like, i.e. hailstones and showers, the flower had mostly closed again. So it makes me think that maybe they are sneaking out during the day and closing up by the time I’m home in the evening.

Maybe all the bulbs have been playing this trick on me and really there are lots of anemone, aconite, tulip and crocus flowers during the day. It would be some explanation of where the green shoots have poked through the earth. They are in much greater clumps that I remember planting them, suggesting they either migrated a bit during winter or have been out partying and forget where they started when the daylight fades.

Oh well, it was nice to catch one of them in bloom before heading back to sneaking a look in the mornings.


Bulb Watch February 23, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 11:18 pm
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Spring bulbsI need to think of better names than bulb & seed watch for these posts. They do sum up how much time I spend just looking for signs of growth though!

I love this picture of an early crocus. It looks like the flower has been carefully hand wrapped to protect it until it’s warm enough for it to bloom.

The mild weather of the last week has meant excellent growing conditions and all over the window boxes there are green shoots and … well, I’m sure there’s a proper gardening word for them, but tulip shoots rising inches into the spring air and little anemone blanda buds swelling up, ready to burst forth.OK, I’m going over the top here, but it’s nice to see a bit of growth about the place after spending most gardening moments over the winter cutting things back and generally seeing decay everywhere.


Bulb Watch February 15, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 12:31 pm
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Tulip BulbI hate to say I told you so. Well, maybe not. It’s quite nice to be right isn’t it?!It wasn’t that hard to guess correctly though.

As I thought the freeze has stopped the early crocus from being too early, as well as stoping virtually everything else in its tracks. Like the picture on the left, quite a few green shoots poked their heads above the soil to see if the coast was clear. This week they found out that it wasn’t and promptly stopped where they were.

Nobody move – nobody gets hurt!

As I’ve mentioned previously I’m not sure where I planted some things so it’s fun to scan the soil and see if that’s a shoot coming through or just some loose foliage. In particular the anemone blanda (I think!) have popped up in places that have made me look hard to see if they are really making a bid for freedom. Like the stars at night, the more you look the more seem to appear.

I’ve also found that little clumps of shoots have appeared. Now my planting scheme wasn’t that acurate BUT I’m positive that I didn’t put the blulbs that close together. Which means that they must be huddling together for warmth under the frozen soil crust. Isn’t that clever of them! Or maybe I really planted them more carelessly than I thought. Whichever it is I’m looking forward to seeing the groups of crocus when spring really takes hold. The tulips however are much more solitary and are keeping to themselves.