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.



Skipping Seasons March 18, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Summer,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 5:27 pm
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A few weeks ago I tried to suggest we were still in mid-winter. A day or so ago I intended to write to say I was officially declaring it spring  (the air lacked the real winter chill for the first time). But hang it all if it hasn’t just decided to leap straight to summer without so much as a pause for spring to happen.

As I’m typing a huge bumblebee has buzzed the tulips. It was so loud I heard it through the closed window (yes – there was a moments panic as I turned to make sure the window was really shut!) and over the yelps of the kids playing out in the back greens. Ok – it may only be a Scottish summer, which means there are still jumpers on and coats not too far away, but it really is a gloriously bright, sunny day.



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.


Weekend Work February 19, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Seeds,Spring,Weather,Weekend Work,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 5:42 pm
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Winter PansyAdmit it. You’re fed up looking at different pictures of the same winter pansies, aren’t you. I mean they are nice, and any colour at this time of year can’t be bad? Yes? But, oh, for a little bit of variety. No?

As the cold dark days have progressed the plants have split into two camps. Those that are hardy enough to keep going despite the difficult conditions (see Pansy, Cyclamen, Ivy). And those that have gently and serenely succumbed (hmm, see Pansy, Cyclamen). We won’t make mention of the third lot that didn’t even try a lick! You know who you are!!

So while I’m spending a lot of time ‘thinking‘ about the garden, there’s not really a lot of ‘doing‘ going on. Maybe this is better for all of us. All these plans and no reality to burst in and doom them.

But, no. Soon enough the temperatures will stay comfortably above freezing, the seeds will have sprouted and be looking for a new home and the garden centres will be full of those tempting little bedding plants that are oh so cheap – until you get to the checkout with a trolley full. Really! How much?! Do you take Visa?

Best to put this daydreaming time to good use I think and get those plans written down. Hmmmm!