Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

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.

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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…)

 

Nasranium June 29, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Two's companySometimes nature throws up odd combinations and weird things happen. In the case of Joel you might be able to make out from the picture that a nasturtium and geranium have created a symbiotic relationship – or maybe it’s parasitic, time will tell.

Basically the nasturtium has climbed between the geranium leaves and the two plants are completely intertwined. At first glance the nasturtium leaves look like the geranium with the off-centre spot and radiating veins. But over the last few days they have just got bigger and bigger – they’re the size of small saucers now and showing no signs of letting up – and they don’t have the pretty red markings of the geranium or the puffier, pillow-like quality. (more…)

 

Micro Management June 23, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,pests,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Miniature GardenBecause my garden is constantly within reach and the maximum amount of effort required to get to it is the strength to open a window, there’s a great temptation to interfere with mother nature.

As I have a minor aphid problem that’s normally how it starts. I’ll look at the plants to see how everything is doing then I’ll notice some aphids hiding like a column of camouflaged squaddies out on patrol.

The brachycome and verbena are particularly prone to this and once you find one group it’s only a matter of time before others become apparent, hiding under leaves and making their headquarters near the base.

With those taken care of a bit of deadheading looks like a good idea. Then you notice that the aster is being overrun by the petunia so a bit of rearranging sorts that out. Then the geranium seems to be producing lots more leaves and you’ve read that pinching those out can help the plant strengthen and so produce more flowers so you do that.

And before you know it you’ve spent an hour going round the various window boxes, repeating the actions and generally trying to improve on nature. It’s at this point that you think maybe just sitting down with a nice cup of tea and letting the plants do their own thing (which is what they’ll do anyway) is probably a better idea – well, maybe I’ll just get rid of those aphids first… and untangle those nasturtiums …

 

Planting … Chris May 23, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Info,Review,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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The Line-upI really do feel a bit bad for Chris. Out there on his own ledge, doing his own thing, travelling the path less travelled. And in this case, getting a random mix of everything that wasn’t getting used somewhere else.

The phrase ‘runt of the litter’ might be a bit harsh but the reality is that this is where all the strong, well-developed plants ran out. No geraniums, marigolds or shop-bought plants here. Instead it was a rather sad mix of verbena, asters, sweet pea and brachycome – none of which looked truly ready to flourish outdoors.

Unfortunately for them, and for Chris, this has become my experimental box. The remaining seedlings were basically split 50/50 between being planted outside and remaining indoors on the sunny ledge. We’ll see how they compare in a couple of weeks.

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Idle Hands April 28, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Indoor,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 7:30 am
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The potting shedWell they do say that the devil makes work for idle hands and while I’m not sure this is what the saying intended I’ve certainly been busy. After ducking out of a full scale planting of the window boxes due to the incoming bad weather I decided to attack the last set of seedlings in the propagator.

The sweet pea experiment prove that the non-chipped seeds germinated while the chipped ones didn’t. It was 3-0 in the shootout which alternatively means that none of the five chipped seeds germinated and two of the untouched seeds didn’t either. A bit of an odd result but I might have been too harsh with the chipping.

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The Nursery April 17, 2009

Filed under: Flower,Indoor,Seeds,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 12:14 pm
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SeedlingsThe weather has turned a bit grey and misty this week so things aren’t looking at their best. At times like this it’s fun to think about what’s yet to come rather than what is currently happening.

Despite my miscue with the last set of seeds the first couple of batches are healthily growing on a sunny ledge indoors. When I remember I open the window a bit to let some cooler air circulate in an effort to harden them up a little. This means one room in the house has become an improvised, and distinctly oversized, cold frame.

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