Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Pestilence May 28, 2009

Filed under: Info,pests,Spring — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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The GatheringYou might not be able to see them in this small picture but I can assure you that there are hundreds of aphids making a good living on the leaves of these crocus plants. This was one of many reasons why this particular box was completely cleaned out – with the plants thrown away and the box itself given a good scrub.

Being some distance off the ground slugs and snails haven’t been a bother. But aphids really took a liking to the crocuses and sadly they’ve also migrated onto the brachycome seedlings then onto the verbena.

They really are very sneaky and I have trouble seeing them at first. But once you see one you know there are likely to be more. The underside of young leaves seem to be a favourite haunt. I wonder if the soil I used last year could have been the source of them as when I went to use the remainder there were lots of black flies in the bag – which wasn’t a happy discovery. Needless to say it was thrown out immediately but the damage may have been done.

I generally try to steer clear of chemical remedies so after reading this useful article on aphid control I’ve been knocking them off with a handy cotton bud and will move on to some soap solution if that doesn’t work. It looks like it will be a constant battle of wills though as they multiply at an incredible rate if left alone.


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.



Wimbledon Colours March 26, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 6:14 pm
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MaggieIt’s amazing how things have moved on over the last few weeks, even with a bit of a chill and then the coming of spring’s wind and rain. Here’s a little selection of pics of the progress of Maggie, the big window box that gets morning sun. (more…)


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.



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…)