Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Weekend Work March 5, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Indoor,Seeds,Spring,Weather,Weekend Work — northernwindowgardener @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

CactusWith the spring bulbs coming along nicely and the seeds germinating there’s not too much to do in the window boxes at this time of year. Winter plants like the cyclamen and pansies got a tidy up, mainly deadheading or removing flowers that have had their time – sadly too many of them. But generally it’s time to sit back, watch the progress of the bulbs and enjoy the fruits of the autumn planting.

A shortage of soil for potting-on the seedlings sent me off to the garden centre for the first time this year – with all the fun of getting caught in alternate hail and rain showers. I swear it looked nice out for most of the morning.

Anyway, freezing water to one side, I once again found myself buying completely unecessary seeds. Only these ones are truly unecessary rather than just overkill. Anyone for cacti?! They’ve been put to the back of the seed inventory and will get brought out as the seed factory winds down for the summer. They’re not the quickest of growers so there’s plenty of time to give them a go!

The other seeds aren’t quite so odd – some coleus, which I’ve liked in every picture I’ve seen. However as is often the case I’m not sure that I have a place for them if I do grow them. I may try them for houseplants but we’ll see how things progress before making any decision.

Surprisingly there wasn’t much on display at the garden centre. The bright primary colours of the primulas were really nice and next year I’d like to try these alongside the cyclamen and pansies. But beyond that there were big empty shelves waiting for the new arrivals. I guess it’s just a little bit between seasons at the moment.

Photo courtesy of dailylifeofmojo on Flickr.


The Price of Colour February 24, 2009

Starter KitIt’s time for an admission. I have a small addiction. One that I’d like to share with you. I’m not proud of it you understand. No no. But it does come in handy.

I keep count of EVERYTHING I spend on the garden.

Yes. I know. I shouldn’t. The cost isn’t important is it? What’s that about the price of everything and value of nothing? Well, I hope there’s a balance that can be struck between those two.



Let it Snow! February 9, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Colour,Flower,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 4:19 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wintery PansyWe were feeling left out up here in north Britain so the weather kindly paid us a visit. (more…)


Weekend Work February 8, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,Flower,Spring,Weather,Weekend Work,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 6:15 pm
Tags: , , ,

Winter PansyA little bit of colour on a chilly mid-winter day. Yes, I count this as mid-winter. December is rarely as bad as people expect, although the lack of light makes it feel worse. February on the other hand is frequently cold and snowy. Just when people are starting to think of the warmth of spring this can come as a depressing jolt of reality.

If you’re looking for a positive spin on the cold snap then you might want to read this article in The Telegraph online. It basically suggests that there are four seasons for good reason and that the freezing temperatures will be of benefit to your gardens and allotments, helping to harden up bulbs and kill off bugs and disease.

I’m sure this will be of little comfort to many, especially those who are trying to dig into frozen soil. I’m ok with it and intuitively it makes sense to me but then I can reach every square inch of my garden from the comfort of a warm house 🙂 (more…)


Mornin’ Sun February 4, 2009

Filed under: Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 12:24 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sunny Ivy

While certain parts of the UK resemble the upper reaches of the Alps we’ve not had it so bad in Scotland. A bit snowy in places but nothing like the foot plus the south east has had. (more…)


Weekend Work January 19, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Mini CyclamenThose sneaky spring bulbs are taking their chance to make a bid for freedom. I don’t know, a week or two of plus-zero weather and they get all over excited.

Finished tidying the last two boxes that I avoided due to last week’s inclement weather. If I’d have opened a window they might have been blown in! So the long-gone Lobelia are now no more and various rotten Dianthus have been cut right back. I was tempted just to remove them but decided to leave them there and see what happens in the spring. They are supposed to be good for a couple of years so the BBC say and there’s nothing lost if they don’t come again and need removed later.



Weather Woes December 11, 2008

Filed under: Autumn,Colour,Flower,Summer,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:03 pm
Tags: , ,
Frosty Cyclamen

Frosty Cyclamen

The last week has been a steep learning curve in just what sub-zero temperatures will do to plants. Lobelia that seemed hardy enough to be lush and green well into November have been well and truly stopped in their tracks. And anything that was planted late and was still establishing itself can forget about getting any further.

The biggest disappointment has been how the frost has hurt the Cyclamen. As the sorry specimens on the right show the delicate flowers have borne the brunt of the frost.

It’s not all bad news as some Cyclamen have soldiered on and there’s still a bit of colour around the place. The Winter Pansies were probably saved for now when they were brought inside for a couple of days during the first really deep frosts. Hopefully that gave them just enough time to keep flowering and we’ll see a burst of colour in the next few days. It’s probably too much to hope for them lasting for any length of time though given that they were planted a little late in the season.

The lesson seems to be then to get the Autumn and Winter plants in the boxes earlier and give them a chance to really establish themselves before the first frosts. Those winter plants that have been in since late August are the ones that are surviving the best. So next year the choice is either to let the Summer display keep going and have a relatively colourless Winter, or to dig things up even when they still look good, and give the Autumn and Winter plants a chance to thrive. Can’t see that being an easy choice to make!