Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Time for Change November 24, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,bulbs,Colour,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:48 pm
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The JungleAfter scouring the garden centres for whatever they had left in that difficult period between autumn planting and the Christmas extravaganza it was time to make the best of a bad job. As I had left it a little late I had to make do with some unusual shrubs to go along with the primroses, pansies and violas.

Having gathered the new winter plants the real job was to clean out the boxes from the overgrown jungles they had become and prepare them for their new additions. This was not an easy job but anything worth doing is worth putting the time and effort into.

Over the week I faithfully took each box in from its ledge, cut back the overgrown and rotting foliage (which had looked great in summer!) and then forked out the roots and remaining foliage. (more…)


Picture Post – Chris June 12, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Seeds,Spring,Summer,Watering — northernwindowgardener @ 7:00 am
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Looking poorlyAfter the initial planting Chris was left with lots of small seedlings and not much chance of growth.



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.



Watering Woes April 25, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Spring,Summer,Watering — northernwindowgardener @ 11:34 am

Wilting PansiesFor better or for worse each season has its challenges. In winter it’s simply about keeping things growing during the short cold days. But in spring it’s back to my old nemesis – watering.

I’m not good at judging how much to water the boxes and over winter that hasn’t been much of a problem. But now that the days are both longer (in terms of sunlight anyway) and warmer, my shaky watering judgement is back on the agenda.

It doesn’t help much that the signs of overwatering and underwatering are, by all the internet and book advice available, broadly similar. I suppose it shouldn’t be difficult to tell the two apart really. Simply by looking at some wilting plants (see pansies at left!) and asking the question “when did they last get watered?” a reasonable conclusion can be found. (more…)


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.



Weekend Work March 5, 2009

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


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