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…)


Full Circle November 11, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,bulbs,Flower,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:01 pm
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It’s apt that this post comes without a picture as it’s the lack of photography that’s slowed the blog posts down to barely a drip.

As each window box developed it’s own eco-system it got harder to keep track of what was happening and although there were plenty of changes it was too easy to think that they looked much the same as the previous week. This was a mistake of course. Had I kept taking the pictures each week the changes would have been obvious and there would have been a nice record of the rise and fall of the window garden.

Unfortunately I didn’t do this and so the blog slowed down as a consequence.

Since summer when I was able to bask in the glory of my earlier planning (everything from spring bulbs to seed planting produced results) it’s been a little depressing to think about the impending winter and almost a complete restart of the process. Watching the slow degredation of the plants that had provided such a lovely display was almost too much. But by this weekend the state of the boxes had become too bad even for me to leave any longer.

A visit to the garden centres on the weekend demonstrated that I had procrastinated far longer than I realised. Instead of pansies and cyclamen there was just aisle after aisle of (whisper it!) Christmas trees! Multiple journeys to other shops all resulted in the same scene. Where had all the bulbs gone?! Was I really much more prepared last year? How is it November already?

With little to choose from a bit of creativity was required so instead of pretty frost-resistant cyclamen there will be fingers-crossed primroses. Violas instead of pansies, and some unusual shrubby type Ajuga, Calocephalus and Cineraria. If anything it will at least be interesting to see what survives!

And in a month or so it will be time to look out the seed packets and get planning again for those warmer longer days when the flowers are in full bloom and the feet can be put up.

Addendum: Having had a quick look back I see that I started this blog around the same time last year but that I had done the winter planting in September! No wonder there was nothing left in the garden centres!!


Weekend Work November 22, 2008

Filed under: Autumn,Flower,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 10:44 am
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Time for a real tidy up this weekend. It’s turned cold again and the forecast is for low temps to dominate and probably the first real frost. Not sure if this means it’s a good or bad time to trim back the straggly Pansies and Violas but it’s the only time available. What’s the worst that could happen! (don’t answer!)

Cleaned away a lot of rotten leaves and brutally trimmed anything that looked like it was going to get seriously knocked about in the wind. It’s nice and calm today but for the last couple of weeks it’s been gusty for at least two or three days and everything was getting knocked around.

The Winter Pansies that were put in four weeks ago are starting to fill out so they all got tied individually to a stake made from a trimmed garden cane. In my limited experience this has helped younger plants to stay in one piece when the winds come. The Pansies that were planted last week really are the runt of the litter and still look terrible – good chance they were left too long inside and won’t make it through any really cold spell.

Swapped two boxes (Shelly and Ed) around mainly for ornamental reasons and we’ll see how the cyclamen do in the really shady spot. Other than that everthing else was in good shape and hopefully they’ll just need basic care for the next month or so.