Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Conditions November 23, 2008

Filed under: Autumn,Summer,Uncategorized,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 10:46 am
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It wasn’t until trying to grow things in windox boxes that I appreciated just how many factors need to be taken into consideration. Soil, drainage, sun position, season, watering, prevailing wind, type of plant, pruning/deadheading and the time available are all some that immediately come to mind and that’s to say nothing of colour schemes and looks. It’s a lot for the novice gardener to think about.

Naivity helped a lot to start with. A wide range of plants were purchased from garden centres and planted with a best guess as to how they would perform. Once the boxes were out the reality of sun/shade and wind/rain became particularly clear. One position gets sun only in the early morning and only on the longer days of the year. At this time of the year (late November) it hasn’t seen the sun in a couple of months and might be lucky if it does before late Spring. The lazy Autumn sun just doesn’t get above the surrounding houses until mid morning and then scoots behind the building, never to return.

Likewise the wind, everything from a warm breeze to a bone-chilling gale, was something I really didn’t consider before planting. In fact I think I may have written a note saying that a couple of boxes were unlikely to get any wind at all! How wrong I was! More than any other factor the strength of the wind, and its capacity to detroy any plant above six inches has played a large part in my selection of Spring bulbs and will do again when the time comes to look at Summer bedding plants.

Books and internet pages can offer a bit of help but there’s no substitute for on-the-job learning to get to grips with the local conditions. Here’s hoping this experience gets put to good use by next year.


Dahlia & Impatiens November 18, 2008

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 10:41 am
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Orange Dahlia

Orange Dahlia

The picture doesn’t really do it justice as this Dahlia was much brighter and a deeper shade of orange. The dahlias were all planted together in one box (Shelly) along with Impatiens except for this one which was planted in the box next to it (Holling) and finally flowered when all the others had just about given up.

Shelly did really well with both the dahlias and the impatiens growing lots of lush green foliage. However flowering was sporadic and there were only ever four or five flowers on the go at any one time. The wind played its part here although the strong growth protected them from from the worst of it so that’s something to think about for next year. The impatiens didn’t really last as they took the brunt of the wind but their delicate white flowers were nice while they lasted and filled the front of the box well.


Weather November 17, 2008

Filed under: Autumn,Colour,Weather — northernwindowgardener @ 11:53 am
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The weather has been mixed this week – but then when isn’t it! Generally the mild temperatures have helped but a couple of stormy days continue to wreak havoc on the more delicate flowers with the Cyclamen and Pansies getting knocked about a bit.

Holling here (in the pic) had lush Impatiens and Dahlias over the summer which grew and flowered well despite strong winds causing a problem in this box’s position. They finally got straggly in mid September and so these Cyclamen were planted in their place, with the idea that the shorter flowers wouldn’t get battered around so much. In general that’s been successful and they are continually flowering despite the conditions.

The uniformly purple colour is nice but a contrast with a white plant might have been nicer. However there will be plenty of time to talk about colour choices in other posts.