img_3823I had been thinking to myself, and remarking to others, that it was soon time to winter the balcony. Then all of a sudden it became very chilly and I remembered I had pelargoniums and dwarf roses left fending for themselves along the balcony railing. Things have been running a bit wild out there; once the big roses finished blooming and the harvest was taken care of, I stopped fussing.

So I had a busy Saturday morning, whipping the pelargoniums into the stairwell (no one seems to mind), clearing out annuals and preparing the perennials. Although tucking the pots up in bubble wrap, coir mats and sackcloth feels good, in an anthropomorphising sort of way, I realise at most it will protect them from too frequent thaw-freeze-cycles. As usual, I pin my hopes on the balcony maintaining its own microclimate along the wall.

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img_3829Still a warm autumn light on a freezing November morning. It will get warmer again before winter sets in, of course.

img_3819Rosy cheeks on Lupo. I wonder how it will fare, it’s supposed to be very hardy – but that’s in the ground.

 

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Ok, the Protea and the purple berries are from the flower shop, but the rest is from the balcony, including the ivy (which has been in exile in the courtyard over summer) and the rose hips.

IMG_3700The Cubana flowering tirelessly.

IMG_3707Also in abundance are the tomatoes; with three plants this year I wanted to have enough for cooking, and I did. I picked off enough to make just under two litres of sauce and when I got back after the weekend the plants already looked like this:

IMG_3702Shortly hereafter, the one on the left toppled and left me with the harvest in the top photo, which is now just sitting on the counter.

Late summer means more debris and more insects. Anyone recognise this guy?

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IMG_3661It’s the Nightshades, Solanaceae, that are heralding the changing of the seasons on the balcony. Not wholly unwelcome of course – I can’t wait for the tomatoes to fully ripen, and I know the brilliant orange of the trusty physalis will be more or less alone in lighting up the balcony once the great greyness descends.

IMG_3662As a further harbinger of autumn, I found a tiny little mushroom patch down by their roots.

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IMG_3568The climbers reach their peak early – but jolly good show!

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IMG_358240°C – in the shade. Afternoon temperatures can get a bit brutal on the balcony. A newly-watered container dries up surprisingly quickly. For this reason, I mainly put pelargonium and lavender along the balcony railing, but the little single rose Lupo is also doing quite well there.

The sun only hits the clematis late in the day, but scorched several leaves off it during a heatwave. The flowers were drooping badly but recovered (it’s just a shame the camera never does their vibrant blue colour justice).

IMG_3599 Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_3533I believe I promised you a rose garden. Well, I doubled the varieties to four this year, at least. If all goes well I’d be open to adding another one or two next year.

IMG_3461Big, showy blooms from the climber Rosanna.

IMG_3532A smattering of single Lupo roses, intended for the bees and bumble bees. I haven’t seen that many yet, but here’s a fuzzy one coming in for landing, stopping briefly at the red signal:

IMG_3546Learning about the use of neonics via Garden Dreaming at Chatillon put a damper on things. I’ll write to the company I ordered the roses from, pester them about pesticides. [Update: Herr Kordes from Kordes Roses kindly replied and confirmed that the company avoids pesticides as far as possible, have not used any on their test and breeding areas since the 80’s and are working on a 100% pesticide-free collection of roses for next season – yay!]

IMG_3539The delectable Herzogin Cristiana. The scent is nice, with indubitable hints of green apple and elderflower, but disappointingly weak. I wonder if it will improve when the plant is more settled, or if that’s it? It doesn’t really matter at the moment – the balcony is surrounded by flowering lime trees.

IMG_3482Cubana recovered from the powdery mildew. It’s very productive and looks like it’s gearing up for a big display of its sweet-coloured flowers.

 

IMG_3390Capitol Park, Sacramento CA

IMG_3424Here it is – the first rose of the year. Slightly shredded, but a luminous pink and a welcome contrast to all the green on the balcony. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_3288Spring has been a long time coming and the balcony an inhospitable place, so until this weekend I’ve been indoor gardening. Most flowers end up in the bedroom window because the radiator is hardly ever on here. The cat grass is to stop the cat accidentally poisoning himself. Read the rest of this entry »