Interest was lukewarm at the annual disrobing-of-the-balcony event.
Whether or not all the sackcloth and bubble wrap made a difference – at least everything is alive and growing. Including the clematis (on the floor) emerging for the sixth year from that little base of twigs.
I also unravelled a very raggedy-looking Lupo. I’ll have to cut that back.
The top of Herzogin Cristiana in the foreground, Cubana in the background.
Looks like the physalis will be around for another year, too – new growth just about visible here.
I’ll just put my feet up then, and wait until it’s time to get some companion plants.
A ranunculus and twigs salvaged from the office flower arrangement on Friday afternoon. Gather ye rosebuds while – and where – ye may.
Not that there isn’t life on the balcony; the roses all have little pink shoots. Cubana (above) is way ahead of the the big roses, probably because it’s sheltered and warm on the window ledge. One pale green shoot was even growing inside the window frame, I noticed, when I cleaned the windows on the first warm day of the year.
Ah, the bulbs… As usual, I bought a supermarket mix in early autumn but promptly forgot about it, so the bulbs never got planted and spent all winter in their box at room temperature. I found them in February and most of them had sprouted. It was hard frost outside, so I popped them in pots at the top of the stairs instead. I couldn’t really find any conclusive information on the internet about what will happen next – am I just growing some leaves or will they flower? Well, now they’re out on the balcony at least.
Still stuck in the stairwell – the stalwart pelargoniums.
Apart from Lupo – good flowerer, attracts bees, hips look nice in a flower arrangement and light up winter – is there anything this rose can’t do?
A few forlorn paw prints in the snow.
Evergreen leaves on the ivy and hellebore – but very stiff.
I 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.
Still a warm autumn light on a freezing November morning. It will get warmer again before winter sets in, of course.
Rosy cheeks on Lupo. I wonder how it will fare, it’s supposed to be very hardy – but that’s in the ground.
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.
The Cubana flowering tirelessly.
Also 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:
Shortly 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?
It’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.
As a further harbinger of autumn, I found a tiny little mushroom patch down by their roots.
The climbers reach their peak early – but jolly good show!
40°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).
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I 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.
Big, showy blooms from the climber Rosanna.
A 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:
Learning 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!]
The 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.
Cubana 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.