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.

The plant still looks vigorous, despite its constricted environment. I counted another 15 rosebuds in various stages and it’s already doing a good job disguising the dreary old drainpipe:

IMG_3398The new addition Duchess Cristiana is growing steadily and also has some flower buds forming – very exciting! When they eventually open, I think I need to move the pot up to sniffing height. On the right is the trusty old physalis, whose rhizomes are apparently winter hardy even in a small container.

IMG_3399More green roses: in another crowded balcony box, the dwarf variety Lupo is nevertheless settling in. I hope I can compensate with chicken manure and sunshine.

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So only last year’s Cubana seems to be having trouble; I left powdery mildew unchecked for a bit too long and then the whole thing nearly succumbed to the harsh peroxide and baking soda mix I sprayed it with. Now that I’ve switched to good old milk (1 part to 2 parts water) it’s starting to recover – luckily without any perceivable whiff of sour milk:

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IMG_3426It’s not all roses on the balcony though – I have three third generation tomato seedlings in the mini greenhouse. Time to pot them up soon but I probably won’t go bigger than 12 litres. Last year, the 27cm pot on the window ledge did a lot better than the big mortar bucket on the floor – the two hours of extra sun a day made all the difference.

Next to them, little clumps of Lobelia – the seeds arrived with my Easter goodies. I plan to use them as ground cover in the rose containers, but it’s fiddly business.

Continuing the sustainable balcony theme, the geraniums are out from the stairwell. Perhaps it was the sun or a few cold Eisheiligen nights that shocked even the leaves of this zonal pelargonium pink, but it only made it more beautiful, I think. Especially in the blue lacquered pot (apologies for the fuzzy photo)

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