Archives for category: Roses

Two magnificent early flowers on the clematis, as the rest of the vine continues upwards.

The roses start on the floor with the Duchess Cristiana, whose lanky shoots are blending in with the lower part of the climbing rose above.

Having been spoilt with glossy leaves for two years, so far this spring I’ve had black spot, powdery mildew and caterpillars. The black spot is under control, touch wood, it seemed to be mainly early foliage on the climber that was affected. Spraying with milk and water really takes care of the powdery mildew; it gets a bit stinky after a while, and I have to lug the pots inside for a shower, but it’s effective. The caterpillars seem unstoppable though.

The business end of the balcony, where we harness the power of the sun. Despite last year’s bumper tomato crop, I totally forgot to collect seeds, so this one is from the garden centre. Of the same kind though, and growing nicely. As are the chives and the parsley, also cheats from the same place, lovingly repotted (I could have done a better job with the chives, probably).

I’ve sown some sweet peas, too.

Pouting Duchess.

Lupo, the raggedy wolf of a rose bush, is in the pink.






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.

I’ll just put my feet up then, and wait until it’s time to get some companion plants.

img_3965A ranunculus and twigs salvaged from the office flower arrangement on Friday afternoon. Gather ye rosebuds while – and where – ye may.

img_3991Not 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.

img_4003Ah, 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?

img_3877A few forlorn paw prints in the snow.

img_3876Evergreen leaves on the ivy and hellebore – but very stiff.

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.


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.


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?






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




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_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 »