Archives for category: Off-Balcony

Since I took the “feet up” approach to gardening, most of the action is happening elsewhere: blossom on trees, tulips and forsythia. The balcony is stuck in its eight-months-a-year colour range of green to maroon.

Although I do take proprietary pleasure in the new rose leaves, the photos tend to get a bit samey.

Sometimes ridiculously so – remember the sprouted bulbs, accidentally kept in room temperature all winter, that I planted at the end of February in the hope that they might flower anyway?

 Yes, what happened to them?

Not a lot.

So I’m going to plant them in the courtyard and hopefully surprise the neighbours with a small, blue guerilla border next year instead.

On the other hand, I usually worry that my geraniums are a bit too warm in the stairwell over winter, but now I’ve read that they don’t really need harsh treatment or to go dormant.

Since they don’t look too lanky or unhealthy, I’m going to stick with this new advice. What they do need, I’ve noticed, is gradual exposure to the sun – or their leaves go bloody maroon too.



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.





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_3390Capitol Park, Sacramento CA

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 »

20160128_010Clouds of bougainvillea in La Hoya, Tenerife.

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20160106_010The usual view to the east, in winter guise. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_3032I was invited to a wedding outside Regensburg in Bavaria at the end of June, and a few of us were tasked with the floral decorations for the reception. I take credit for the ram above and some of the meadow style flower arrangements below. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_3016During a somnambulist Saturday morning supermarket sweep, I came across a consignment of little pelargonium plants at 1€ a pop. Since it was time to fill the balcony boxes, and the garden centre is a long way away, I impulse-bought a bunch of them in various colourways.

IMG_2904When I got home I realised I didn’t want that kind of two-tone mix after all, and the plants were left for weeks in a cardboard box getting dry and manky, dropping all the flowerbuds. Just as things were starting to look dire, I noticed two flower pots outside the Späti on the corner below, containing only a sorry mix of coffee grounds, weeds and cigarette butts. So I gave them a makeover:


IMG_2919Regular readers may recall that the hellebores are spending summer on the kitchen window ledge. No? Well, they are. I thought they might be happier in the cooler courtyard, where the sun is filtered through the leaves of the tree. Read the rest of this entry »