Archives for category: Summer

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.






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_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.






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




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_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_3113Ever the pessimist, I will only deem the rose experiment a success if I can keep them alive over winter, but so far they have been very rewarding balcony additions. The cubana‘s flowers change colour, not only individually but also over the season, with the very first roses in June a pale cream and yellow, maturing into sunset hues in late August.


The climber, rosanna, has the perfect marzipan roses and continued to grow to a metre and a half in a month.



IMG_3099I feel a bit bad about papping the neighbours, but I really liked this tableau. On a sweltering evening – like the ones we’ve been having lately – sometimes all you can do is hang on the balcony and watch the world go by. Clown make-up optional.



IMG_3083The balcony has survived a spell of heat, thunderstorms and rain. Blauhilde, the purple runner bean, is now about three metres tall with weather damage on the leaves – or at least that’s what I think it is Read the rest of this entry »