Archives for category: Winter

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.


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

IMG_3238It’s the time of year when the balcony goes terracotta, green and grey. Having postponed it at length, I finally got round to the yearly winter preparations, with some help clearing the annuals and then setting about wrapping up the roses, clematis and other hibernators, as well as cutting down a few pelargoniums and bringing them inside. Read the rest of this entry »

january morningLike last year, the winter has been rather gentle. A light layer of snow now and then, but none of those Russian weather fronts I’ve grown accustomed to here. And like last year, it was February before we had several consecutive days of frost. Read the rest of this entry »

An unpublished post from December:

IMG_2760Just inside the entrance of my local, underground, supermarket, there are potted plants for sale in various degrees of distress. Wilting from lack of water and light, and this time of year sometimes sprayed with glitter or gold paint for that festive look…

Every once in a while I get the urge to save one of them and give it a good home (though admittedly that doesn’t always work).

My latest protégé is this ivory christmas rose (Helleborus niger). I hastily repotted it in what I had at home: a mix of cactus soil, leaf mulch and a few nettle pellets… It’s already had several temperature shocks, so we’ll see how it goes. If it makes it through winter, I think I have a good summer spot for it on my shady kitchen window ledge.

hyacinth glasses

star bulbsHope they don’t look too sinister. The pointy hats are inspired by benevolent yuletide star boys in Sweden. The owl in the background had to have one too. I’m premiering my new hyacinth glasses, the green and blue above, English 1920’s. The bulbs didn’t get ready for Christmas but should instead usher in (a hint of) spring once the holidays are over.

sweet pea sproutsAnd we have growth on the balcony! My sweet pea sprouts from the November sowing. I’ve read not to top autumn sowings as they should naturally develop shoots. They could probably already do with deeper pots though, which would leave less headroom in the mini greenhouse.

daredevil graffitiBare branches, show’s over – now for the dull task of clearing up. I left it another month this year, seems about right. It will be time for spruce and fairy lights in a fortnight. Read the rest of this entry »