Spring finally seems to have arrived. Only two weeks ago there was still snow on the ground and night-time temperatures were dipping to -5°C (22°F). And then suddenly today, it was here. Bright sunshine and 17°C (63°F). I was out on the balcony like a shot.
Off came the fleece, and the work of clearing up after the winter started. As I said after Christmas, I lost a lot during the big freeze this year, and there was a lot to throw away. But the real work on the balcony in February isn't really gardening at all. It's housework.
Washing down the railings, sweeping up the dead leaves, washing the floor, washing all the tables and container frames. As my husband said - Why don't you do that in the kitchen occasionally ?
Because that's his job. And anyway, he exaggerates. Back to the plot.
It couldn't be all boring stuff though. I had to have some reward for all the hard work. So while we were at the supermarket, I bought the first plants of the year - primroses and pansies. And concentrated on getting one corner of the balcony fully finished so that I could get the containers back up.
I've talked before about the dangers of buying plants on impulse at the supermarket. These looked healthy enough though. But sure enough, when I got them home, two of the pansies were completely waterlogged.
First aid was clearly called for, so I whipped them out of their pots, wrapped them in absorbent paper and sat them in the warm sun for a while. After a couple of hours the paper (which I changed a couple of times) had soaked up as much of the water as it was going to, so I popped them in the container with the others. I've left the surrounding compost fairly dry, so I think they'll make it. I'm hoping that they'd just been watered when I got there, rather than having been sitting with their roots water for a couple of days.
So we're off again. The cleaning up and washing down is going to take a while to complete, but there's plenty of more interesting stuff to do. The plumbago needs a good prune back, and the first seeds can go in. Please, please don't let the weather change back ...