Sunday, February 06, 2011

The balcony is back...


In the last few days, temperatures have suddenly shot up. Walking home on Friday afternoon, I suddenly found myself unzipping my jacket and ripping off my woolly scarf because it was so warm. Don't know what the temperature was, but forecasts have been predicting anything up to 14°C (57°C) for Milan this weekend.

And on the way to the supermarket yesterday, I noticed that the new grass was coming through, and lawns were looking green again. Didn't even have to pretend to myself this year - it was clearly time time to uncover the balcony...



So this morning saw several hours of hard work out on the front. The fleece came off the containers huddled against the balcony wall and the dead stuff got thrown away. There was surprisingly little that hadn't made it, I was pleased to see. Most containers seemed more or less unscathed - like this one with the plants that surprised me by coming through last autumn (I'm more and more inclined to believe they're Montbretia), and a couple of Honesty.


Next, the railings and container holders, as well as the drip trays and the containers themselves, all got washed down - as did the tables. And then the fun started ...

For the past ten days or so, I've been "collecting". A visit to the garden centre last Sunday saw me coming home with a couple of bags of primroses and pansies, and when I was at the supermarket yesterday, and saw them putting out stuff that had just come off the lorry - well I couldn't resist.

So in they went, together with some other plants that had been keeping warm under the fleece since the autumn - like the cyclament I blogged about then.


But I wasn't the only one who'd decided that spring is just around the corner and it's time to wake up and start work again. While I was potting up the new plants, I had a visitor...


The first bee of the year - obviously pleased that he'd found somewhere where there were a few flowers. And very welcome he was too. May he be the first of many.



By the time I came in to make lunch, the sun had hit the balcony and the thermometer was showing 18°C (64°F). I'd stripped off the heavy Norwegian style sweater I use for winter gardening (I can't bear gardening in a jacket) and winter seemed only a memory.



But no - I'm not that naive. It's still only the first week in February, and a quick look at the forecasts for the next few days show that though daytime temperatures are staying up around 14°, at night it's going as low as -2°(28°F). So (if sadly) I left the tenderer plants, like my plumbago, close to the house, and wrapped them up again in fleece. The primula and pansies should have no problems, but there are a few biennials that I'm more worried about. Like the plants in the first container above. I think they're daisies, but have to admit that I can't really remember. But it's easy enough just to pop the fleece on at night and off again in the morning, using bulldog clips to hold it.




So there we are. The winter may not be over. But for the moment it looks as if we might be heading for an early spring. Or have I spoken too soon...


23 comments:

Briana said...

What a lovely glimpse of spring! Enjoy it for me.

Kathrin said...

Your primroses are looking so nice. In Austria (I'm living in Graz, Styria) it is still a little bit too cold for planting them out.

greetings
kathrin

Aralia said...

OMG! I'm SO jealous. There is still lots of snow on my balcony and the day temperature is -2⁰C at it's warmest. Long way to go 'til spring in Finland...

me said...

It is very warm very early, here too. Let's hope it's not pride before a fall!

Garden Sense said...

Oh, how we would love to be planting our containers! It was a beautiful sunny day here in PA, which was a welcome relief from dreary winter weather. Your planters are beautiful - enjoy!

p3chandan said...

Your balcony is looking so bright and beautiful with new flowers and the bee is thinking the same thing!

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Sue, This glimpse of your early spring really lifted my spirits. Lovely photographs! P x

Gardenfrisk said...

The flowers are beautiful.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Oh, the balcony looks much better now! Lovely blooms! Such a welcome sight! I found a wasp on my window yesterday. It's time to wake up!

hobbies&etc said...

nice balcony. It might be too early to say spring is coming
:)

Alistair said...

Hello Sue, great to see hints of Spring, even here we had 11deg one day last week.Like yourself I cant wait to get stuck in.

Elephant's Eye said...

How strange to think of our Plumbago being tender. I do love cyclamen, and I envy you being able to use them as balcony windowbox plants ;~)

Masha said...

I am so glad spring has come to you too. Your primroses look so gorgeous! I can't grow any because snails eat them faster than i can apply snail bait.

I looked up your rose label, and I am sorry roses don't work out for you. I have always wanted to try some Barni roses, but they are hard to come by in the US.

Sue (aka Trillium) said...

Amazing what you achieve on your balcony, year in, year out. Truly impressive :-)

mike 'hazeltree' thompson said...

Hello Sue, we have had a couple of days of spring sunshine too and there is definately a change in the air...enjoy!

Gabriel Rochard - architecte de jardins said...

Thanks for picking my recent post, Sue! It is a pleasure to discover your blog. I'm now one of your followers. Your balcony seems to be very nice...
And you live in such an exciting country.
Talk to you soon

Carol said...

How exciting for you Sue! Lovely to see your plantings out. Spring is so long away for New England! Enjoy!

college bedding said...

Thanks for the information on topics.I was excited by this article.

PlantPostings said...

Oh, those Primroses and Pansies and Cyclamen in the window boxes are so lovely! You are fortunate to be able to plant them now. I think spring will be early in my location (northern Midwest U.S.), too, but we can't safely plant Pansies and Primroses until May. Enjoy!

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Your primrosed balcony looks wonderful. It is a great time of year for them. I always purchase them early for inside, then plant them outside for a rebloom.

trellis said...

This patio is so nice. I will have to do the same this spring.

Green Industry said...

Such a nice posy! I really like your efforts..and i like that Yellow flower also!:)

Arpita said...

hi....... nice garden and lovely flowers. Just freshen up our minds.. I am trying too .... but I mostly plant herbs... your blog just brings back my enthusiasm...

Related Posts with Thumbnails